Camden-Rockport elementary students explore Hurricane Island

By Louis Bettcher | Sep 11, 2017
Courtesy of: Megan Sady Nika Jensen, left, and Cate Middleton examine rockweed seaweed during exploration time on Hurricane Island.

Rockport — First- and second-grade students in Camden Rockport Elementary's Mutli-age program began their school year with a boat ride to Hurricane Island, and a day exploring the island's landscape and wildlife.

Students and teachers gathered at Journey's End Marina in Rockland Aug. 28, where they boarded the charter lobster boat Equinox and made the 12-mile trip across the water to Hurricane Island. Once at the Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership, the group was met by science educator Isabelle Holt.

"Without wasting time, we got right down to the intertidal [zone] to find some of the marine organisms that call Maine's rocky coasts their home," Holt wrote of the day on the HICSL website. Students searched many of the island's tidal pools and had a chance to identify and determine the sex of crabs, predict the age of a strand of rockweed seaweed and even learned how to hum to periwinkle snails to coax them out of their shells.

After a waterfront lunch, the students played a game called "Sharks and Minnows" to explore the predator and prey relationship of maritime creatures, and concluded their visit to the island with a hike to Gibbon's Point. Here they observed the "whaleback" geologic formations: masses of granite that resemble a a giant sea creature rising from the ocean.

Mulit-age instructor Megan Sady said this is the second year that Camden-Rockport's first- and second-grade students have started the year with a trip to Hurricane Island -- a tradition she hopes will continue.

"Camden-Rockport Multi-age students came to Hurricane to learn about the rocky coast and in the process these lovely students thoroughly rocked it!" said Holt.

The Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership offers a variety of research-based programs each year for students from middle school age through adulthood. The programs are designed to give students firsthand experience with the scientific process by using the island's intertidal environment and terrestrial ecology.

First- and second-graders from Camden Rockport Elementary School and their teachers gather at Journey's End Marina to  board the Equinox for their trip to the island. (Courtesy of: Megan Sady)
From left, Avery Redfern and Colton McKellar-Massey aboard the Equinox during the crossing to Hurricane Island. (Courtesy of: Megan Sady)
Students explore different types of tide pools on Hurricane Island. (Courtesy of: Megan Sady)
Sadie Farmer, third from left, Klara Mathaiu and Ainsley Ford, second from right, learn about rockweed seaweed from Hurricane Island instructor Isabelle Holt, second from left. (Courtesy of: Megan Sady)
From left, Soren Johnson and Colton McKellar-Massey catch crabs along the rocky coast. (Courtesy of: Megan Sady)
Gabby Martin, left facing camera, and Isabelle Baker, right, learn about crab identification. (Courtesy of: Megan Sady)
The students embark on a hike to Gibbons Point. (Courtesy of: Megan Sady)
Jack Christie looks for crabs in one of the many tide pools on Hurricane Island. (Courtesy of: Megan Sady)
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