AME kids explore estuary

Before wading into the water, students look at small crabs brought by Around the Bend Nature Tours volunteers. - Tom Vaught | Sun

HOLMES BEACH – The students at Anna Maria Elementary School learned firsthand about sea life last week when volunteers from Around the Bend Nature Tours held a class under a playground shelter, then took the students out with dip nets to capture critters and study them before returning them to the waters.

In the past, second-graders got the experience, but this year, school officials decided to expand the program to all the students, one grade at a time.

Around the Bend Nature Tours was founded by naturalist Karen Willey, and she has expanded her tours and added classes for all age groups to educate them about the flora and fauna of our part of Florida.

A number of students have been around the water if they live on the Island, but for those who haven’t been so fortunate, they find out there’s a lot of sea life just under the surface of the water.

They also learned about the birds and larger animals of the area.

Anna Maria Elementary is one of a very few public schools located on the water, giving school staffers an excellent opportunity use it to their advantage.