Children from The Little Rainbow school look at an aquarium filled with some of the marine animals that can be found in Little Dix Bay, including the spider-like aero crab. (Photo: CHRYSTALL KANYUCK)

Poked, prodded, dropped and maybe even a little bit broken: Anything that a dozen 5- and 6-year-olds handle has to be pretty sturdy.

marineThat’s why biologist Clive Petrovic only passes around the hardiest of reef creatures at his interactive presentations to primary schoolers in Virgin Gorda. And the peanut worm, the brittle star and the little crab that fell out of their eager hands were all just fine when Mr. Petrovic dropped them back into their temporary home – a plastic aquarium in the Rosewood Little Dix Bay children’s centre.

“They’re tough little animals,” Mr. Petrovic said on a recent trip to the resort, where he regularly gives presentations to guests and Virgin Islands students about life on the coral reef.

And, as he explained to his students for the day, they all live right off the dock of the resort.

“Where?” asked one of the children from The Little Rainbow school.

“Right along the beach. I collected them this morning, and when we’re done, I’m going to put them back there,” Mr. Petrovic answered.

See the April 14, 2011 edition for full coverage.