Guest blog post from Science Educator Robin Chernow; Intern Dana Colihan
From July 3rd to 9th, the Middle School Marine Ecology program kicked off the open enrollment season as they called Hurricane Island “home.”
Sunday’s night hike set the tone for a great week ahead as the students learned about night vision and eye anatomy, and observed luminescent sparks while munching on wintergreen lifesavers. Shout out to fellow Science Educator Josh for sharing his expertise.
Another inaugural event of the summer was Seaweed Day! On this mid-week day dedicated to our favorite algae, students identified different species and practiced using microscopes to get an up-close look, before boating with Oakley out to Hurricane’s kelp aquaculture for a harvest. In the afternoon, students took on the role of seaweed chefs, joining Eric in the kitchen to pickle some kelp stipes and to prepare dessert for the evening: chocolate sea moss pudding. The pudding recipe came to Hurricane via Educator Intern Dana, who fondly remembers making this sweet seaweed treat with her family. Finally, a seaweed press art project concluded the algae-filled day.
I am impressed and amazed by the staff here on-island. Everyone has pitched in and shared their time, energy, and enthusiasm to make a meaningful and memorable week for our students, not just on Seaweed Day or our first night, but every day and night. Though I was the Science Educator tasked with leading the week and developing programming, we all made the week possible as a team. I love that everyone was eager to be a part of the middle schoolers’ week, sharing something special and building community.
Our students felt that community too. They enjoyed spending free time with different staff members, playing volleyball with Bailey, and cards with Rachael. They loved walking like crabs with Jenn and hearing about Silas’s work with boats. They learned from Sam how to rock climb and belay, and they listened intently to Phoebe’s stories about our starry sky. Each of these experiences strengthened our students’ bonds with each other too, and they became more excited to play games and sing songs as a cohesive group.
By the time Friday rolled around, and it was our students’ chance to share their newfound expertise. They gathered proudly to present their findings from their research project, investigating their question “What animals does seaweed protect?” While initially apprehensive at the prospect of giving presentations, the students’ nerves subsided. As our staff community filed into the presentation room, the students were excited and confident to share what they had discovered.
As I look back on the first week of summer programming, I feel incredibly lucky to be here working with such wonderful students and staff. From Dana, my intern who has been supportive and creative through every moment, to the staff as a whole, stepping in with students and making sure this place runs smoothly, to the kids who came here with open minds and an appetite for fun, Hurricane Island brings people together. Now let’s bring on the rest of the summer!