Guest Blog Post by Science Educator Isabelle Holt
I dove right in to the beginning on my Hurricane Island experience as a Science Educator with my first ever program on Hurricane working with the 6th graders from Nobleboro and what an experience it was! Nobleboro was a special program for me as I got to learn about what it means to be on Hurricane Island along side the kids: from raft building, to island history, to how to “flush” a composting toilet and what it means to be a productive member of the Hurricane community.
While we had a jam packed couple of days full of fun activities, one particular highlight was getting to learn more about Hurricane’s scallop aquaculture research activities. I have always loved bivalves so having the chance to get my hands dirty with the kids by hauling up one of Hurricane’s lantern nets full of scallops of different sizes and helping students measure them was a dream come true. While the scallops on Hurricane are currently only used for research and education purposes, the data our research team is gathering will someday hopefully lead to the successful establishment of a commercial scallop fishery in the near future.
While the Nobleboro students were on the island we honed our powers of observation from the micro to the macro. Plankton tows yielded copepods and cnidarians galore that the sixth graders could sketch under the microscope. Exploration of the intertidal zone revealed a myriad of adaptations to wave action, salinity and temperature change. And lobstering showed how human activity impacts ecological balance within the gulf of Maine. While the students enjoyed observing the environment by which they were surrounded, it was a joy for me to observe them making their first strides as independent, critical thinkers. I cannot wait to see what the rest of the season brings as I continue to be a part of the Hurricane Island experience.