Students have a fin-tastic time at the aquarium


Nikki Boardman

Seniors Ashwin Kasamshetty, Leandro Cortado, Sam Wiggins and Marshall Ives (from left to right) look at fish in the Virginia Aquarium on Jan. 20, 2023.

Manju Mure, Staff Writer

Visitors can expect the unexpected at the Virginia Aquarium. From seeing the spotted eagle ray to learning about the camouflage skills of a zebra shark, the Magnet Marine Biology students have experienced it all. 

Accompanied by teachers Jeremy Schratweiser and Michelle Bailey-Hennessy, students ventured on a field trip to the VA Aquarium & Marine Science Center where they saw a multitude of aquatic animals. Their main objective was to identify the roles of marine organisms in their environment in order to assist them in their final for the class.

“My favorite animal was the sea turtles, specifically the loggerhead turtle,” said senior Ashwin Kasamshetty.

According to Ashwin, the aquarium not only provides volunteer opportunities such as being a Water Quality Lab Assistant or a Guest Engagement Ambassador but also serves as a place to bring light to endangered species.

“We learned about the tomistomas at the aquarium, a crocodilian species which are currently under a species survival plan, as they are threatened,” said senior Hope McCallister.

Along with educational topics, students had an opportunity to pet the cow nosed rays and connect the adaptations they learned in class to what they saw at the aquarium. They even had the experience of walking through environmental exhibits, consisting of mammals, fish and reptiles.

“We hiked nature trails along Owls Creek and went to Chick-Fil-A after,” said senior Reagan Nsubuga.

Although only a few juniors take Marine Biology, many graduating seniors considered this field trip a favorite.

“My favorite part of the field trip was being able to spend time with friends,” said Ashwin.