BY SARAH ROUSSELL
On Friday, March 25th Cooper City High School’s Environmental and Marine Science department took 42 students to John Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo for a daylong snorkeling trip.
During the trip, students were given the opportunity to observe various coral reefs and the habitats that surround them. By observing these reefs, students were able to gain a better understanding of the relationship between sea life and the ocean. Students also got a first hand understanding of the concepts being taught in the classroom.
“The trip let me visualize firsthand what we’ve talked about in environmental class,” junior Josh Matthews said. “It was an amazing opportunity.”
The group departed from CCHS at 6 a.m and got to the park at 8 a.m. As soon as students arrived at John Pennekamp, they rented their gear, boarded the boat, and headed out into the ocean. Once they were out at sea, the students swam and explored two different coral reefs and a shipwreck.
At the first reef students swam in 15 ft deep water and saw various species of fish, such as the barracuda and parrot fish.
The next reef the students visited was in approximately 30 ft deep water. At this site, students got to see “Christ of The Abyss.” The “Christ of The Abyss” is an 8 ½ ft tall, 4,000 pound statue of Jesus Christ, and is one of the most popular sites to visit at the park.
At their very last destination, the students got to look at a shipwreck. The shipwreck was a ship from the 1800s. At this site, students saw different parts of the sunken ship and a wide variety of sea life.
“The Pennekamp trip is designed for marine students to physically see the organisms we learn about in class,” Marine Biology Teacher Jason Scarlatelli said. “Nothing compares to the real thing.”