NORWALK, Conn. – There will be no summer slide for the 50 lucky Norwalk teens selected to take part in a free program at the Maritime Aquarium where they got to build hydraulic arms, make toys for an octopus, examine plankton with microscopes, and collect data on fish and crabs from Long Island Sound.
The students – eighth and ninth-graders in the Norwalk Public Schools – were selected for the Mayor’s Student Engineering & Science Program, now in its third year.
A total of 25 students took part this week, and another 25 participated in an identical free camp in June.
The program was created to use the hometown resources of The Maritime Aquarium in the hopes of improving the students’ understanding of – and enthusiasm for – science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.
“This is an amazing opportunity for young people to learn about Long Island Sound and its inhabitants," Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling said during a visit Thursday. "It also will give them a much greater appreciation of this wonderful natural resource and how it contributes to our economy and tourism.”
Students applied for the summer programs and were chosen based on need, good academic standing, their interest in engineering and/or marine sciences, and other criteria.
Each day of camp has a different focus: animal care, ecosystems, conservation, marine technology and marine exploration.
“This is an important program that can give these students the tools and the inspiration they need for high school and beyond,” said John Kydes, a Norwalk Common Council member and the chairman of the Mayor’s Energy & Environment Task Force.
Brian Davis, president of The Maritime Aquarium, said he hoped the students would return to aquarium to volunteer or for other programs.
“They’re having a great week, but we want them for more than one week,” Davis said.
The programs are funded by contributions from Bankwell and First County Bank, as well as moneys raised from the annual Mayor’s Ball.
To learn about all of the aquarium’s summer programs for ages 6-14, call 203-852-0700, ext. 2206, or visit www.maritimeaquarium.org .
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