Poteau seventh grade GEAR UP students tour the Oklahoma Aquarium


WILBURTON, Okla. (March 11, 2019) – Sixty-nine Poteau GEAR UP seventh grade students recently traveled to Jenks to visit the Oklahoma Aquarium. The aquarium allowed students to self-explore the nine exhibits it houses, including the most recent exhibit, the Polynesian Reef. There are several touch tanks that allow students a hands-on experience with aquatic creatures.

The Polynesian Reef exhibit is home to many species of fish and coral. Yellowtail coris can be found in this exhibit. In order to maximize their reproductive success, yellowtail coris begin life as female, mate, and lay eggs. Then as the female fish grows larger later in life, they will become male in order to fertilize many females’ eggs.

Sea Turtle Island opened in the Spring of 2017 and is home to many tropical fish as well as a 300-pound loggerhead sea turtle. Through the multi-level observation options, students viewed the exhibit from underwater and above while peering down. The exhibit educates onlookers of the endangered status of sea turtles and how the actions of Oklahomans can impact the turtles’ homes.

The Ozark Stream exhibit may look a bit more familiar. This exhibit houses river otters, beavers, and raccoons which can all be found in Oklahoma. Students observed the beavers through a special camera placed within the den. The river otter exhibit displays the otters underwater and how their sleek, streamlined bodies allow them to swim skillfully in their environment. 

“The aquarium is a valuable resource we have right here in Oklahoma for our students so that they may learn more about nature beyond our landlocked state,” said Education Coordinator Leslie Hemphill. 

Poteau GEAR UP students recently toured the Oklahoma Aquarium. Pictured are (front row, left to right) Alicia Bruno, Sydney Killian, Adriana Crouch, Leah Barnard, Brooke Hattabaugh, Bictoria Castillo, (row 2) Kaelyn Hogrefe, Savanna Bryan, Brooklyn Balido, Farah Brem, Mariah Cunningham, Lily Haywood, Ali Haywood, Haleigh Garrett, Kylie Bruce, Hailey Hunt, Jasmin Colunga, (back row) Brenna Adams, Brooklyn Garner, Emily Bolding, Jada-Lynn Hess, Annika Dill, Shayley Killian, Emma Baker, Kirsten Bebermeyer, Jessenia Jacinto, Melody Jones, Carina Brock, Teresa Cazares, Evelyn Garcia, and Daisy Gabriel.

Poteau GEAR UP students Lesley Correa, Morgan Hagen, Belen Matias, and Yoana Romero explore the Polynesian Reef at the Oklahoma Aquarium.

Poteau GEAR UP students Camryn Zink, Brooke Hattabaugh, and Gracyn Soehlman touch starfish in a touch tank exhibit at the Oklahoma Aquarium.

Poteau seventh grade students recently visited the Oklahoma Aquarium. Pictured are (front row, left to right) Cassandra Maul, Haven Ross, Chani Lloyd, Camryn Zink, Shira Solano, Chloe Wecker, Alexis Stryffeler, Kambri Poor, Treasure Tate, (row 2) Stephanie Mitts, Mia Linares, Andi Shockey, Alexia Staats, Brooklyn Latham, Sydney Taylor, Gracyn Soehlman, Bethany Warren, Jasmine Ramirez, Jazlynn Williams, Kaleen Pelfrey, (back row) Belen Matias, Yoana Romero, Anna Ruport, Payton Maxey, Ariel Neal, Harley Lloyd, Parker Patterson, Elisabeth Steelman, Britleigh Wood, Niomi Saldana, Xochie Ta, Renee McDade, Tristan Wright, and Kenli Lovell.

Poteau GEAR UP students Chloe Wecker and Alexis Stryffeler check out Sea Turtle Island at the Oklahoma Aquarium.

Poteau students Stephanie Mitts, Andi Shockey, and Lia Minares feed the stingrays at the Oklahoma Aquarium.

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