Carefree Learning!

Alexa rocks her million watts small on the Carefree Learner.

The Carefree learner, owned and operated by Sarasota High School, is a one of a kind marine educational experience. Nicknamed “ The Floating Classroom”, This 41’ft lengthened boat has harbored over 174,000 student and adults to aid in the study of Sarasota Bays ecology. This past September, Sarasota had graciously invited our Riverview High School students to take part in this amazing program.
Being one of twenty students allowed on the field trip, I think I can speak for all when I say this was an amazing opportunity to get an up close and hands-on experience with our marine ecosystem. Studying an outdoor subject while being restricted to a classroom can be difficult because we can only do so much; so that’s why this field trip was so fun as well as educational.

Right away from pulling out the dock, we noticed thousands of dead fish and marine life scattered across the water’s surface from the devastating effects of the recent red tide bloom in our area. Red Tide is caused by the bloom of an algae type called Karenia Brevis, which extracts oxygen from the water, and causes mass deaths of marine life. In order to help our local scientist locate these blooms, we used a citizen science app called Marine debris tracker to report mass areas of dead fish. We also used this app to report any trash debris like water bottles or anything else floating around in the ocean. We also released a plankton tow and analyzed the type of plankton we found. In the plankton tow, we also had captured some baby crab, as well as comb jellyfish which we analyzed in glass containers. Next, we stopped off at Roberts Bay, a local Island in the intercostal. There, we continued to observe nature on the Island, where we used INaturalist, a citizen science app where you can take pictures of plants and animals, and have them identified.

Alexa Tarohocker
Class of 2020

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