The first week of October was busy on Hurricane! We enjoyed lots of energy and curiosity from the 50+ Oak Hill freshmen who joined us. For the second year in a row, Maine’s Oak Hill High School has offered a freshman trip to Hurricane. Due to a large freshman class, the students were split into two groups, visiting either Monday to Wednesday or Wednesday to Friday, and in both groups, there were students experiencing their first boat rides as we journeyed across Penobscot Bay!
The first group experienced lots of cold and rainy weather, yet spirits remained high. Many students reflected that a highlight of the trip was our perimeter hike and sit spot at Gibbons Point - during chilly wet weather with high winds! It added a sense of adventure and common experience to the occasion. The second group enjoyed warmer, sunnier weather for activities like the raft building challenge and our exploration of the intertidal zone.
One of the goals of the trip was to build cohesion and community among the freshman class. Students laughed through numerous team challenges, and several students shared that by the end of the trip, they felt more comfortable around their peers, especially those outside their friend groups.
They also delved into some marine science while they were on Hurricane. Investigating intertidal organisms, students unsurprisingly were excited to find crabs of varying sizes and colors. Several students sacrificed their dry pants and socks to search for urchins too. On campus, they embraced learning about aquaculture and plankton as they held our baby scallops and identified plankton under the microscope. Personally I enjoyed sharing our ocean setting with these students who spend most of their time inland. Several expressed an interest in returning, so I hope to see them back on Hurricane in 2019!