Visitors to Diane Cavaness classroom at Azalea Middle School during this Saturdays Beachcombers Festival will get a close-up look at some of Brookings local tidepool creatures.
Azalea will host the festival featuring vendors, artisans and presentations centered around the areas seaside lifestyle.
Cavaness, a seventh-grade science teacher, has a 220-gallon aquarium in her classroom displaying more than 30 different species of tidepool animals. Cavaness has a permit from the State of Oregon to collect live organisms.
Her class takes regular field trips to the beach to collect specimens, so everything in the salt-water tank represents indigenous tidepool creatures.
The aquarium holds four different species of sea stars and three types of shore crabs, along with hermit crabs, sea urchins and sea anemones.
A compressor attached to the tank keeps the water at a constant temperature, duplicating the ocean conditions of the Oregon coast.
The aquarium gives people a chance to observe tidepool animals up-close for a long time in an environment we usually cant spend much time in, Cavaness said.
On Saturday, the teacher will show laser disk slides and video clips of the local tidal zones and what lives in them.
In her classroom Cavaness emphasizes marine biology and believes it is important to teach children to respect the ecosystem at an early age.
She recalls a quote from Senegales ecologist, Baba Dioum: In the end...we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.
Cavaness said, The kids in the class have seen things in the aquarium lay eggs and hatch. They have observed the dynamics of the food chain. They enjoy just watching life happen.