Grades 9 - 12

Science by Sail offers a variety of options while sailing aboard one of our 23’ Sonar sailboats. These sailboats are catalysts for learning about our local ecosystems. Understand the physics behind sailing, simple machines, and basic navigation. A NESS educator facilitates the learning process as the group safely navigates around Stonington Harbor and Fishers Island Sound.

As a society, we have developed a love for the use of plastics. Fortunately, there has been an increase in public awareness regarding plastics found in the ocean environment. Plastics are found at the top and within the water column, in ocean floor sediments, and within beach material. This program offers two options: 1) weather permitting, a beach cleanup to conduct an audit of the trash that is being washed up on our local beaches or 2) a lab to demonstrate the ease of plastic movement from your home directly into the ocean environment. Students will explore products that contain plastics and learn how to calculate the concentration of plastics found in a chosen personal care item.

Let’s face it, seafood is delicious. But the path your seafood takes from water to waiter has varying impacts on the ocean. Students will experiment and simulate different fishing techniques to determine the best means of avoiding bycatch, overfishing, and environmental degradation while maximizing sustainability. An analysis of their results will guide students as they gain an increased awareness of human impact while discussing associated with these practices. Topics may include carrying capacity, predation, competition, disease, habitat destruction, overexploitation, climate change, and fisheries awareness.

Students learn geographic, geologic, and hydrologic concepts in this unique addition to the NESS curriculum. Read a topography map, understand the meaning of contour lines, and learn about watersheds and catchment areas. The sandbox utilizes a camera, data projector, and powerful simulation and visualization software to produce topography models that students can shape with their hands using real sand. Their structures are then augmented in real time by an elevation color map, topographic contour lines, and simulated water. Grades 6 – 12

Join a NESS USCG licensed captain and gain skills to safely operate a powerboat on the water. Students will take to the water as they learn basic powerboat maneuvers in one of our 17’ whalers, including docking and anchoring. Upon successful completion of the on-water and classroom modules, students will receive their US Sailing /US Powerboating Safe Powerboat Handling Certificate. Students will also have satisfied the Connecticut and Rhode island State requirements to obtain their Safe Boatin Certificate. NESS is a US Powerboating certified powerboat training center. Grades 6 -12, students must be 12 years old.

Oxygen is one of the most essential components for life on our planet. However, oxygen is not always readily available to animals and plants in the ocean. Through this hands-on laboratory session, students will develop and test a hypothesis regarding dissolved oxygen levels in the harbor at NESS. Students will collect water samples at varying depths and analyze them for dissolved oxygen content. A class discussion will determine whether or not the results correspond to their hypothesis and why. Please note this AP Biology Lab is a 2-hour program.

This three component study will have students getting up close and personal with plankton, algae, and intertidal marine species. Students will compare biodiversity and complexities of the Long Island Sound coastline, explore by foot to analyze species zonation, investigate native versus invasive species and compare zonation maps, examine plankton and algae using microscopes, and learn how they provide the basis of the food web to our oceans. Please note this AP Biology Lab is a 3-hour program.