At the end of July 2014, Sam Hallowell, the Director of the Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership and I caught a boat out of Portsmouth, NH to visit the Shoals Marine Lab on Appledore Island off the coast of southern Maine. The University of New Hampshire and Cornell University operate the facility and host a series of two-week long summer courses for undergraduate students taught by visiting faculty from around the country. In addition to the courses, they also support undergraduate interns and visiting researchers. Many of the faculty we spoke with had an early career experience at Shoals and had opted to return as a professor or in some other capacity. This returning alumni base is what we're striving to achieve on Hurricane as well and I believe this approach will definitely help augment the existing educational community currently on the island.
Sam was particularly interested in the infrastructure aspect of the facilities and was able to walk around the campus with one of their three facilities manager. They have a large solar array that powers their main building, the dorms, and classrooms as well as a number of flowing seawater tables for teaching and short-term experiments in the lab. A dive program is up and running complete with a dive locker and an AAUS scientific diving course.
I spent time with four interns and two instructors who were collecting data for the long-term intertidal monitoring on Shoals. Dr. Kathy Ann Miller allowed me to tag along with the group on their first day in the field. Our summer intern, Collin, worked to implement a similar protocol on Hurricane so we will eventually be able to compare changes in intertidal community composition over time between Appledore Island and Hurricane Island. We are currently working with Kathy Ann to continue the relationship between Shoals and Hurricane and we hope to host her summer interns next summer after their time on Shoals... stay tuned!