We were happy to host students from the Waldorf School at Moraine Farm for their 8th grade graduation trip from June 7-11, 2015. We started the program by exploring the intertidal between Two Bush Island and Hurricane, where we found green crabs, sea urchins, hermit crabs, sea stars, nudibranchs, and tons of periwinkles! We lucked out with some of the best tides of June, so we got to explore further out in the low intertidal than usual and also saw an amazing range of algae and new tide pools. After a snack break we switched gears to take a look at Maine's lobster fishery and see Oakley in action hauling his recreational lobster traps. While we caught a lot of lobsters, only two were legal-sized, so unfortunately we didn't have a lobster dinner that night.
Another highlight of the program was learning about some of the commonly seen birds on Hurricane and their songs. After a quick summary, we headed out on a birding hike to see what we could spy through our binoculars. The highlight was right at the end, where we saw a flock of cedar waxwings in the apple trees. Cedar waxwings are particularly fond of eating apple petals, so we were able to get really close to observe them without startling them. Some other birds we saw were northern parula, american redstarts, black-throated green warblers, a golden crowned kinglet, and a song sparrow. We also heard the red breasted nuthatch and got more familiar with learning to identify birds through their songs.
The weather had been a bit gray during the program, but on June 10 the sun came out just in time for a beautiful (and windy!) sail out to Bald Island. While we were underway, we continued bird watching and spied bald eagles, osprey, eider ducks, cormorants, and black guillemots. Bald Island was fun to explore with tons of tide pools and bold granite faces. During the quarry era, Bald Island was the source for most of the granite that makes up the Rockland Breakwater, so it has a similar history to Hurricane.
Another big part of this program was rock climbing! Students learned how to safely belay and support each other on the rocks, and we had a chance to climb on a smaller wall and then moved to the main quarry face, which has some challenging and technical climbs!
Congratulations to the 8th grade class, we hope you enjoy a relaxing summer before your next big adventure in high school! See you back out on Hurricane again soon!