Field Trip Program

Shoreline Discovery

Two students bend over to look at intertidal creatures closer.
Two students in tidepool school bend over to look at intertidal creatures closer.
NPS/Cynthia Ocel

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Who lives in the mudflats? What is a mudflat, anyway? What causes the tides? How are plants and animals adapted to living in a tidepool? What challenges do trees along the coast face? These questions and more will be answered during this 3½ hour outdoor program.

As we hike along the Ship Harbor Trail, we'll stop to study and enjoy the mud flats, tidepools, and forest. Students will compare and contrast these three ecosystems. We'll pay special attention to adaptations and interrelationships. We'll spend most of our time in the rocky intertidal zone. Here small groups will use transect lines, quadrants, and cameras to inventory and record the diversity and abundance of algae and animals they find. These activities are tied to understanding why and how the National Park Service monitors the intertidal environment.

When exploring the intertidal zone, safety is the highest priority, for people and the fragile organisms. Students will learn skills to safely explore the intertidal zone with the least impact to the environment.


Biology: Animals, Biology: Plants, Conservation, Ecology, Marine Biology
National/State Standards:
Maine State Learning Results 2007
Career and Education: A3 Interpersonal Skills
Science and Technology: A1 – 4, B1 Skills and Traits of Scientific Inquiry, D1 – 4, E1 Biodiversity and E2 Ecosystems
marine biology, adaptations, Maine coast, resource protection
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