Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Get Your Fishing Face On!

On Thursday, Save the Harbor Save the Bay hosted our 3rd Annual Fishing Derby! In the past, the derby was reserved for Junior Program Assistants only, but this year we expanded and included the Senior Marine Educators! This told me two things: 1) This derby was brought to a whole new level 2) MORE COMPETITION.

The Save the Harbor Save the Bay 2013 Fishing Derby Crew

These days are always fun, engaging, and enthusiastic. In fact, the Fishing Derby is and always was one of my favorite working days! But, just when things seem perfect, something always comes up! Today it was Mother Nature. The weather was predicted to be windy, cloudy, and have scattered showers! JUST WHAT A FISHERMAN WANTS, right? Nevertheless, the Save the Harbor team did not allow weather hinder our awesome day. Plus, for the second time in all of my years knowing Bruce, I got to see him ditch his cargo shorts and wear pants!

Bruce wearing pants while helping Will's brother release a Flounder!

Dream Team! Left to right: Kiauna, me, Bridget, Mark, and Anicia.

We separated into groups and my team, the Dream Team, consisted of: The one the only, Bridget R., Anicia G., Kiauna P., Mark R., my mommy, Marline Brown, Captain, and myself! With a team like this, I knew were destined to win!

We started our day off with the Dream Team hand shake and understood that a 40 inch bass was needed to be caught!

We baited our fishing rods, and casted off. Minutes passed and no bite. Hours passed and surprisingly still no bite. Our boating proximity was limited due to the weather, so we were restricted to Deer's Island, Castle Island, Spectacle Island, and Hull. 

About halfway into our fishing trip, I asked our captain if he would allow me to steer the boat, and mentioned that it has been a tradition ever since I started working at Save the Habor. I was extremely happy that he allowed me to :)

Me asking the captain if I could steer the boat!
Captain directing me to a green booie.

Within our 3 hours of fishing, we caught, nada! Nevertheless, this day has always been so special to me because I love being out on our harbor. Swimming is awesome but there is something about being on a boat surrounded by water. The feeling is both beautiful and humbling. 
Waiting for a bite!

Although the Dream Team came up short, we still had a wicked awesome time and are winners, because we were able to spend the morning out on the Harbor!

Better luck next year!

Co. Captain Karrisha Gillespie

Looking at the Bigger Picture

This week at Piers Park we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how the Boston Harbor and its marine inhabitants play a role in our world ocean. The idea came around when one of our Harbor Explorers asked where the Boston Harbor met the Atlantic Ocean. It was a great question and it started a good discussion as the other Explorers tried to come up with an answer. I realized that while we’ve been learning a lot these past couple weeks, from how to identify crab species to how a mussel attaches itself to the side of a dock, we had jumped right to details and specifics. While learning how to differentiate girl crabs from boy crabs is very interesting, understanding how a crab fits into the Boston Harbor food web is equally as important. I decided it was time to take a step back and put these details into the context of a world ocean and the interconnectivity between land and sea.

We started by looking at a map of the Boston area and identifying key places, like Piers Park, the Charles River, Boston Harbor and the Massachusetts Bay. The map was a great visual to show the Explorers how things in the Charles River run straight to the Boston Harbor and from there to the Massachusetts Bay and then on to the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean. We then looked at a smaller map that focused primarily on the Boston Harbor islands. The Explorers took turns trying to name as many islands as they could (there are 34 islands!) and we discussed the importance (historical and present day) of the islands. While most of the Explorers were familiar with the “giant eggs” on Deer Island, many of them were quite surprised to find out what was actually going on inside those eggs...

Using the map to see how the Boston Harbor fits into the rest of the world. 

Our second big-picture activity dealt with the interconnectivity of species through food webs. We discussed the differences between producers, herbivores, carnivores and scavengers and tried to categorize some of the species we most commonly find at Piers Park. To illustrate how everything is connected, the Explorers were given nametags that represented different species and environmental elements found in the Boston Harbor (sun, algae, krill, mussels, crabs, fish, humans, etc.). We then used a piece of yarn to map out the links between species. For example, the algae needs sun for photosynthesis; the krill eats the algae; and so on. Once the web was created we imagined different scenarios in which certain species were affected (oil spills, overfishing, etc). The affected species would then tug on the yarn. Each species that felt that tug would also tug the yarn, the idea being to create a chain reaction demonstrating how a change to one species could affect every other species in the Boston Harbor, including humans.

Creating a Boston Harbor food web. 

I’ve been very impressed with our Explorers and their ability to think about things in the larger context. Understanding how the Boston Harbor and they themselves fit into our global ecosystem is not a simple concept, but they’ve showed sincere interest and have been able to connect many of the dots. Its been an encouraging week!

-Sarah C

Beautiful Sunny Day

Today was my first time at Spectacle Island all day long I was in charge of taking all the pictures going from the sports, the fishing and the sea glass search.  When we finished lunch everyone went to there own activity, first I went with the fishing group and documented the kids that couldn't wait to fish and see what they would catch in the water. Thi was surrounded by kids that were interested about learning how to fish. At the same time kids were looking for green, blue, red, orange and, brown sea glass. The kids really like to find the colorful glass on the beach they enjoy comparing what colors they find and how big the glass is.
Thi working hard 
Then when I walked up to the beautiful meadow where the teams had started a kick ball game both teams where delighted to be playing.  The smile on the kids faces displayed the joy we have created with sports and keeping them active.  Everyone was a good sport and at the end of the game everyone shook hands and was ready to go cool off at the beach with the refreshing cold water in the harbor.
the last run in the kick ball game 
Then out of the blue, while everyone was getting out of the water, big waves came and everyone jumped back in to the water.  It was an amazing day to be at the beach with the heat and all the sports that were played there wouldn't have been a better way to stay cool.

Over all today was a great day to take pictures and see everything that happens on the island when Save the Harbor is there.
Just keep swimming -Jennifer

Crabbing with my amigo

These past three days been great at children's museum and Spectacle Island. so many crabs caught, a lot of kids went home happy and learned some new things. Crabbing seems to be the popular thing at children's museum. when they do catch a crab it feels like as if they have caught a fish.  

       At children's museum it was nothing but fun. I had great time over there with the kids, teaching them new thing and educating them. When kids come to us they ask if they can go crabbing with the fishing rods instead of fishing with the fishing rods. In my opinion crabbing is quicker and funner than fishing,  I think the kids agree with me too. A lot of the kids aren't afraid to touch the crabs and hold them but yet the adults be the ones running.  
crabbing comes easy 

There they go!

That's my man Chris' first time fishing and first time catching a crab. I was happy for him and  he was supper happy about his first catch!

Catch Later,


Hello everyone! How is everybody's week going? Yesterday at the Boston Children's Museum I caught a lot of green crabs! I also taught some interested kids how to fish! The kids were so enthusiastic about fishing and about touching the crabs. The girls were actually braver then the guys when they went to touch the green crabs, they liked to take risks! The Children's Museum was actually fun! I enjoyed teaching kids how to fish, because some kids that I taught were so excited about learning because they have never went fishing before in their life. That was a really great experience for me.
- Juelle Benjamin

My Return to All Access

After not having the opportunity to be on All Access for the past year of working here, I was finally able to attend an All Access trip to Georges Island this past week. The day started off with the greeting of the various groups, and they were led into the Heineken VIP tent to color various pictures of marine life. Afterward the groups were led into the massive Bank of America Pavilion tent to listen to David Coffin's infamous speech about Georges Island. His Georges Island speech was geared towards giving the groups a friendly scare about the "Lady in Black". His Georges Island speech was also very informative because David made sure to include several facts about the sprawling Fort Warren. At last, it was time for the groups to head to Commonwealth Pier. 

Ahmed, myself, and Manny leading a game of kickball

When we reached Georges Island everyone had lunch where David Coffin and my sister Thi would engage in cherry pit warfare. My job for the day was to accompany Davis with the sports. Davis brought a plethora of sports equipment with him such as whiffle ball, kickball, ultimate frisbee, and soccer. Ahmed, Manny, and I set up a large scale game of kickball with at least 15 persons on either side. The kickball game was especially fun when it got to the JPA's turn because we would literally blast the kickball to astronomical heights. Ahmed and I led our team to an easy victory, with the score being 11-1. All in all I had a very fun jam-packed day with the kids and my fellow coworkers.

The kickball group!

Catch you later,

Vinh Tran

Ready, Set, KAYAK!

Kayaking all by myself!

Hey, folks! Kiauna again..
This morning was so exciting! I went kayaking with Chelsea and the kids from Community Boating. I was really nervous about being in my own kayak. I was hoping I to have a partner and was slightly disappointed when I realized I would not have one. After I got the hang of it, everything else went smoothly.

While on the Charles River, we decided to have a couple of races. The first race was just your average race. The first person to cross the river won. Shout out to William for winning! Go William! The next 2 races had a few tricks to them. Our second race started with all of us rafted together, holding each other's paddles. Chelsea counted down from 5 and on 3 we all had to push someone's kayak and paddle backwards to the orange buoy. The first person to pass the buoy was the winner. Sadly I was not the winner of that race but congrats to my fellow JPA, Andy. As if paddling backwards wasn't tricky enough, Chelsea made the next race even trickier! This time, when she counted and got to 3, we had to paddle forward 5 times. That's not all! Once we'd paddled forward 5 times we had to do a complete 360 degree turn before we could paddle backwards to the orange buoy. Guess who won that race? Yours truly! Thank you, thank you. Hold the applause.

Ahmed and Annie smilin' for the camera

We all played a kayak version of tag called "Fishy, Fishy, Cross My River". Here's how the game worked: We started off with Chelsea and Andy being the sharks while the rest of us were 'fishies'. The sharks called out, "Fishy, fishy, cross my river" and we set off on our kayaks. The object of the game was to make it past the sharks without one of them tagging your kayak. If you got tagged, you also became a shark. The last 'fishy' left was the winner. It looked like an awfully positive morning for William as he won that game, too. Aside from the work of paddling my kayak, it was a great day! I wouldn't have changed a thing and I think I speak for everyone who went kayaking when I say: Kayaking is the best!!! I faced my fear of kayaking alone and I can't say I'm sorry that I did. If you're reading this and you're thinking to yourself, 'wow it sounds like they must have had a great time', you're absolutely correct!

Be young, stay golden,
Kiauna Peete

Satisfaction Guaranteed

Larry and I teaching Identification 101 at Courageous Sailing Center
The Boston Harbor holds plenty of surprises but Courageous Sailing Center holds much more being off of the Boston Harbor. Despite the fact that I have worked for Save the Harbor for three years and this is my first time working Courageous Sailing Center I am very pleased. Usually people expect so much of things but are not satisfied with the outcome I came into Courageous hoping the best and the first day I went home with a male lobster. I learned so much like how we can't eat female lobster because they carry sperm for up to a year, carry eggs, and over fishing is really a big problem in the Harbor.

We caught four lobster, but only one was legal. The legality of lobster is based off the measurements of its carapace. If the carapace is less than 3 1/4" it isn't able to be taken out of the harbor and eaten. Also male lobsters are the only lobsters that The Fishery Regulations allow us to eat. Many lobsters can be differentiated between male and female by the texture of the swimmerets closest to their head, if they are rough and ridged they are male, tender they are female. I took a male lobster home and made a good dinner for myself. Although I took it home I wasn't able to eat it due to my run in with mother nature and becoming sick and obtaining a swollen throat. It was an amazing first day and am looking forward to the rest of the week!

-Ahmed Hassan

Our Afternoon Faithful

Andy at our "secret
At Courageous Sailing in Charlestown, we dedicate the majority of our blogs to our kids in the SSS or the Swim, Sail, Science class, therefore this is a blog dedicated to our faithful members of the extended day program at Courageous. As the SSS kids trickle out and head towards the Harvard Kent school, we at STH anxiously await the second portion of our afternoon. As the hustle and bustle of sail boats being docked, life jackets being put away, and strewn bags being collected by their owners, our STH team plots what to do with our afternoon faithful. As 3:30 rolls around the majority of kids have since signed out and headed homeward, we are greeted by our hardcore extended day-ers. These are the kids that can't wait to explore, get messy, bait hooks, pull trap, and have an all around good time. The energy and passion these kids have for fishing and lobstering is infectious, and gives us STH staffers a second wind. A standard extended afternoon consists of us walking fast to get our life jackets on (no running for safety purposes!), grabbing handfuls of bait and rods, and making our way down to the dock. As we head down to the end of dock, our now not-so-secret fishing spot, we make sure to pull every lobster trap up along the way: a total of 5 traps in all. After all the traps have been pulled, with every echinoderm, arthropod, and mollusc removed and released to the great blue (the tunicates stay as they are to tricky and numerous to peel from the traps) we make our way down, with sore arms, to the best fishing spot around.

Even the tiniest of crabs is released
With the hooks baited and the rods cast, we wait patiently for our fish friends to take a bite. We in our hardcore fishing club then take this time to have conversations about the marine world around us. Today's conversation was all about the American Lobster. After pulling up a large and legal size lobster, we talk about how to tell the difference between a male and a female (hard claspers closest to the head in males, soft in females) and why its important that we only consume the males. This is due to the fact that female lobsters of legal size are fertile and must be left to ensure future generations of these delicious crustaceans. It hits me that my knowledge of these important creatures is limited, so I took out our STH crome book (thank you Bruce!) and decided to consult the world wide web for more facts on these prehistoric looking organisms. With a maximum weight of 44 lbs these creatures take the title of the heaviest crustacean in the world! While it takes about 6 to 7 years for a lobster to be of edible size (a minimum of 3.25 inch carapace length), it is estimated that they can live for up to a hundred years. My favorite fun fact that I came across was that of all the lobsters that come across our traps only 10% will enter, and of that 10% only 6% will remain in the trap long enough to be caught. That explains why we are only getting about a lobster a day!

Ahmed getting goofy with the traps
 At the end of the day once everyone has been picked up, we clean and pack up our gear, and already start to anticipate what will be in store tomorrow for our afternoon faithful. And as always, take chances, ask questions, get messy!-Sarah B

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Welcome to Jurassic Park

Today at Blacks Creek the kids and I had the exceptional privilege to come across some of the more interesting inhabitants of the Atlantic coast- the infamous horseshoe crab.

The first of the two we captured was found by myself when walking down to the water first thing in the morning, whilst I was getting things ready for the upcoming day. While it proved to be an easy catch, it nonetheless got me excited for the potential that the kids would catch more, as in my experience, where there is one horseshoe crab others are not too far behind.
Matt holding our first horseshoe crab
While the first group did not come across anymore of the living fossils, they certainly did enjoy holding the one that I had captured. Additionally, they were able to catch numerous American eels, and some of the largest killifish that we had caught to date. They also netted a number of both three and four-spined sticklebacks, species that we have only begun to encounter in the last week or so. All this made for quite the productive and exciting morning.  
The biggest and baddest killifish of the day
The second of our horseshoe crabs was found after one of the kids in the second session felt something beneath the muddied water poking at his calves. After a quick scoop with his dip net, he was surprised to pull up another of the prehistoric creatures. I believe he named it Bob.
A Jurassic hunter with the quarry that nearly took his leg
All in all it was a stellar day of catch and release at prehistoric Blacks Creek. In the last few days we have been encountering species new to our explorers with surprising regularity, providing me with ample opportunity for biological discussion. I can only hope that the boom continues and that we are able to check out a few more horseshoe crabs before the end of the summer.

- Hoping not to return to the present era too quickly, Tom Rebula

Frisbee fun!

Ahmed showing the kids a lobster

What's up, guys? Kiauna here. 
Today was quite an enlightening day at Courageous Sailing. Another JPA, Amhed, taught the kids lots of fun facts about crabs. The kids were really smart. They knew all about what kinds of crabs live in the water. From Green Crabs to Red Rock Crabs. They knew it all. I wasn't very surprised that they were pretty familiar with Mr. Krabs, from Spongebob. 

  After we had great conversation about crabs, the kids got to hold a few. They even got to see a lobster! For some of them it was for the first time so they were kind of nervous. Most of them were brave and held it. They sure are braver than I am! Especially Emily. She held it twice! 

 It wouldn't have been Save The Harbor style if we didn't do something with frisbees. Of course we played a game with an official STH frisbee. Ahmed and I walked to the field and set forth in our game. He had a system where he threw the frisbee and the person who caught it had to tell a fun fact that they knew about a sea creature. Supposedly a shark is likely to watch me undress. I'm not sure how much truth there is to that theory but, hey! We did not discriminate about what kinds of facts were thrown into the mix.

Stay golden,
Kiauna Peete

Ps. Shoutout to Bruce Berman. I know how much he enjoys reading about frisbees
Pps. Ahmed and I did all of the above while drinking milkshakes. McDonough may have sully's but look out! Tedeschi's is catching up! That is a big bonus about being at Courageous. Tedeschi's now has a smoothie/milkshake maker! 
Only $2.99!

Kids Event and Concert at Lynn/Nahant Beach

On Saturday, July 27th Senior Marine Educator, Tom Rebula, and I attended the Friends of Lynn and Nahant Beach Kids Event and Concert. We set-up a touch tank in the marine animals section, and we were joined by the Nahant Marine Center. They had several touch tanks available including Green, Spider, and Jonah Crabs, Starfish, Mussels, Quahogs, and a Blue Lobster. Equipped with our wild caught North Atlantic lobster brothers, Larry and Harry, Tom and I introduced them to the families that crowded our tables.

We showed the kids and their parents the lobster's dominant crusher claw, its antennae, how to identify whether it is a male or female, where the animal lives, and what it eats. Some of the kids even touched the tail of the lobster and were splashed as Larry tried to swim underneath the seaweed and back into the cold salt water.

Many of the children who visited the Marine Animals tent had their faces painted as Batman, Wolverine, Hello Kitty, and with rainbows. There also was a balloon booth, a snack booth with cotton candy and popcorn, and a kids concert to conclude the activities. 

This was my first time visiting Lynn/Nahant Beach and Red Rock Park. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, and I really appreciated how clean the beaches were. I hope to swim in the waters of that beach soon!

Stay Sandy,
Iris Ayala

Fishing and Crabbing at the Children's Museum

Getting crabs

Yesterday, we worked at Children's Museum. We started to work at 10 am. We put bait in two traps. We threw two traps into the ocean. Ten minutes later, we pulled up a trap. We caught twelve crabs and two little flounder fish. I caught a little crab with the fishing rod. We showed children the crabs, and we had children hold a crab. We taught children how to use the fishing rod. We caught all green crabs. We told the children where the crab came from and how to tell which one is male and which one is female. We threw all the crabs and two fishes back into the ocean. Then, we went home.

  See you guys next time, Hung.

Fishing Tournament with the Dream Team!

Hey guys again to tell you all about my trip on the fishing tournament,
Save the Harbor/Save the Bay
The day was cold, rainy, windy, and cloudy-- so, it wasn't exactly the best day to go fishing along the harbor. I was on a boat along with my sister and mother, Karrisha and Marline, Kiaunna, Mark, and Captain.
The "Dream Team"
          We sailed to and around Nantucket Beach and we caught NOTHING. It turned out the other team had all the bait...coincidence, I think not! Besides not catching anything I had a blast-- I sailed on a yacht for hours, held a fifty pound fish (yuck) ,and best of all I was surrounded by friends and family!
Me holding a Stripe Bass
           At the end of the trip all of the Save the Harbor crew and staff gathered together for a delicious lunch! Although, everyone was cold... nothing could have swept our smiles and laughter away!

Save the Harbor Save the Bay
                                              Peace, Love, and Happiness,
                                                      Anicia Gillespie

Rock Lobstah!

Yet another day at Courageous and yet another thrilling adventure on the docks! Even though this is my first year working with Save the Harbor/ Save the Bay, I believe that Courageous Sailing Center is one of the best sites to be. The team and Senior Marine Educator (Sarah Bailey) we have on site has something to do with that as well! We try our best to make the day as enjoyable as possible for us and especially the children. Without the kids, we would not have much business to do out on the pier. Our purpose is to not only provide a fun and safe environment for them but to educate them on the sea life that swims below their feet and all around the world in different bodies of water as well as keeping their home [the water] clean too. We meet any chance we get as a team to figure how to improve ourselves and give the kids the most educational and awesome experience they could have. We plan lessons that range from bio-luminescence to sea invertebrates.

Lesson on what makes a fish a fish!
We also have activities for them to do like fishing and pulling up the famous lobster traps! The kids love to do both so its always exciting whether we try our luck fishing off the pier or surprise ourselves with the trapped critters. People may think that it can get old very fast but that only happens if you let it. We try to make every experience as new and different as we can so we will not make ourselves miserable the whole summer. I love this job and so do the rest of my team and the last thing we want is to be bored of it. The traps can never get boring because of how much of a surprise it can be each time we pull it up. Even though most of the time it is just red rock crabs or sea stars, the size and number of limbs they might have is always different and sometimes if we are lucky a lobster falls for our little traps! These lobsters vary in size as well and it is always different when we get lucky enough to find them.

Lucky day with not one lobstah but two lobstahs!
Left to right: Me, Ahmed and Omar
Fishing from the pier is always fun and the beautiful site of the city makes it all the better. We could see the amazing Zakim Bridge and the home of the Big Bad Bruins and the Celtics, The Garden. As a Boston Native, it feels great to have fun while seeing such fantastic sights of my home town. Fishing can get a little tangled, literally. Sometimes the lines cross or the line gets stuck on the pier. The line somehow even gets tangled by the same magic that makes your headphones tie up in your pocket! Regardless it is an easy fix and we are always right back to fishing!

Me untangling a mess (Quick Fix)
Fishing with a view! 


Can't hold us...from fishing!

Last Thursday the Save the Harbor/Save the Bay summer staff participated in the 3rd Annual Fan Pier Fishing Invitational despite the cold, rainy weather!  Everyone arrived to Fan Pier by 7:30am, where they ate donuts, loaded up on hot coffee and headed to the pier to choose their boat for the morning!!

This year the fishing invitational was extra special because each Junior Program Assistant was allowed to bring a guest; a parent or guardian, friend or family member.  Unfortunately, many guests were not able to come due to work obligations but of the ones that fished, we knew they had a blast!  Will Conroy brought along his little brother, Jack, who was a fish-catching machine.  Monique invited her friend Dali, while Will Clark's girlfriend hoped to catch more fish than him!  I was lucky to have Karrisha and Anicia's Mom, Marlene, in my boat, while Ahmed and Andy filled their boat with friends and Andy's brother.  Vinh rounded out the guest list with a fellow O'Bryant graduate, Jean.

Even Bruce and the Senior Marine Educators joined in on the fun!

Tom? Is that you? How's the fishing?

Thumbs up to a great day of fishing in the harbor!

As the fishing boats headed back to Fan Pier, everyone was excited to see who caught the biggest fish.  Although some groups had a tough day resulting in zero fish, Vinh caught a 22 inch striped bass and Will Conroy a 15 inch flounder.  Many JPA's on The Belle caught black sea bass but they had to be thrown back just like Vinh's striper because they were not regulation size.  However when it came time to award the fishing prizes, Vinh, Will Conroy's brother, Jennifer and Hung walked away from the invitational with brand new fishing rods from Fishing Fanatics! 

The winner! Wait, where did those stripers come from?

Everyone had a wonderful time fishing in the harbor but this day would not have been possible with out the help of many.  We would like to thank Joe Fallon and Fan Pier for hosting the event and Circle Furniture, Russo Marine and 3A Marine for sponsoring the invitational.  No one would have been able to even get out on the harbor without the different boats and captains that volunteered their Thursday morning to hang out with us - especially Rick and Steve of The Reel Pursuit which I had the privilege to fish on.

But wait, where did those stripers come from?  Sometimes when the biggest fish you catch is a 15 inch flounder, you need to improvise for a group photo.  Thank you Mike Fallon for the stripers! As soon as the photos were taken Tom went to work on fileting the fish.  Who doesn't love fresh fish for dinner?!

Big plans are already in the works for next year.  I will win the invitational.  Mark my word!

Keep on fishing,