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Canterbury Students Paddle Board at Weedon Preserve

After a quick primer on stand-up paddle boarding, parents and kids embark on a morning adventure around the mangrove islands at Weedon Nature Preserve.

Being an avid kayaker, I am very familiar with Weedon Island but a weekend  paddle board trip with Canterbury students gave me a whole new perspective. 

I was surprised by the advantage of the paddle board. With the vantage point of looking down in the water, students and their parents got a great view of sting rays, redfish, mollusks and many kinds of seagrasses.

As director of Marine Studies at Canterbury School of Florida, I oversee a school-wide program for students in PK3-Grade 12, focusing on all aspects of marine science and environmental education. Saturday's paddel borad trip is a fine example of taking learning beyond the classroom. This was the first Canterbury community-wide marine studies event of the 2012 school year.

With the help of local paddle board rental company, Urban Kai, all of us beginners learned the basics of paddle boarding in the beautiful mangrove-lined waters of Weedon Island.

We had  students as young as preK through grade 11, as well as parents and teachers attend. I was particularly excited for a new family who just moved from Colorado to experience the wonders of the mangrove ecosystem close up!

We are looking forward our next two outings. 

  • Next weekend, on September 8th, we are traveling to Rainbow River to snorkel and tube down the spring-fed, cypress tree-lined river. 
  • Later in the month, on Sept. 22, we will go to Fort DeSoto to learn about local marine organisms for our annual collection day. 

We will be seine netting and dip netting to catch, identify, learn about and release local marine creatures that include juvenile fish, crustaceans and mollusks.

In addition to enhancing traditional science curriculum in the classroom and our Cousteau Center for Marine Studies, we host many events open to our community.

At Canterbury, we believe that the more we educate the community about our wonderful local marine ecosystem, the more we can empower everyone to protect it.

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Shannon Mahaffey September 03, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Another amazing experience offered to our children at Canterbury!
John M September 03, 2012 at 01:11 PM
What a fantastic program at Canterbury! The students have so many opportunities to learn about the local marine life and ecosystem. So many of the excursions promote a healthy lifestyle as well. Nice work.
Linda Hersey September 03, 2012 at 08:30 PM
I was a parent chaperone on this trip, and I can tell you firsthand everyone had an amazing experience. My daughter can't wait to go paddle boarding again. Thank you, Jenna Cummings, for dedicating your weekends to these outdoor classroom experiences.
Ann G. September 04, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Our family had an incredible time paddle boarding around Weedon Island on Saturday! We're looking forward to participating in many more Marine Studies outings. Thank you, Mrs. Cummings!
Rob September 04, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Tommy and I had a blast. Definitely want to do it again. Canterbury is awesome!
Debby September 05, 2012 at 05:56 PM
How can a school be so much fun?!! Canterbury just gets better and better. Wish I was a kid again, but I'll settle for my grandboys having such wonder full opportunities.

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