The students participated in an Earth Day visit to the Pascagoula River Audubon Center.
"And that's what you're going to be learning in the classroom, how to calculate a bio diversity index, be able to compare how similar an area is to another, or how different they are, using the plants," said environmental educator, Kit Posadas.
Compiling a plant catalog was among the first assignments. The dwarf palmetto was among the species.
"They used to split the leaves into tiny little threads, and then braid them into rope and twine," said Posadas.
While the plant teams did their inventory, students at the dockside lab did water quality testing. They measured salinity and water temperature.
Meanwhile, throwing a cast net took special talent. During the visit, it came up empty, but the fishermen did have some luck earlier.
"There's spots, croakers, bluegills and we also caught a big blue crab. And a little flounder a minute ago, but he got away," said the net fisherman.
Students got to test their skills with a rake, preparing the ground for native plants.
"One of the most important things about native plants is they provide either food, or nectar for insects," said educator Mozart Dedeaux.
Snakes were an attention getter.
"The most important thing about them is if you see them, leave them alone. It's real easy to misidentify snakes, I've been handling snakes for maybe 20 or 25 years," said the snake expert.
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