This theme unit within Scholastic Explorers studies how human activities impact two specific ocean animals — sea turtles in Costa Rica and dolphins in New Zealand. In conjunction with the Earthwatch Institute, students will visit two field sites. The first is the Las Baulas National Park in Costa Rica. There, research teams are collecting data on the leatherback sea turtles that nest on the beach. The other site is the Kaikoura Peninsula in New Zealand. Researchers there are studying the behavior of dusky dolphins, especially around tourist boats. Through on-the-scene field reports, photographs, some interviews with scientists and others on the site, students will discover firsthand how Earthwatch teams study animals in their natural environment and work to protect them. Students are then encouraged to apply the same scientific methods to learn more about aquatic ecosystems in their own region.
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