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Youth benefit from hands-on program

Rob Reynolds, the founder of the Zephyr Education Foundation, recently challenged a group of Massachusetts students to count the marine life forms they saw on a video screen in front of them.

In a few minutes, they would haul a dredging rig back on the deck of their boat and see if they were right.

This group was a seventh-grade science class from Falmouth Academy, but they're just the latest to take a scientific cruise with Zephyr.

Reynolds founded the nonprofit foundation in 2009 to organize hands-on expeditions to expose students to the concepts behind ocean exploration and underwater technology.

In five years, he's hosted 7,000 students on his field trips, with ages ranging from middle-schoolers to college classes.

"This lets the local kids understand what's on the bottom of the water that surrounds them and how they're used for research," Reynolds told the Cape Cod Times.