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Packed with environmental and navigational lessons for seaworthy students, the Aquarian Quest project gathered many supporters and partners in the community. In addition to the many Sarasota schools that are participating in the Aquarian Quest floating classroom project, kids from the Boys & Girls Club, YMCA, Girls, Inc., Suncoast Girl Scouts and the Venice Youth Sailing Club also participate.

A centerpiece of the project is a 3-hour environmental education program in which live marine specimens (plankton, fish and invertebrates) are collected by staff and/or students and then set up on the deck of the schooner to be used for hands-on-learning.

Four stations are set up, three of which serve to illustrate the interconnectedness of all life in the marine waters (the food web). The fourth, a navigation station, helps participants get a sense of how to move a large sailing vessel through the water.

The historic nature of the vessel helps kids gain a sense of connection to the past and an appreciation for the organic nature of a wooden sailing ship moving through the water with the forces of nature.

If Aquarian Quest is successful, students from Tampa Bay to Charlotte Harbor will be receiving hands-on lessons for years to come; and many will remember this as a life-enhancing experience.

As one of the teachers commented after taking her class out,"I just think it's a real interdisciplinary approach being aboard this ship; it kind of affects your senses. Its not just sitting in a classroom reading a book."

"The purpose is to help change the planet and save the environment," said a New College student who works as an intern on the Daniel Webster Clements.

Aquarian Quest: a nonprofit organization in Sarasota, FL.