Finally the end of the week, and a chance to walk on the beach – first time this visit back in Florida. It is a cool day here and Gulf waters were steely gray with white surf. As always I was amazed by the tiny mangrove propagules poking up through the sand here and there.
Mangroves are thought to have floated here from Malaysia hundreds of thousands of years ago. Mangrove propagules, or seeds, look like long twigs; the propagules of the red mangrove are believed to be able to survive as long as two years in the water!
The mangrove trees, which grow along the estuaries in a mix of salt and fresh water, drop their propagules into the water at high tide to optimize their chances of floating out into the ocean and landing somewhere different.
I wrote a whole lengthy piece on mangroves for the Curious Kids Nature Club and you can see it here:
http://wgcu.org/content/kids.aspx Just click on Curious Kids Nature Club! and then on Mangroves – there is a short video and lots of photos, connections, a quiz and other information.
A fun book that clearly teaches kids about mangroves is Lynne Cherry’s book The Sea, the Storm and the Mangrove Tangle www.lynnecherry.com
A fun idea is to invite kids to make illustrations of all the species in the book, then enact it as a play. Have a narrator, who reads the story and invites each species to come forward when their name is read out. By the end all the species are on stage and the kids clearly learn how many species are reliant on mangrove habitats!
Use mangroves in a geography lesson; mangrove forests grow in Australia, Indonesia, Iran, Africa, North and South America!
And if you need a song to go along with you play, I have up-loaded the Mangrove song to my MySpace Music list – the lyrics are there too!
Have fun discovering mangroves!