Wellington’s Binks Forest Elementary School at MarineLab

By Ilene Wallace, Co-Publisher

Our very own Jr. Angler Jackson Wallace and other 5th graders from Palm Beach County’s Binks Forest Elementary School went on a school trip of a lifetime. Their destination was MarineLab at the Marine Resource Development Foundation on Largo Sound in Key Largo.

MarineLab is named for the MarineLab Undersea Laboratory that was submerged in their lagoon over 30 years ago.  It was the world’s longest continually running underwater habitat until it was brought back up to the surface in 2018. MarineLab began as an ocean engineering project for the US Naval Academy and in 1984 it was donated to MRDF and became an underwater research station.  From 1984 to 2018, it was visited by many students and used in several research studies.  In 2018 it was refurbished into an interactive museum.

The Binks students spent their days exploring the Florida Keys ecosystem by boat, snorkeling in the mangroves, and at the coral reefs.  In the evening they had lab time where they learned about coral reef ecology, fish identification, invertebrate diversity, and zooplankton identification.

The students, teacher chaperones, and even the school’s principal Ms. Levy, all returned exhausted yet excited to tell their families about the amazing experience they had at MarineLab.

Photo credit: Mrs. Kelli Arras, 5th Grade Teacher, Binks Forest Elementary School