WILLAPA BAY — Clad in their distinctive white lab coats, a dozen young scientists observed and noted details then tested hypotheses during the Oysterville Science Academy which concluded last week.

The fifth annual event was again spearheaded by Diane Buttrell, a retired teacher who has lived on the Long Beach Peninsula for 10 years.

The program is for students entering or completing fourth grade and features a curriculum inspired by the American Association of the Advancement of Science. “It all starts with observation then goes into inferences,” Buttrell said.

The final week’s topics continued the theme of the importance of clay for early man with a look at the impact of tides on the life cycles and habitat of critters living in the mud. The Port of Peninsula hosted a session Tuesday with considerable assistance from its manager, Jay Personius, and guest speaker Marilyn Sheldon, from the Northern Oyster Co., who led the students on an exploratory mission on the shoreline of Willapa Bay and described shellfish harvesting techniques.

After a briefing on the importance of wearing lifejackets at all times on docks and boats, the students examined how fishing vessels are designed differently depending on what species their crews want to catch.

The annual academy, which ran Aug. 12-29, is conducted in conjunction with the Boys and Girls Club of the Long Beach Peninsula with support from the Ocean Beach Education Foundation.

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