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A Special Trip to the Aquarium

Ms. Minez and Mrs. Richardsons’ class photo outside of the South Carolina Aquarium. Photo by Samantha Light.

By Samantha Light

On Mar. 24, a group of educators and special needs children took a trip to the South Carolina Aquarium. The planning for the trip took months and pencil fundraising until the Colletonian caught wind and decided to step in. A donation was made by the Colletonian on behalf of the fieldtrip and everything began to make way. Three buses rolled up to Forest Hills Elementary only to load up and head off to what would be a fin-tastic world under the sea journey with wide eyes and anticipation.
With a brief orientation and a moment to take a few priceless pictures outside, the groups began their adventure inside. The first stop was at “The Shallows”, a touch tank containing Atlantic stingrays where aquarium staff

A False Percula Clownfish, better known as a “nemo” located right outside the Saltmarsh Aviary. Photo by Samantha Light.

members and volunteers answered questions while the children experienced the feel of the rays. The aquarium gives the opportunity for their guests to touch and feel several species of invertebrates (animal with no backbone), such as; horseshoe crabs, hermit crabs, sea urchins, whelks, dogfish, and Atlantic stingrays. The aquarium also offers several exhibits that range from a salt marsh aviary to the mountain forest.
Each exhibit offered every student with exciting and educational information. The ocean exhibit offered the most excitement from the students with the views of sharks and the sea turtle, Caretta. Although, the ability to see a majestic bald eagle, the United States national bird, was a close second. Students and special needs teacher and teacher assistant could not resist climbing in the replicated nest of the bald eagle.

With special needs children, trips like these are not always easy. Special education teachers and teacher assistants do a tremendous job, and their work is not to be understated. Special education is a necessary part of education. Schools need to serve all kids, and Forest Hills special education teachers are impeccable. What most people may not know is the term “special needs” encompasses a range of impairments, such as- autism, deafness, developmental delay, emotional disturbance, speech or language impairments, visual impairment, etc.

Dustin Fitch and student enjoying the dogfish and horseshoe crab touch tank in the Saltmarsh exhibit. Photo by Samantha Light.

The educational trip under the sea will hopefully not be the last for these educators and loveable children. The South Carolina Aquarium had so much to offer every child and adult visiting that day, as they do every week of the year. The aquarium made it a wonderful and easy trip for the students in order for everyone to enjoy what the ocean and mountain ranges have to offer.
The Colletonian would like to thank Forest Hills Elementary for allowing us to travel with them and have an experience of a lifetime. We believe in SPED and commend you on everything you do on a daily basis. Your work with the children is admirable and we hope to help you in future fun-filled adventures.


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