Guest Blog Post by Teaching Assistant Sammi Clark
Hurricane Island is the type of magical land featured in Disney movies. When I arrived last Sunday with the other interns, I felt completely enchanted by the strange geology and forest vegetation blanketed in fog.
Hurricane staff from the island and mainland dedicated this week to gather on the island and bring the new staff up to speed on how the island runs. We started with safety training and staff bonding where, after traditional emergency training, we reviewed the importance of learning about each other’s strengths, interests, and life experiences. Not only did this create a welcoming atmosphere but it also prepared us to use each other as resources in case of a situation.
Next, staff lead us through the trails for a history tour where we pointed out foundations and slabs of granite left from the quarry workers who were past inhabitants of the island (ghost stories included). Hiking around the island really got everyone working up an appetite. The cooks created meals with local ingredients and always had artfully crafted garnishes on the salads. Halfway through the week my notebook was already half full of facts and stories to share with future island visitors.
We were given an in-depth sustainability tour of the facilities and were surprised to learn there was no backup generator necessary due to the amount of power the solar panels could store. Sharing their projects on kelp and scallops, the research team sparked a discussion on the challenges and benefits of aquaculture. To end the week, we explored the intertidal zone while swapped teaching strategies and knowledge on marine ecosystems.
The end of a long week marks a good time to review the highlights and lessons of the week. Hurricane Island is an unforgettable place. It is where all my interests and aspirations intersect whether its ecology, marine science, or sustainable living. The year-round staff’s dedication to orienting the new staff emphasized to me that the magic of the island is created by the people that live there.