June 3rd 2008 was beach day for Voyager Elementery students!  All twenty first through third graders came over to our home on Rich Passage on the west side of Bainbridge Island to explore the marine life exposed during one of the lowest tides of the year.

It was a very rainy day but that didn’t stop the children from sloshing around the beach at the tideline discovering huge sea stars (like my daughter is holding in the photo on the left), fully intact moon snails and their collar shaped, mud enacased egg masses and countless other creatures.

Little hands were busy holding and touching everything they could!  No sooner than a group would huddle around one creature, a squeal of discovery would draw together another cluster of children to take turns carefully inquirying about another.  Watching how these children connected what they saw with their Latin names was amazing.  Of course, all the children were ultra respectful and they took great care to make sure not a single creature was harmed.

We were priveledged to have on hand a marine biologist, Rick Gillatt, who was an excellent guide and teacher.  He challenged us all to look just that much closer under a rock or to brush aside some seaweed to make our own discoveries.  The beach came alive as we realized just how much living stuff there just under the surface.

While we didn’t have the best weather, the day was a complete success!  The children were flexible and enjoyed a “garage picnic” before returning to school.  Thanks to everyone who made this possible, especially Anne Willhoit the elementary class teacher and Rick Gillatt, our expert marine biologist dad.