May is a busy month at the Reserve. From school groups and public programs, to horseshoe crab surveys and the beginning of field season, the Reserve is a buzz with activity. But the activity isn’t confined to within our boundaries, we also travel near and far to grow our skills and assist in the growth of others through teacher professional development trainings. I was lucky enough to do both this year. I traveled first to Savannah, Georgia where I grew my skills; then to Stone Harbor, New Jersey to help others do the same. And what skills were these? The ones needed to educate others about horseshoe crabs and the important role they play.
In the early 2000’s a curriculum called “Green Eggs and Sand” was developed in the Delaware Bay to give teachers the skills and information needed to educate their students about the horseshoe crab/shorebird phenomenon and management controversy in the Bay. It was, and still is, unique because it provided an unbiased look at the controversy by introducing teachers to ALL sides and points of view including: watermen, resource managers, biomedical industry representatives, horseshoe crab researchers, and shorebird biologists. Since its original creation the curriculum and accompanying workshops have spread past the Delaware Bay to other Atlantic coast states that deal with some of the same management issues.
It was my first time attending and being a part of these trainings, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t double my horseshoe crab knowledge and skills. Like did you know that horseshoe crabs are not only regulated for their own population numbers but also to help manage the populations of migrating shorebirds? Or that there are there are THREE other species of horseshoe crabs in Asia and in one of the species the male has TWO sets of his specialized boxing glove claws! Or that they made it through the Permian extinction that lasted for 60,000 years where 90% of marine life in the oceans died out! I learned all of that, and more, during the trainings and have already worked it into my programs.
Although May was a busy month, I am thankful for the opportunities and skills I was able to gain. I am already looking forward to next May when I get to help host a Green Eggs and Sand training here in Delaware.
Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve
Want to see photos from the trainings? Check out our Facebook album!