As the weather warms up, Delaware students start to feel the effects of spring fever and want to be anywhere but confined inside four classroom walls. Many teachers plan educational field trips in the spring to break the winter monotony and expose their students to learning experiences that are unavailable in the classroom.
Tours of the marine research facilities at the University of Delaware Graduate College of Marine Studies (CMS) in Lewes provide an excellent opportunity since they can be tailored for elementary, middle, and high school groups. Guided by trained volunteer docents, the tours typically focus on ocean science, highlighting the college's research on topics ranging from shipworms to El Niño, fisheries decline to salt-tolerant plants. In addition, the students learn about career opportunities in marine-related professions.
"This is the first year that the tours have been open to elementary students," says Bob Carnahan, director of the tour program at CMS. "Students at the middle school or higher level may tour the research laboratories on the Hugh R. Sharp Campus on Pilottown Road. For the younger students, we suggest a tour of the CMS wave tank located in Cape Henlopen State Park. Teachers who arrange this tour often include activities in the park, including the nature facility and trails, as part of their field trip."
The free tours of CMS can be scheduled for groups of five or more people, Monday through Friday, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Requests should be made at least a week in advance by calling the Graduate College of Marine Studies at (302) 645-4346, or by writing to Carnahan at the Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service, University of Delaware, Graduate College of Marine Studies, 700 Pilottown Road, Lewes, DE 19958-1298. The Hugh R. Sharp Campus is accessible to handicapped individuals.