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New England

“First Impressions”

Hurry up and wait. That seems to be the theme for today. New England Institute Day 1. It was an early start, everyone arriving at the airport at 4:15am, or thereabouts. Though bleary eyed and caffeine deprived there is excitement in the air. We are all anxious to smell the salty air and catch our first glimpse of the island. The learning-about-each-other process begins as we share stories and talk about the things we are most excited to see. We talk about the families we leave behind, the school year we just completed, the travels we have done or want to do. As the miles pass under us, we start to feel more and more like a cohesive group. We are in this together. To learn from each other and from the lands we are about to explore.

By mid-morning we landed in Manchester, New Hampshire and drove east to Portsmouth. Then we lunched at the Portsmouth brewery. Some enjoyed chowder or sweet potato soup while others dined on fish sandwiches and fries. With our bellies full we headed to the dock and the ferry to our destination -Appledore Island, Maine. We shared the bay with cormorants and black-backed gulls and motored (in the heat of day) towards Shoals Marine Laboratory.

We weren’t on just any old ferry, we arrived today with the weekly food shipment. Once we docked, a human conveyor belt of more than 50 people formed to make the unloading process work smoothly. It was quite a sight to see the wide assortment of cargo make it’s way up and over the rocky shore- boxes of kale, eggs, mattresses, and luggage all passed from hand to hand. All this took place in the midst of multiple pairs of very large and alert, nesting gulls.

After a gourmet dinner on the patio, we learned about the geologic and human history of the Isles of Shoals (specifically Appledore Island and Shoals Marine Lab), presented by Drs. Hal Weeks and Jim Coyer.

As the sun sets in this postcard like setting, which we are actually a part of, we observed a few moments of silence to take it all in. The raucous calls of Great Black-backed and Herring gulls descended upon our ears. Words cannot describe the beauty of this island!!

The sun sets on Shoals Marine Laboratory.

New England

“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.”

“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.”

—Excerpt from “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish,” by Dr. Seuss

These wise words by Dr. Seuss seem fitting on this last day of school for many of our NC educators. Today was good. Today was fun … and for our Educators of Excellence, tomorrow is another (fun) one!

Tomorrow the summer officially starts and preparations for our New England Institute can begin in earnest! With their classroom doors closed, our phenomenal group of teachers can begin to shift gears — away from grading papers and staff meetings to dipping their toes in the chilly waters of the Gulf of Maine and being “blown away” by the winds on Mount Washington, NH.

Our next week and a half will be full of wrapping up last minute tasks and packing, but then we will leave North Carolina to begin a grand adventure to New England! We can’t wait! There’s so much to do and see and learn!

Preparations are under way- a pile of gear and resources is almost ready to be packed, Photo: M. Davis

Yellowstone

“Junior Curators in Yellowstone”

This summer, the Museum’s Junior Curators, high school students who volunteer weekly to help take care of the Museum’s animal ambassadors, are taking a trip to Yellowstone!

From June 14-21, thirteen students will travel with Museum staff to visit Yellowstone National Park. We’ll take time to learn about the Park’s amazing wildlife, observe the geothermal energy released in hot springs and geysers, and take some hikes into Yellowstone’s backcountry.

The students will be posting blogs during the trip to the Museum’s Education blog site. We hope you’ll follow along!

Bison Silhouette

Tropical Ecology

“Turtles and Plastic in Belize”

The tropical breeze blew gently in through our rooms as we welcomed the new day. Many of us met out on the beach so we could watch the beautiful sun rise on the horizon. A large ray surprised us as it came close to the beach, while pelicans flew overhead looking for their breakfast. A short time later, while enjoying the first cup of coffee for the day, we were alerted by another guest that the baby turtles were making their way out to the ocean. Excitedly, we ran to the edge of the island where a nest of baby turtle eggs revealed that many of the babies had already left. The last five baby turtles slowly and carefully made their first steps from the nest towards the water. All of us were on hand to watch this amazing event, some of us filming, some of taking pictures, all of us quietly cheering. Our conversation at breakfast was about the baby turtles and the beauty of what we had just witnessed.