Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sea Shells, Sea Glass, and Spectacles

STH/STB interns, staff, and marine educators left Long Wharf to begin our journey to Spectacle and Georges Islands. Leaving behind the skyline for the water was a welcomed change of pace. Upon arrival at Spectacle Island, we learned some history of the island and its early inhabitants. The now beautiful island was once a dump between 1935 and until the 1990s. Before it was a dump, Native Americans made the island a fishing and clamming camp.  Thanks to the dirt from the Big Dig in 1992, the island has been rejuvenated to serve as a public park. 

We walked along the beach uncovering  as we went. After our walk, we took turns showing what we had collected and telling stories about their past lives. Among the findings were a rainbow of sea glass, pottery artifacts, spark plugs, and marbles. There was also a discussion of what was "trash" and what was "treasure". Some things were easy to classify, while some staffers found items to have special significance that they believed counted their "trash" as "treasure." After show and tell, we returned our "treasures" back into the sea. 

As a side note, this discussion on trash got me thinking. When I learned about the island's past life as landfill, I started thinking about the past of life of trash. At first, I wanted to clean the island of all things that weren't naturally found on beaches, but I realized their can be beauty in what was once someone else's garbage. I will definitely think more before I throw out. 

Back onto the ferry we went to travel to Georges Island, home to a Civil War fort. The island was equally beautiful as Spectacle but with much different scenery. We walked along the rocky shore to unveil green crabs hiding among the rocks. Later we ventured into the fort the learn more about its history and explore its various rooms. The most memorable experience was walking through a dark passage that was so dark you couldn't see the person ahead of you. It was a disorienting experience, and I was happy to emerge back into the fresh air, to feel the grass, and see the comforting sight of the ocean. From there, we climbed the stairs to one of the fort's highest points to look upon lighthouses in the distance as well as the town of Hull. 

The rain came in, and took us away from the island. We ran to the ferry to be returned back to the harbor in a hurry to beat the approaching storm. It turned out to be a great day for learning the history of Boston harbor and to see new sights. I hope to be going out to the islands much more throughout the summer. I would love to return to Spectacle to hike along its trails and to sunbathe. 

Catherine Simon
Summer Policy Intern 

No comments: