Cousins Kelsey and Rachel Clayton, students at Wall High School, took their first-ever ocean water samples Tuesday near the outfall from polluted Wreck Pond in southern Monmouth County.
The samples then were brought to a school lab to check fecal bacteria levels, according to Joe Mairo, a biology teacher at the school.
Manasquan High School students also are taking water samples — from three spots around Wreck Pond — as part of the project, said Thomas Glenn, a chemistry and science teacher at the high school.
"It's kind of cool because the kids are excited about it and it kind of gives them a window into (the field of environmental science)," Glenn said.
Wreck Pond, which separates Spring Lake and Sea Girt, has been the source of most of New Jersey's ocean swimming bans during recent beach seasons. And the students are learning about what it's like to test the waters and about the local environment, according to Mairo.
The Jersey Shore chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit grass-roots environmental group, is sponsoring the project, which is funded by a $3,000 grant from the Wachovia Charitable Services Group, Mairo said.
The project is part of the Surfrider Foundation's Blue Water Task Force program, which involves water quality monitoring, education and advocacy, according to the group's Web site. More