Imagine being able to investigate our oceans, explore and support seascapes, and aid marine organisms. In a world where conservation is a growing concern, imagine being able to create and implement solutions that benefit our future. Within the Old Kings Elementary School Marine Science and Conservation Flagship program, these activities are a daily experience for our students.


Our unique program is designed to educate students on the four systems that interact on Earth (nitrogen cycle, carbon cycle, photosynthesis, and water cycle) and the effects of human impact. The OKES “Owls In Action” have several projects that each focus on a specific problem facing our seas. Overfishing, plastic pollution, global warming, water acidification, coral bleaching, dune erosion, and dead zones are among the topics of focus our program is addressing.

      In our flagship STEM lab, students explore marine science concepts through inquiry-based learning. Explorations that students participate in include: researching marine science careers; utilizing engineering design to build water vessel, exploring buoyancy, stability and propulsion; investigating sea organism anatomy and marine life adaptions through dissection; exploring life cycles of fish by raising and releasing Trout and Striped Bass; building underwater robots that simulate underwater research; and sponsoring turtle nest clean ups.

      Students are developing systems that will be implemented in our community to bring awareness and solutions to the problems our seas are facing. Additionally, students are implementing conservation activities that will help to restore, protect, and preserve our oceans and their inhabitants. This allows students to understand how to become a marine conservationist as a career. The following are among the projects that are currently being implemented:


6th grade students are challenging selected classrooms to reduce waste by reducing, reusing and recycling. The goal of the project is to introduce the importance of recycling and to demonstrate how “thinking like a conservationist” can reduce the amount of trash that enters our landfills and oceans.


Students have raised money to implement a program that educates the students, K-6, on the benefits and best practices of recycling and purchased seven recycling stations.


Three Old Kings families will be adopting an oyster garden in their backyards in an effort to increase the reproduction of our ocean’s natural filtration system with Eastern Oysters. The Eastern Oyster population has been declining due to overfishing and water acidification. Oyster reefs provide homes for hundreds of animals, filter our water, and provide food and sustainability for humans and the predators of oysters. The final project will include a partnership with Whitney Lab where 5th grade students will help build approximately 1500 oyster host beds to be placed in the Flagler County waters.


A choral group spreading awareness of the coral bleaching issue through music. Their “grow to love” program will include caring for a classroom plant, with a final planting project at the end of the year. Their goal is to bring awareness to the effects of coral bleaching and the solution of utilizing our natural horticulture systems to help remove the carbon footprint.


Students are currently building four community garden beds to grow vegetables.  The harvested food will be given to families that in need, “Grown by Kids 4 Kids.”


Students will be growing sea grass and planting it in areas affected by the hurricanes to protect the dunes and the animals that live in them.


The goal of the project is to raise awareness of plastic pollution, reduce the utilization of single use plastic, and implement coastal clean up activities. The students have made an impact by educating the food service coordinator of Flagler County Schools on the impact of single use plastic in our landfills. To date, the Flagler County Schools has reduced the use of plastic in cafeterias by replacing polystyrene lunch trays with biodegradable recycled lunch trays (saving landfills 1.6 million trays per year), removing plastic straws and replacing utensil packets with individual utensils. Students are currently measuring how much plastic they will save the landfills with these changes.


Students are currently exploring the use of alternative energy sources to reduce the carbon footprint and utilize a renewable energy source with a plan to possibly build an on-campus solar panel.

For more information on what OKES students are doing to make a change in our Flagler community, please contact the school at 386.517.2060.

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