OUR PROGRAMS - VAN TRIPS
CORAL ECOLOGY - NEARSHORE
ECOLOGY - COASTAL ECOLOGY
MARINE INVESTIGATIONS - EVENING
TRIPS WITH YOUR VAN-
HIKING, SNORKELING AND WADING IN THE KEYS- DAYTIME OPTIONS WITH YOUR
Groups that bring a van have the opportunity to see many of the unique ecological
features of Big Pine Key. Stops may include Watson's Hammock (tropical hardwood
hammock), the Cactus Hammock, the Blue Hole (freshwater hole with alligators),
Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge, pine/palmetto woodlands and freshwater
Sandy Beach Ecology
Bahia Honda State Park, five miles east of Big Pine Key, has one of the
few sandy beaches in the Keys. Here students can snorkel, tidepool, and
study beach and dune vegetation. Older students can conduct a beach transect
and construct a beach profile.
Looe Key may be glamorous, but it is seven miles offshore. Just off US Highway
One are shoals of non-reef-building coral that are equally as interesting.
By snorkeling over the finger coral Porites, students have a chance to observe
many species of fish.
At low tide, several areas around Big Pine Key are perfect sites for tidepooling.
Chitons, limpets, nerites, urchins and sea hares abound in the limestone
pools. Stresses of life in this harsh environment are discussed. Students
also learn about geological features of the Keys.
Freshwater Resources Of Big Pine Key
The unique geology of Big Pine Key permits the retention of rainwater underground.
This trip highlights the habitats that depend on this freshwater such as
pinelands, sloughs and the alligator hole. The pipeline which supplies potable
water to the Keys is studied as well.