Island Updates

First Impressions

Guest blog post by Science Educator Alex Griffith

Upon reflection, it’s remarkable that only 16 days have passed since I arrived on Hurricane Island, but in that brief time, my excitement for the summer to really kick off has only increased.  Having spent most of my April at home down in North Carolina, the cold weather was at first a shock, but after moving into Flywheel cabin I find myself incredibly busy and already a part of the strong community here on Hurricane.

In the short two weeks or so since I first set foot on this island, I’ve already experienced a wide range of programs, from a board meeting to a volunteer day to two school programs.  St. George Elementary was here for a day trip with a focus on history, and after a history hike around the island and a timeline and archaeology activity, they left with a solid grip of the fascinating human history of the island.  Gould, on the other hand, was here with a focus on team-building, so I got to really use my prior experience working in experiential education to help them work through the raft challenge, some rock climbing, and the polar plunge.  

  Above:  some of the artifacts and resources used to teach St. George Elementary School students about the granite quarry and history of the island.

Above:  some of the artifacts and resources used to teach St. George Elementary School students about the granite quarry and history of the island.

Working with Gould students in the raft challenge has definitely been the most challenging and educational part of my time here so far.  Since I’d never led this activity before, I took a very hands-off approach to see how the kids would organize themselves to get across the Ice Pond, with occasional bits of advice.  When they started to get crabby with one another, I gradually started taking away their supplies to increase the pressure—a tactic which, of course, only made them more frustrated with me.  At our post-activity reflection, I made sure to tell them that I had learned as much from the challenge as they had, and would be sure to appropriately adjust my approach to leading the challenge in the future.  Through these first two school programs, I’ve learned more than staring at lesson plans could ever teach me, and I look forward to continuing to grow as an educator throughout this summer and fall.

  Above: looking out over the raft challenge supplies and Ice Pond, site of a great deal of learning for both students and instructors.

Above: looking out over the raft challenge supplies and Ice Pond, site of a great deal of learning for both students and instructors.

I’ve greatly enjoyed—and adjusted to—living on Hurricane in these first two weeks as well.  I’m slowly getting used to not showering every day (or even every other day), and I already know that the weather and I are going to be locked in a constant struggle until October as my southeastern soul longs for 90 degree days.  Regardless, it’s more than balanced out by the incredible community here and friends I’ve already made on this beautiful island. I can’t wait for more programs to arrive and to get even more into the swing of things than I am already.  

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