Hurricane Island proudly closed out the summer with a new two week program called Women of the Sea. This program, for high school girls from Maine, was created in collaboration with the Boothbay Sea and Science Center to provide an opportunity for young women to experience and understand the sea from both sailing and island-based perspectives. In order to study marine science and oceanography throughout the program, the the two weeks had 4 phases: 5 days of sailing and data collection on Vela; 2 days of leadership and teamwork on Hurricane; 5 days of independent research projects on Hurricane; and a day in Boothbay, preparing for community presentations at Bigelow Labs.
Island research...sorting baby scallops from our spat bags!
I enjoyed working with the girls during their time on Hurricane. They were observant and inquisitive as we traversed the island’s rocky intertidal zone. Their explorations led to research projects investigating the relationship between coralline algae cover and limpet population, the correlation between sea urchin size and number of decorations, the effect of tunicate presence on surrounding organisms, in addition to several questions about green crabs: how often do crabs of different sizes and sexes interact? How does intertidal substrate affect the size or sex of crabs found?
Soaring through the raft challenge.
When I reflect on the nine participants in the program, one of the first words that comes to mind is STRONG. These young women were open-minded about their varied experiences, and they embraced new people throughout the course of the two weeks. They were resilient in their response to challenges, and they were supportive of each other. They built up each other’s self-esteem, reminding each other of their own strengths. I feel lucky to have worked with each of the individuals in the cohort this summer, and I hope we can offer this program in years to come.
Thank you to each of our inaugural women of the sea, and good luck this school year!
Women of the Sea on Vela in Hurricane Sound.