St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region
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Salt Marshes and Bay Seining

land drawing
  1. Salt marsh
  2. protection
  3. Nursery area
  4. tide
  5. waterfowl
  6. detritus
  7. habitat
  8. transition zone
  9. barrier
  10. pollutant
  11. sediment

When you walk toward the water, you feel the warmth of the sun beating down on our head and back. The plants are sharp and scratchy as they brush against your skin. Gradually you feel something cool seep into your sneakers. Looking down, you see that your feet are getting soaked.

Squish. Squoosh. Slosh. Sloosh. The ground becomes less firm and the water is now almost to your ankles. You notice a strange, marshy smell as you slog through the gooey mud.

Suddenly you hear a loud buzz and catch a glimmer of red out of the corner of your eye. It’s a dragonfly swooping down to land on a cattail. The dragonfly’s see-through wings glisten in the sunlight. You reach out to gently touch it, but it’s too late. The dragonfly has zipped away to hunt for mosquitoes and other marsh insects. Instead of touching the dragonfly, you feel the soft fuzz of the cattail.

The ground is now oozier and the water is deeper. As you bend over to roll up your pant legs, you hear a hum. Slap! Too late! You can already feel the tiny sting of a mosquito bite behind your ear. Trying not to scratch it, you move on. Up ahead, you spy several ducks paddling silently across the water. As you creep up to get a better look, you realize the water is almost up to your knees. You decide it’s time to turn around and head back to dry land.

Finally you’re back on dry land. As you think about everything you saw and felt, you realize the marsh is a very special place.


drawing of duck pond

Describe what you did and how you felt when you seined the bay.

Teacher's guide: Marshes and Bay Seining

  1. salt marsh - habitat between the ocean or bay and the land
  2. protection - safe place
  3. nursery area - safe place for young animals
  4. tide - rise and fall of the oceans
  5. waterfowl - birds living in the salt marsh
  6. detritus - decomposed plant life
  7. habitat - place where an organism naturally lives
  8. sea shell image
  9. transition zone - place of change
  10. barrier - obstacle, fence
  11. pollutant - harmful material
  12. sediment - loose dirt that settles to the bottom of the water
Last updated: August 17, 2010