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School’s in for summer – in the Bahamas, that is, for a handful of high school students. Shedd Aquarium is inviting students from across the Chicagoland area to apply for this summer’s High School Marine Biology (HSMB) program.

Those who are selected will spend three weeks over the summer literally diving into learning to discover what it takes to be a marine biologist.

Educational opportunities include hands-on experiments, classroom time, and an opportunity to research marine life up close in the aquatic environment of the Bahamas’ Bimini Islands.

 “Shedd’s High School Marine Biology program is the ultimate summer school experience, creating an opportunity for students to explore the complex and fragile environments of the ocean,” said Colby Mitchell, teen mentor programs coordinator at Shedd Aquarium. “Experiencing ocean life firsthand builds a strong connection between the students and the world’s waters, providing them with a completely new perspective on marine biology and science. Class activities include discussions, lectures and laboratory exercises. While on the research vessel in the Bahamas, students explore local habitats such as reefs, turtle grasses, mangroves and shipwrecks, as well as conduct team research projects on tidepools, invertebrates and currents.

To qualify, students must be at least 14 years of age and live in Illinois or one of its immediately surrounding states.

Students must also show a strong interest in marine biology, have completed at least one year of high school biology and possess reasonable swimming skills, although it’s not necessary to know how to snorkel.

Tuition for the HSMB program is $1,600 not including airfare to Miami. Full and partial scholarships are available, based on need.

Applications are available by visiting www.sheddaquarium.org or by e-mailing MentorPrograms@SheddAquarium.org. The deadline for HSMB applications is Feb. 28.  Those wishing additional information or who have questions about HSMB may call 312-692-3158. During the summer program, students spend three weeks living and learning aboard Shedd’s very own research vessel, the 85-foot R/V Coral Reef II. On the floating classroom, the next generation of explorers live the lives of marine biologists, learning the basic concepts of marine biology, while conducting research designed to engage and educate them.