Wellwood learns, wide-eyed, the wonder of our watery world

Students were all ears – and eyes – learning about hermit crabs

The first clue that this was a special lesson was the pail of water that awaited children coming from the gymnasium into the lobby at Wellwood International Elementary School last Friday, February 15.

“Rinse your hands really well,” said the man from the National Aquarium in Baltimore as he greeted the students. “They need to be really clean if you want to touch the sea creatures.”

Sea creatures? At Wellwood? In the landlocked heart of Baltimore County? And we are going to touch them?!

Indeed, and for the rest of the morning, students at Wellwood got a first-hand introduction to the watery world around them courtesy of the travelling exhibitors from the National Aquarium. From hearing about the lives of Chesapeake Bay watermen to learning the life cycle of a live, scuttling horseshoe crab, students had plenty of questions as they explored stations set up throughout the school’s entry.

Eyes wide, they gingerly touched the shells of live hermit and horseshoe crabs as well as the soft, slimy underside of a conch snail. At another station, they examined skulls and pelts of marshland animals including raccoons, muskrats, and tortoises.

Aquarium staff also provided lively demonstrations in the school’s gymnasium, including a Bay “waterman” recounting his experiences living on Smith Island.

The exhibits and presentations from the National Aquarium staff were part of an annual visit to Wellwood, said school Principal Tricia Rueter.

Students had to wash hands before touching the sea creatures
Older students listened to a presentation about the lives of Chesapeake Bay watermen
For tactile learners, touching the strange sea animals was encouraged
Students peer under the imposing shell of a horseshoe crab
At the touch table, students learned about marshland creatures such as the muskrat or turtle




Story and photos by Charles Herndon, BCPS communications specialist
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