Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Rivers to Reefs 2012
Mission Information
 

Monday: July 16, 2012
Log Day 1

Sharon Butler; Fulton Science Academy, Alpharetta, GA
Dana Emery; Todd Grant Elementary, Darien, GA
Cindy Ward; Covenant Christian Academy,
   Cumming, GA

Sharon Butler

Kim Morris-Zarneke gives a behind the scenes tour of the Aquarium's amazing secrets

Kim Morris-Zarneke gives a behind the scenes tour of the Aquarium's amazing secrets.
(Photo: Cathy Sakas)

Today we began our journey at the Georgia Aquarium. Our tour of the aquarium brought us in contact with many amazing animals. When you think of the aquarium you think of all the sharks, fish, and especially the famous whale sharks. To me the most interesting animal is found on the behind the scenes tour in the Tropical Diver area. Here we learned a great deal about coral. Most corals have a symbiotic relationship with algae. The algae can make food using photosynthesis and share that food with the coral. The coral provides a safe home for the algae. Because of this relationship corals were thought to live only in areas where they had access to sunlight so that the algae could perform photosynthesis. Kim told us today that corals have recently been found in deep sea areas where there is no sunlight. I wonder how they survive under those conditions. This is definitely something I want to research and learn more about.

One of the four whale sharks swims in the Ocean Habitat at the Georgia Aquarium

One of the four whale sharks swims in the Ocean Habitat at the Georgia Aquarium.
(Photo: Cathy Sakas)

It was inspiring to see that many corals from a lot of different places worldwide were being cultured right here in Georgia. Some of these corals would be grown and then taken back out into the wild to help grow a reef. That reef would then become an oasis of life in the ocean - a place that would provide shelter and food for many organisms.

It has been an exciting day and just hearing about what we will be doing the rest of this week makes me feel so fortunate to be in this workshop. I want to take so many photos so that I can share all these experiences with my students.

Dana Emery snaps a ray that she will use in her classroom later this year..

Dana Emery snaps a ray that she will use in her classroom later this year.
(Photo: Cathy Sakas)

Dana Emery

Today was very fun! I enjoyed visiting the Georgia Aquarium. The facility is huge! We were lucky enough to do a behind the scenes tour. I was impressed that one of the Beluga whales is named Greyson, just like my son! They swim in very cool water (58 degrees)! My favorite animal however was the Whale Shark. I thought it was interesting that they purchased two of them in Taiwan [if the Aquarium had not purchased them, they would have ended up as sushi!]. Well today is just the beginning, let's see what tomorrow has in store for us.

Rob Herrin captures on film lionfish in the Gray's Reef Invasive Species Exhibit.

Rob Herrin captures on film lionfish in the Gray's Reef Invasive Species Exhibit.
(Photo: Cathy Sakas)

Cindy Ward

Today is the first day of our journey from Rivers to Reefs. Our group of sixteen Georgia educators and four leaders got acquainted in the hotel lobby this afternoon. We proceeded to the Georgia Aquarium where our courageous and expert leaders "set sail" with us on our journey to explore the watershed. We had a behind the scenes tour of the aquarium to "wet" our appetite for the week ahead. We learned about the fragility of coral and observed the marine life for which we will be growing more respect.

The R2R Class of 2012 tours the inner workings of the Georgia Aquarium.

The R2R Class of 2012 tours the inner workings of the Georgia Aquarium.
(Photo: Cathy Sakas)

Even after only a few hours our group has bonded together in the common goal to learn and absorb all the information and experience we can in order to grow as students, educators, citizens, and stewards of the marvelous water with which we are entrusted.

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