After the 4th grade students at Florence Elementary read about how coral reefs were made and learning about the damage humans have done to our waterways, oceans, and reefs, they decided they wanted to focus on saving coral reef ecosystems and protect water resources that animals and humans depends on for survival. They named their project “Coral Reef Relief.” Students participated in a variety of activities to bring awareness for the need of preserving our waterways, water ecosystems, and coral reefs to Florence Elementary, local, and national communities. The students researched coral reefs and each student chose a specific coral reef animal or plant to present on or create a paper model of for an ocean mural.
Because students wanted to help support conservation of reefs and oceans, they analyzed several organization that help with relief efforts. They chose Living Lands and Waters, a non-profit organization that focuses on caring for, and educating people about local waterways. They also chose The Nature Conservancy, whose scientists work with people around the world to protect water ecosystems.
To help with the project, students and staff were asked to donate $1 for a ticket to a school movie pajama party. The students chose Finding Dory as the movie because of the ocean/ coral reef connection. In total, they raised $576 that was divided amongst the two charities. To make community connections and to get an expert testimony, a guest speaking from Living Lands and Waters is scheduled to visit. The students will be going to the Newport Aquarium to participate in a behind the scenes activity that focuses on how biologists care for marine animals and will allow students to see special exhibits on rivers and coral reefs.