Come learn about history and environmental science aboard the AJ Meerwald, New Jersey’s official tall ship! Bring your family and friends out for an educational day on the water!
What is a Science Sail?
Our 3-hour Science Sails on the AJ Meerwald provide you the opportunity to learn about the history and ecology of the Bayshore while sailing on New Jersey’s official tall ship! In addition to our normal history presentation, we will be presenting a series of workshops focusing on marine science. All activities are hands-on and interactive.
Dates and Times
Science Sails typically take place each Saturday morning from 9am – 12pm during our sailing season. The day and time may change based on the tides; please check our schedule here for our full availability.
During each sail, we will teach four workshops from the list below. All workshops are hands-on and interactive. Although the workshops are aimed at school-age children, even adults will learn a lot!
- Renewable Resources | Students learn about different types of energy, with several examples demonstrated on board. Educators facilitate a discussion on the pros and cons of different energy sources, pointing out that there is no perfect solution and that a variety of different sources are needed to produce the world’s energy needs. Finally, educators will lead a discussion about what each individual can do to make a difference in sustainable energy use.
- Touch Tank (not available in all ports) | Students assist the crew in catching underwater critters using a trawl net. Educators guide the students through identifying and recording the species caught in the trawl and teach students about the special adaptations of each species and how they fit into the ecosystem as a whole.
- Plankton | Educators explain what plankton are and describe the different types, going into detail about marine food webs and the vital role that plankton play in a balanced ecosystem. Students then use a plankton trawl to catch plankton and observe them using a magnifying glass and a microscope. Educators guide students through a discussion of how plankton benefit humans and what could happen if they disappear.
- Watershed | Using a model, students populate a watershed with buildings, animals, vehicles, and wetlands. They then discuss different types of point source and non-point source pollution and add these to the model as well. When the educator “makes it rain” on the model, students can observe how the pollution enters our waterways. Educators then guide a discussion about what each student can do to help alleviate the strains of human activities on the watershed.
- Oysters | Students learn about the life cycle and importance of oysters in the Delaware Bay, including their ability to clean water, their ability to build reefs, and their historical importance to the economy of the Bayshore region. A variety of native mollusk shells are described and explored by students. Educators guide the students in a live dissection of an oyster, where they can see firsthand the anatomy of this important keystone species.
- Water Chemistry | Students obtain a sample from the local waterway. Using a variety of different methods, they are guided through the process of measuring several parameters, including dissolved oxygen, pH, salinity, temperature, nitrate, phosphate, and turbidity. Each measurement is discussed, and students use this information to make an assessment of the health of their local waterway.
- Wetlands | Students learn the important role that wetlands, specifically salt marshes, play in a healthy coastal environment. Using an onboard wetlands aquarium (when available), they can observe and touch the flora, fauna, and mud from the marsh. Students play a metaphor game using various household objects to represent some functions of the salt marsh. Educators discuss the different types of wetlands, the environment within the marsh, and how wetlands benefit life on land and in the water.
Pricing and Availability
Science Sails occur each Saturday morning during our sailing season. Tickets are only $15 per person! Find tickets here.