DEER ISLAND, MS (WLOX) - A group of 60 students from a middle school in Little Rock, Arkansas got to visit a very unusual classroom Tuesday: Deer Island. The trip was sponsored by the Gulf Coast Research Lab.
While on the island, the students spotted ospreys, pelicans, and mockingbirds.
"I learned about the habitat of the birds and a little bit about how they survive on Deer Island," student Lindsey Anderson said.
There was a real trick to winning the competition called Birdwatch Bingo, with ospreys the star of the game.
"They're interesting. How they live in dead trees and how their nests are so big and how three at a time will live in one nest," student Emma Brown said.
They also took water samples, learned about the conservation of Deer Island, and even scoured the beach for shells and crabs.
"We got to learn about the ecosystem. About the birds About a lot of science that we never got to see in Arkansas," student Asa Langford explained.
Walking along the hiking trails on the island, you never know what you'll find. Student Michelle Gong had a pretty good take on the day's activities.
"It's been really educational, but it's also been very entertaining. Because it's a more hands-on experience than what we're used to at school. We're not learning from a textbook, we're learning from the actual environment," Gong said.
For the marine education specialists from GCRL, they were just as happy. Teaching the students about the coast's unique ecosystem is more fun than work for them.
"I think experiences are everything," Amelia McCoy said. "Whenever you look back at your life, you think about your experiences and your memories and not the textbooks you've read. So for them, creating this is something that's going to stick with them for a lifetime."
The students spent about three hours on the island, before heading back to the mainland. The field trip also helped showcase conservation efforts underway on Deer Island by the Department of Marine Resources and the Secretary of State's Office.