DISHS Students Learn About Green Crabs, Marine Debris at Hurricane Island

Post date: Oct 02, 2014 2:31:56 PM

32 DISHS students traveled to Hurricane Island September 28th-30th as part of the Eastern Maine Skippers Program and Pathways 101 classes.  Over the course of three days, students engaged in hands-on learning opportunities that exposed them to important marine- and arts-related topics and helped the students practice important skills, such as collaboration, public speaking, and data fluency. By connecting students local knowledge and skill to important academic outcomes, students in both programs are learning how to become life-long learners prepared for any post-secondary option, both college and career.

Students in the Eastern Maine Skippers Program conduct a green crab monitoring survey on the shore of Hurricane Island.

The trip to Hurricane Island served as a summative (final) assessment of the student's ability to plan, implement, and present a group project.  Successfully completing group projects is a key outcome of the Pathways 101 course, along with planning, implanting, and presenting an individual project and writing a Personal Learning Plan.  Students need to successfully complete the Pathways 101 course before enrolling in either the Marine Studies or Arts Pathway.

Pathways 101- Studying Art and Science Through Marine Debris Sculptures:

As part of the Pathways 101 class, 29 students answered the question "how does art help us communicate what we learn through science?" as they participated in marine debris sculpture project.  After learning about the impact of marine debris, especially micro plastics, groups of students conducted a beach cleanup along a 1/4 mile stretch of Hurricane's coastline.  Students categorized the debris that they found and compared it to baselines from previous surveys.  Students then drew on the work of famous landscape artists to create temporary "debris sculptures" using the debris they had collected.

Throughout the remainder of the school year, the students will continue their investigation of green crabs in their own schools.  The green crab project will provide students the opportunity to learn and practice important skills such as active citizenship, public speaking, interpreting and using data, and applied science and engineering that will prepare them for modern fishing careers as well as post-secondary education. The project has further application beyond their high school education, however, as students are conducting "real-world" research that researchers and regulators can use as they seek to sustain the fisheries component of the coastal economy, which is critical to Downeast communities.

Eastern Maine Skippers Program- Green Crab Monitoring and Marketing:

Forty-one students from six coastal and island high schools (Deer Isle-Stonington, George Stevens Academy, Vinalhaven, North Haven, Narraguagus and Mount Desert Island) gathered on Hurricane Island in Penobscot Bay to kick-off the second year of the Eastern Maine Skippers Program (EMSP) and their collaborative, year-long project addressing the question, “How can the impact of the green crab population be controlled in a way that conserves the marine ecosystem and encourages new industry?” The day and a half program was organized and hosted by the 

Hurricane Island Foundation with additional staff support from Penobscot East Resource Center and the Maine Department of Marine Resources. 

The event introduced students to the green crab issue in Maine and was jam packed with hands-on activities from learning about field sampling techniques to developing a marketable product made from green crabs to discussing elements underlying effective group work and communication. 

Students cook a green crab dish- including green crab mac n' cheese- as they explore marketing opportunities for green crabs.

A group of students created this lobster sculpture created from lost buoys collected along the shore of Hurricane Island.