Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Why You Shouldn't Be Scared of the Harbor

Every week, as David addresses the new groups who enter into the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, he always asks them the same question. "Raise your hand if you think our harbor is still very dirty". As expected, kids and even counselors will shoot their hands up into the air with a million reasons why our harbor "looks" dirty to them. One of the most common reasons being, "well it's not as clear as the water in Bermuda", or some other tropical island. No surprise there right? They aren't wrong, we don't have see-through water in our harbor. However, that doesn't mean it's necessarily dirty and unsafe to swim in. 

One of my best friends has this same opinion about the ocean. She always claims that the water is "too dirty to go swimming in" or that "I might get attacked by the animals in it" or sometimes, "I can't see the bottom". None of these are valid reasons to avoid Boston Harbor. I would know, considering I swim in it almost every day and catch quite a lot of the animals living in it. Today I will prove to you that there is no reason to fear our harbor or what lives inside it.
Just look at the water!
From Monday to Thursday, I worked at George's Island. I spent each day riding out on the Provincetown II and then fishing off the dock at the island. This week happened to be a very popular week for our crab friends. At the start of each new group we baited the rods with squid and showed them how to properly cast their lines down. Every so often we'd pull up the crab trap and empty out all of the green, spider, and rock crabs into the touch tank. At first, the kids tend to pull away in fear of getting pinched, but once we show them how to hold the crab the right way they begin to get comfortable. Hands start plunging into the tank to pick up a crab and show it off to all the flashing cameras. 
The baby crab was a big hit!
On the boat ride back I always look out over the rail at the water below me. Waves splash up against the boat then fall away into the rest of the ocean. It's beautiful. When you're out in between all of the islands, the sun starts to shine on certain parts of the water giving a clear illusion and a bright, turquoise shade. It may not be Bermuda but it's pretty close. This past week I had a kid ask me if he could jump off the boat into the water. I asked him "why on earth would you want to jump from this high up?" He simply looked at me and said "why not? Look how welcoming the waves are."

Working at Save the Harbor has showed me that Boston's Harbor is beautiful in its own way. There isn't anything to be scared of. Our harbor is beautiful and full of life. None of that life is looking to hurt or scare us. In fact THEY are scared of US. I personally wouldn't want somebody tossing a giant hook into my living room.

Until next time,

Esther's Week 3/ Blacks Creek

Hey everyone!! I’m back with a whole new blog!

Teamed up to catch the crab!
& the winner is....
This little angel right here! ❤
This week I worked in a new site (Blacks Creek). As usual I was excited to see what this site was like and I was wondering how those wonderful kids were like. But also, I a little bit nervous because that was my very first time ever at that site.
At Blacks Creek the kids went to an adventure where they were exploring for creatures. Since they were so excited and competitive,I gave them a challenge which was that the one who find the most creatures would win, would get to keep them in another touch tank. The kids found Hermit Crabs, Snail Crabs, Sea Snail, and Rock Crabs. The winner was a little girl who found 6 Sea snail and around 8 Snail Crabs.

Princess ❤
Also, we can't forget about the little princess who say that exploring is not her type, but yet she decided to construct her own little castles using water and sand as cement and the little buckets as a container of her own model. But hey, we can't forget about the rocks she uses as designs. This little princess spent most of her time perfecting those castle and adding as much details as possible. Few minutes later, her friend introduce the little princess, all the creatures that she caught. At first, the little princess didn't wanted to hold her because she was scared of them. But after she let the the Sea Snail and the Snail Crabs "live" in her castles but with the condition that they had to protect her castles.

Jimmy's Pool!
Reinforcing the walls!!
Beyond explorers and princess, among the kids there was a builder of pools who decided to build one for all he's creatures that he found, but specially for his crabs who he loved the most out of all. With the help of the princess and myself, Jimmy built his pool with the same material that the princess used. As the the pool was coming along, the other kids were getting attract by his creation, that they decided to join us. They all contributed by building the walls or carrying the water. They were all excited and even myself because they all worked together without complaining or arguing. They also give each other a try to do the fun part which was to throw the "magic water" (that's how they called it) to the broken red bucket, making the water flow to the broken part of it.

Wednesday it was a little bit different. Instead of going to the office at 12, we went to Curley Community Center. The receptionist had us walking back and forth trying to figure out where we supposed to give our session. Imagined a huge bucket filled with water and tons of crabs with someone holding it, as that person walks without knowing their destination, under the hot sun. Now, that right there my friend is what I called a tough situation! As the kids finished introducing themselves they grab their nets and searching for grabs and snails. The water was freezing but that didn't stop them from exploring. Getting their clothes wet didn't bother them either. They enjoyed every single time they found a creature. It didn't matter if they had 6, 7, or 10 Sea Snail, They would not stop searching for more and more.

Sea Turtle ❤
On Friday I worked at Constitution Beach. Were we was teaching the kids how to Fish print. Also we brought a Lobster real so that the kids can touch it while we explain some characteristics of the it. There were two things I enjoyed the most. The first one was that when my co-workers went to get the crabs from the Crab Trap, even thought it wasn't a lot, there was 3 perfect size of crabs. A baby crab, medium crab and another medium crab without a claw. The other one was the Sand Ranking. I really enjoyed it because the kids were able to think and demonstrate their skills and art true the art of Sand Raking. They thought of different species and things that can be found in the sea.

Stay tuned for my next blog!! See you later

~ Esther 

E.S W-4 //Black Creeks & Beach Bash Vibes :P

Hey everyone. I’m back with another blog!

This is my second week at Black Creek and it started with a little of rain showers and super humid. Everything was going well, the water was getting nicer as the day passes; it wasn’t muddy anymore. There were a lot of Snail Crabs, Hermit Crabs, Sea Snails and regular Crabs. It was perfect for the kids. Every time they found a creature, it gives them more desire to keep exploring.

After exploring, we all went to play Ga-Ga Ball, but there was a huge problem. There was no ball to play. Ouch! The kids were so disappointed. My coworker decided to put a little bit of fun into it, since we were already there. The game consisted on playing Ga-Ga Ball but with an invisible ball. The kids used to hit that invisible ball so hard, that the ball would bounce back to them as they jumped, so that the ball wouldn’t touch their feets. It was super fun because nobody knew were the ball was. But there was this one person who pretended to know were it was all the time, meaning that everyone had to listen to her in order to know where the ball was and who was out.

The Crabs's Home!
Our last session was only 2 kids that came in. It was so awkward. They didn’t used to talk to each other or even ask questions. There was no Sea Snail, Hermit Crab or regular Crab visible for them to catch.. It was really boring. My co-workers started throwing rocks to the water making them believe that it was a big fish flying "ahahaha". They actually believe it at first because they were smiling at us as they wait for another fish to “fly.” To keep the happy and excited vibes, we all started building a home for the crabs so that in that way they would want to come and visit us soon.

Sand Sculpture ❤ 
At Black Creeks, the kids decided to create 2 islands in the middle of the “sea.” & yes it was in the middle of the sea literally that they create. The kids shaped it with an unique form. They used sand and water to built it. For extra decors (because you know they’re all about that fancy decoration life) they used seaweed as trees and plants, and the little buckets to build sand castles around the edges. After their walls were strong enough, they all worked together to pour water constantly, creating a new home for the Hermit Crabs and the regular Crabs. I must admit, it was the cutest and most detailed piece of sand sculpture I've seen so far. Is the way they took time for every single detail and the way all of the kids contributed with their ideas as they putting it to work. & all of their thoughts were reflected in that amazing sand sculpture. I'm still in shock OMG!! I still can't believe I had the pleasure to lived that moment with them. They made me realize that kids are not just simply "kids." They have the capacity to create wonderful things and think of ideas that not even us who are older would've think of.

❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ Fun Friday ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

Cutest Kitty ❤
Cutest Unicorn ❤
This Friday was my second Beach Bash at Carson Beach and it was amazing. My working site was Face Painting & Tattoos. Unfortunately, we didn’t had any tattoos but it was okay, because we were a group full of talents. As the groups of kids were waiting in line for their turn, we had to keep them busy, so there was a piece of blank paper for them to draw the first thing that comes to mind. So yes, we had a lot going on but we managed it to get the work done. I was surprised of the kids patience as they were getting their face painted because they asked for very specific and details things, it was a little bit challenging but enjoyable at the same time because hey, the kids looked like a Snack (Urban Dictionary) with it lol. Besides the hot day, I can say that every kid had an awesome Beach Bash. They could've been fishing, swimming or even in the touch tank I know they did enjoyed it to the fullest.

Stay tuned for my next blog!!!!!!!

~ Esther

Introduction to Abel Yohannes

Hi, my name is Abel Yohannes and this is my third summer working for Save The Harbor/Save The Bay as a Junior Program Assistant. My first two summers at the Save The Harbor I had tons of fun and learned a lot of new skills, including fishing, fish printing, and sailing. I decided to come back for a third year at Save The Harbor because this is the only summer job where people can spend their day outdoors while having fun and learning new skills and new things about themselves. Since I started working at Save The Harbor as a 15 year old, I have become more responsible and mature. Two somewhat newfound characterstics which my time at Save The Harbor has greatly contributed towards.

Some more about me... I currently attend Newton North High School and I am entering my senior year there. During my free time, I enjoy playing basketball, football, video games, and learning about new things. And most importantly I am very excited for another summer at Save The Harbor/Save The Bay. I look foward to continuing to grow as a JPA and as an indivual, and continuing to become a better version of my current self. The Cost Gaurd presentation during our orientation was also well welcomed and has motivated me to work hard this summer and serve my community. The presentation has also allowed me to explore some interesting and rewarding carrer oppurtunities. All some helpful expierences.

Painting seashells at the 2017 Boston Seafood Festival

Until Next Time,

Moved to Piers Park!

Welcome back blog readers!

Kayaking with kids
     This week has been an exciting change from Blacks Creek to Piers Park! The schedule for Piers Park is a bit more variable: we're at the park on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, but on Tuesdays we go to Courageous Sailing at the Charlestown Navy Yard and on Thursdays we go to Community Boating after lunch. Unlike Blacks Creek, we mostly do fishing at Piers. Generally, the programming consists of lawn games/name games (like capture the flag, everyone's it tag, where the wind blows), then activities on the dock (fishing mainly, with intermittent sailing and kayaking). After a lunch break, we get back together for an activity (e.g. learning about recycling, salinity) and some more dock activities before we pack up and head home.
Teaching kids how to fish

     We caught an assortment of sea life throughout the week at Piers Park. I started out the week catching a spider crab, which kinda looks like a rock with long legs (it looked more like a rock than the rock crab we caught, interestingly enough). On Tuesday we caught a lobster, which up until then I didn't know lobsters could be caught on fishing hooks, but empirical evidence has proven me wrong. The lobster was a keeper, meaning that it was between a minimum and maximum length (these limits are in place to try to make sure lobsters don't go extinct. Young and old lobsters get to live, basically.) Michael let the lobster go after the kids played with it because it was a female lobster and would eventually give birth to more lobsters. Some other animals we caught were rock gunnel, perch, green crabs, a starfish, and minnows.

Rock Gunnel
Rock Crab

     One of my favorite activities this week was teaching kids about refractometers. I'll explain in further detail how refractometers work below but for the kids I gave them a brief lesson on what salinity is and how to read a refractometer. I explained (in simpler terms than I use in this blog) that the number they read on the refractometer corresponds to the amount of salt in the water in a unit called parts per thousand (n molecules of salt in 1000 molecules of water, where n is the value on the refractometer). In order to fully explain refractometers we'll have to go over how refraction works, and how different substances have different values on the refractive index. Basically, the higher the difference in refractive index values two substances have, the more light bends when crossing the border between those substances. It's why objects in water appear closer than they actually are: water has a higher value on the refractive index than water, so light bends towards the observer when crossing the water-air border. The other concept refractometers use is a phenomenon called internal reflection. Internal reflection occurs when light hits the border between substances of differing refractive index values on the side of the higher refractive index value. At an angle called the critical angle, or any angle with a lesser value than the critical angle, light bounces off of the border rather than passing through and refracting. Now that we've gone over refractive indices and internal reflection, we can get back to refractometers. Refractometers bounce and refract light in such a way that slight differences in water samples, like salinity, will refract water and change the angle that the light is approaching to an angle less then the critical angle, creating internal reflection. This is what creates the different areas in the lens of the refractometer: the blue and white areas that, when you look at the border between them, give you a numerical value for the salinity of the sample in ppt.

Image result for refraction
Visual representation of refraction
I love working at Piers Park. It's such a great change of pace from Blacks Creek, and a much easier commute as well (Wonderland -> Maverick rather than Wonderland -> State -> Downtown -> North Quincy). The activities are varied enough to be interesting, but not so much that there's nothing to get used to. I can take some kids kayaking if I need some exercising, or I can help kids fish if I want to teach them stuff. I get to see 3 different sites working with the Piers Park group (Piers Park, Courageous Sailing, and Community Boating Institute) and everyone I worked with this week have been fantastic. I'm thankful that I'm working at Piers next week as well.

Song of the week: La Di Da by The Internet

See you in the next blog!
~Colin McRae

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Having fun with marshmallow!

Hey Everyone,

      So glad to be back and talk to you about how my week is going and fill you in on everything that’s been happening. So this weekend I went to an event at Constitution beach where we fish printed and talked to kids about the stinky flounder which is a hobby (in all honesty). As the day continued my friend Jordon and I walked around the different stations set up as I advertised the beautiful t-shirt with a fish print.

     Later on that day, we came across a station dog named Marshmallow who had an amazing background. She always wears blue so people confuse her as a boy and the reason behind her always wearing blue is because she is as white as that strip that Elsa, from Frozen, had in her hair. Marshmallow made the event so much more lively for the kids and even us, the Save the Harbor staff.

My girl Marshmallow and I.

      The week began at Piers Park with the usual Captain’s Coming and Everybody’s It tag which always helps to wake us up in the morning. Then we went to the dock and played Kidz Bop music and enjoyed fishing with the kids and creating bonds with them. As the day went on many of the kids found moon jellies and it filled up an entire bucket which was really cool. PS.. moon jellies are my favorite!

     Also, throughout the week I finally held a lobster which was really cool because I aways felt a little creeped out by them but this one was a girl and I could tell she was scared because she flapped like a mermaid would. The boys were so excited when Johnny caught a green crab and he was so happy to show it off. Then Stanley and I had a little water game going on with the kids that left us soaked but totally worth it in the end.

Johnny's first time catching a Green Crab.

    It was sad to realize it’d most likely be my last week with the original Piers Park crew but there’s always time to reconnect and see how we’ve all grown. I’ve truly grown a bond with Stanley, Jordon and Michael. I can’t wait to create many more bonds with the rest of the staff.

See you guys later,
Nieomi Colon

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Rainy Week? We Still Had Fun!

Hi everyone,

Kharliyah shining bright as always!
Today was a crazy week since the weather was inconsistent. Monday, we led another trip to Spectacle Island with one of our Share the Harbor cruises. This time, David was able to join us, and kept the crew, SHSB staff, and visiting guests entertained with his dad jokes and funny comments. Tuesday and Wednesday were both spent at Georges Island for All Access, where we fished and explored the Dark Tunnel with visitors.

Catching crabs!
BCYF Jackson Mann at the Pop Up!
At one point, I went over to the Dark Tunnel to take some photos for our Instagram account, and a group of young kids, all around the age of 4 or 5, were psyching themselves up. They were all interested in exploring the Dark Tunnel, but were extremely nervous about the possibility of seeing the Lady in Black. David and I both told them there was nothing to worry about, but they were still nervous. So we each grabbed the hands of a couple kids, encouraged them to grab the hands of their friends, and then slowly walked through the tunnel together. Screeching the entire time, the kids giggled and slowly moved through the damp, wet darkness. A couple ended up running back to the beginning--where their counselor waited. Seven of the children made it through to the end, and were extremely proud of themselves for doing so. They jumped up and down with excitement. It was great to see their happiness!

On Thursday, there was a high chance of rain, so All Access was canceled. The AABH team headed over to our Pop Up Museum on Causeway Street. We set up stations for fish printing, sand raking, coloring, and fishing outside on the nearby bridge. Two groups showed up--YES and BCYF Jackson Mann. It was a fairly calm day with only about twenty or so visitors hanging out with us. Jackson Mann had only five small children, all pre-school aged. We sang the Cookie Jar song together, wrote postcards for family members on our Boston Harbor colorable postcards, and overall, had a great time.

Fish printing together!
Almost halfway through the summer, I really appreciate the fact that I'm starting to recognize more and more faces at every event we host. We see a lot of familiar faces on All Access cruises, since many groups come more than once. Keri Ann, the leader from Jackson Mann, has begun to call me by name. It's really nice to see her again, and to be able to greet each other with recognition. On Friday, during our Beach Bash on Carson Beach, I saw her again, which was a lovely surprise! I'm really starting to get a good sense of the youth groups and programs throughout the Boston area, and I love seeing the same faces--children and chaperones--during our events! I saw Ivan, a kid who was with us at the Pop Up, at the Beach Bash, too. He was very sweet and excited to hang out with us again.

Despite the occasionally lousy weather, we had a lot of fun this week!

See you soon,

Friday, July 27, 2018

Charlayne Murrell-Smith - Any Job You Can Name

On Thursday, July 27, Charlayne Murrell-Smith, Vice President of External Relations & Corporate Development at the Boston Children's Museum invite Save the Harbor's youth staff to the museum for a conversation as part of our Youth Jobs and Leadership Development Initiative. Charlayne was the second in our Save the Harbor Leaders Speakers Series - throughout the summer, leaders who have built successful careers in business, science, transportation, government, construction, and other sectors in and around Boston join our youth staff to share their experience and introduce us to a variety of career options across many industries.

Though currently a leader at a major non-profit organization, Charlayne emphasized that her career path had been anything but linear. Beginning as a public school guidance counselor, she also worked in radio, public affairs consulting, and for the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. Though it may sound unusual, this story echoed that of our first speaker, Captain Claudia Gelzer, who began her career as a reporter before becoming a leader in the Coast Guard.

Charlayne Murrell-Smith meets with the 2018 Summer Program Staff

Charlayne talked to the youth in our program about the nature of her work fundraising from the corporate sector to support the Children's Museum's work. Much like her work in public and community affairs in the past, most of this work comes down to building relationships. Though it may seem straightforward, some of her efforts take years to yield results, and you never know where you will find the newest person in your network. And though anyone can learn to do what she does, it helps if you are naturally inclined to want to meet new people, start conversations and enjoy networking.

But Charlayne also spoke about the wide array of opportunity available not only at the Children's Museum, but in any company or industry you might find yourself in. "Almost any job you can name, we have at the Children's Museum", she said. "We build our own exhibits at an offsite design and production facility. These are carpenters and designers who can interpret a concept and build it to hold up to thousands of kids playing with it." They also have a NASA engineer who felt it was more important to teach the next generation. 

"What's the most rewarding and difficult parts of your job?", asked one of the youth Junior Program Assistants. "I can see a direct relationship between the work I do and the impact of the results". It may take years in some cases, but from the park construction next door, to seeing thousands of people a day in the museum, she knows she is making a difference. 

Thanks so much to Charlayne Murrell-Smith for joining us at the end of a busy and stormy day. Our staff was very inspired by her path, as well as the fact that BCM is a place that is always looking for new and enthusiastic staff.  As one of our oldest site partners - Save the Harbor programs daily at the Children's Museum's pier - it was great to spend time learning about the other side of the Children's Museum's operations.

Thanks to our Youth Environmental Education Program funding partners for making this speaker series possible as part of our Youth Jobs and Leadership Development Initiative.
#speakerseries #youthjobsandleadershipdevelopment

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Crabs, fishing, sports, cheaters, and LOBSTAH

Well, I would not expect any more of a great week here at Save the Harbor. All Access took place at Spectacle Island, and I didn't expect so many sports all in one day! We had a lot of groups come out to AABH, and they played a wide variety of games. At first, they took a lesson with the ranger. They learned about the different islands, and their locations, and then wrote a quick journal. After that, as more groups came in, we started with a game of soccer. The rotation continued, but this time they wanted to play football, kickball, catch, uno, and much more. There were cones, balls, bases, and smiles everywhere!

Also at AABH, we had a great time at fishing. Many kids held their first crab, spider or green. Some kids were absolute experts at fishing. They knew which bait would statistically get more fish, and one boy said his favorite is the sea worm. He brought his own rod, and even taught me when and how to jig the rod. Unfortunately we did not catch any fish at Spectacle, but we did swim! David chased me into the water cause I did not have a change of clothes, but the water was so refreshing it was so worth it!

That Friday, I went back to CHV. Fridays at CHV are so fun because there is a cookout. However this Friday was more special because in our first group we caught a pretty big lobster! I never ever held a lobster, and it was a really fun experience that I got to share with the LITs and campers. The touchtank was packed. Two really big spider crabs, many other species of crabs, and Jules almost caught another lobster, on the fishing rod! We enjoyed our time with burgers and hot dogs, and I tried to eat as much as Dexter, but I just could not compete.

Now we are back at Georges island, where I encountered the same BASE group. The young boy named Jackson charged at me shouting "CHEATER", and challenged me and Ashley to another game of kickball. Patrice and Kharliyah needed help at fishing and I came down to help my team. We had some fun teaching the kids how to fish, and packed up to end a great week!

Catch ya next week!
Qalid Hassan

Four Out of Five Times this Week!

Hello Everyone!

Another week has passed at Save the Harbor. It was a typical week here with the different sites except one. This week All Access added an extra day on to its weekly trips to the Boston Harbor Islands. Instead of it being only on Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursday, we also hold occasional Share the Harbor cruises on Mondays--a program that allows the general public to visit Georges and/or Spectacle with us. This would mean that the All Access team is going out to the islands more often.

On Monday it was kind of weird going to the harbor islands. The whole day, I thought it was Tuesday, but then reality hit me with the fact that it was Monday from time to time. Monday was also the last time we went to Georges Island for the week. Even though I love Georges Island, I was really excited to go to Spectacle Island. Even though Spectacle doesn't have a scary tunnel to stay cool in, people are allowed to swim there which is, in my opinion, better.

On Tuesday, I woke up in the morning waiting ready for my day at Spectacle. I packed my swim suit and a towel and headed out the house. I was so excited and was ready to jump into the water. Once I got to the Save the Harbor work space, I walked into the conference room with my coworkers in it  saying "Are you guys ready to swim today?" They looked confused. Kaya, the SHE for All Access then said that the All Access trip was canceled because of the incoming storms. At that moment all the excitement that I had for the trip was gone. For the rest of the day, we helped out one the camp groups that didn't know that the trip was canceled and taught them how to fish. There wasn't that much going on there until the last couple of minutes of their session. I was helping one of the kids reel up her rod and I notice that something was biting on it. It was hard reeling it up and I thought it got stuck. I take one look over the fence and I saw an eel on the end of the line. The little girl yelled "We got something!!" and some kids ran over asking what I caught. Right when I got it just beyond the surface level of the water, it took the bait and hook off the line...

Wednesday was officially the first day of going to Spectacle Island and it was amazing. First of all, it was really hot and humid so taking a dip into the water felt so nice after standing in the hot sun. Second of all we caught a lot of crabs using the fishing rods. This is awesome because the people using the rods could feel the excitement of reeling something up instead just standing on the dock and not really catching anything. All in all, Wednesday was the most exciting day out of the whole week. Thursday was the same thing routine, but more cold. So taking that nice dip into the water wasn't so nice.

Friday was the day that most of the All Access crew was at Atlantic Wharf. There was a similar event that happened earlier this year with Atlantic Wharf with a few groups of kids coming down. The only difference between that event and this was that this one was outside and in the warm sun and the other one happened indoors. This event had crab traps, fishing, fish printing and stories told by Tony the Pirate. The event was great with the Save the Harbor staff over at the Children's Museum lending us a Striped Bass for the campers and staff to look at. At the end of the day, we had lunch from Boloco, and called it a day. This week was different with us planning to go to the islands four times a week and me experiencing All Access being canceled for the first time. However, I think I will be experiencing more changes through the summer and when they come, I think I'll be more prepared for them.

See you guys on the harbor!

Annual Revere Beach Sand Sculpting Festival

Hi beach-goers!

This weekend on July 20th to the 22nd was the 15th annual Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival. We were lucky enough to join dozens of vendors and organizations along the beach on a beautifully sunny day!

We met in the morning next to one of the main pavilions, and set up our table for fish printing. Throughout the first few hours, a couple hundred people stopped to see what we were doing. Many were confused by the real flounder, and we faced many bewildered faces and comments of "What? That's a REAL flounder? You're using it to make ART?" Occasionally, we would get an enthusiastic child who thought the flounder was incredibly cool, and would want to pet it.

3 sisters fish printing!
By the early afternoon, our poor flounder became hot and sticky under the warm sun, and its insides began to leak... We swapped over to our second frozen flounder, but unfortunately, he too began to fall apart. While we may not have been as exciting as some of the other booths that were giving away free gift cards to Amazon or Whole Foods, many children and families were excited that we were providing interactive artwork with fish (something super unique!) for free! Some visitors made fish prints on rice paper--although this started to get tricky towards the end because the paper was so delicate! Others printed on shirts, which turned out really cool!

What a great event! So many people were eager to see how we made art with fish, and were also impressed that the flounder was real. Three sisters came in matching outfits, and were so cute as they fish printed together. To everyone that joined us--thanks for coming! Hopefully we'll see you at the next event.

Kaya + the fish printing team

We found a horseshoe crab!

Welcome back blog readers!

     This week started out strong with a rare Horseshoe crab encounter, my first time ever seeing one alive. At first we thought the crab was a rock, but when it started moving we quickly scooped it up and brought it over to the touch tank. The crab was roughly the size of a dinner plate but with more of a pointed oval shape ending in a long, straight tail. As Eric held the crab at a full arm's length, some sort of sticky, viscous, black sludge dripped from the crab's back. There was so much sludge that the water in the touch tank immediately clouded up with the addition of the horseshoe crab. I still don't know what the... residue was, but I'm just glad I wasn't the one holding the crab. Apart from the obvious facts, nobody really knew much about horseshoe crabs, so the next paragraph is devoted to the research I conducted after work.
Briana and Ariagnna with the horseshoe crab
Helping the kids hold crabs. I'm in the white hat

     Despite masquerading as crustaceans, horseshoe crabs are actually arthropods, meaning that they are invertebrates with exoskeletons, a segmented body, and paired jointed appendages. It also means that they are more closely related to spiders and scorpions then they are to crabs (interesting note: horseshoe crabs are the closest living relatives to an extinct species of water scorpion). They are considered as living fossils due to the longevity of the species and lack of close relatives, genealogically speaking. Horseshoe crabs have NINE EYES. Yeah. Nine. They also swim upside-down, and have two eyes on their underside so make it easier. Honestly, these things belong on a different planet. As a last fun fact, horseshoe crab blood is used medicinally to test for bacterial infections.
Diagram of eye locations
Underbelly of a horseshoe crab

     Wednesday we visited Curley Community Center at Carson Beach, which was my first time going to a public beach in Boston. As we walked out of the beach building and onto the sand, we were greeted by more than a dozen wild, jumping, crazy kids. After everyone was calmed down, we set up our rods and baited them, then split the kids up into groups. It took a few minutes for the kids to learn the basics, but soon enough all of the kids were casting without getting close to hitting people (it's the little victories, y'know?) It's amazing how even casting and reeling is exciting for kids, even if they don't catch anything. 

     Thursday was my last day at Blacks Creek, at least for a while: I'm moving locations for the next two weeks, and part of me is glad because in my mind, change is always welcome. I'll miss the campers though, and I had finally learned all of their names. I think Blacks Creek is the perfect introduction site to working with Save the Harbor because the skills are easy to pick up even if you don't have experience (for example, I had never held or caught a crab before, but now I'm pretty good at it.) I'll also miss working with the Blacks Creek regulars: Eric, Briana, and Ariagnna.  I'm looking forward to my next site!

This week marks the first iteration of my song of the week! This will consist of songs I listen to on my commute that I think people will enjoy. I'll try to pick from different genres, but no guarantees there.

Song of the week: King of the Clouds by Panic! At The Disco

     See you in the next blog!


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Fun had on the Harbor!

            As we near the midpoint of our summer with Save The Harbor, we continue to have fun at Piers Park, Courageous Sailing, and Community Boating Inc. 
Posing with the Piers Park lobster
            Although no fish have been pulled in on the lines at Piers Park, a great abundance of invertebrates have been reeled in. We got to see our second legal sized lobster of the summer after one of the harbor explorers managed to bring one onto the dock. This individual was a female, so we released her back into the harbor to make more lobsters for future generations to enjoy. Crabs have been the most abundantly caught creature on the fishing rods, with green crabs being the most common, with the occasional rock and spider crab. Often times the crabs will make their escape before being swung onto the dock, much to the dismay of the kids. The crab and minnow traps produced the usual additions to the touch tank, including green crabs, cunner, and rock gunnels. However, we added a sculpin to the lists of species caught this week. A Forbes sea star was found in the rocks and drew the attention of many of the kids.
Discussing Salinity 
            Things have been going well at Courageous sailing too. A sculpin was also caught in the crab trap at Courageous accompanied by cunner and green crabs. Fishing only managed to catch  the usual
green crabs which were still exciting to see. We did salinity stations one week which allowed us to explain how the Charles River empties into the harbor via lochs close to where the sailing center is. We taught them how the addition of more freshwater to saltwater would lower the salt content. The next week, while on the floating dock, we got to see the result of the Charles River lochs being opened when a dead largemouth bass floated over to where we were fishing. Our time was cut short on Tuesday at Courageous when a mean looking storm system made its way to us. 
            At CBI, we continued to teach more about the river and harbor ecosystems. We created a harbor themed jeopardy game and played it with the environmental science class at CBI. This not
Talking about sunfish
only tested the knowledge of the kids, but it also allowed them to learn more about their local environment and how to better protect it. We also led an environmental science themed nature walk around the CBI property. Pulling up an eel trap produced a juvenile largemouth bass which gave us the opportunity to teach about the food chain present in a river ecosystem. A pair of sunfish nests allowed us to talk about behavior of breeding fish. While on our nature walk there was a passionate discussion about how we are damaging our environment and what steps we can take as a society to resolve this. 
            This past week I had the opportunity to work a beach event at Constitution Beach in East Boston. We brought a couple of flounder with us and set up a station for fish printing. Many kids came over to create art and talk about the flounder along with many other organisms in and around the harbor. 
            It has been a great couple of weeks so far with Save the Harbor! Although I will be gone next week, I’ll be excited to get back and see what that week holds!

An Interest in the Harbor Brings Kids Together

One of the main reasons I took this job is because I wanted to play an active role in public education. As stated in my introduction blog, in the future I hope to work for a non-profit organization that does similar work to Save the Harbor/Save the Bay but regarding mental health and mental health awareness. I want to provide programs that educate and provide resources to the public about mental health. Save the Harbor/Save the Bay does very similar work, just with the harbor. I like being able to play an active role in connecting young minds with the harbor, a body of water that has been around long before them and will exist long after them, as well. So far, this summer has proven very rewarding.

One thing I love and appreciate about the Boston Children's Museum site is that the kids who come to visit us have a genuine interest in fishing or looking at the creatures, most often crabs, in our touch tank. Our site is operated right outside of the museum doors so kids can come by whenever they want! We get kids who want to visit us before they go into the museum, during the middle of their visit at the museum, or after their visit. Additionally, our central location on the channel allows us to attract a lot of other kids who are passing by on their way to other programs or locations, such as the Boston Tea Party Museum.

A ton of the kids we get live somewhere in the Massachusetts area; however, the other day we got a family of three that were visiting Boston all the way from Germany. The mother spoke English, but the two boys (approximately 4 years old and 7 years old) did not. I saw the eldest boy was looking at the ball I was bouncing while the younger boy was looking at the touch tank. Soon enough, we were all playing with the ball. I found it a particularly fun moment because we did not need to know the same language to have fun and play games. Every once in a while they would run to the touch tank when something caught their eye and then come back and play.

Earlier this week we also had a young boy had had down syndrome. His mom was watching him closely, but even then he managed to run away (mind you, she had two other boys to look after) to the touch tank or a fishing pole several times. At one point, he saw his other brother fishing and wanted to do the same. He also wanted to touch all the crabs! He was very curious, and it made me so happy to see him so happy. He even had to be pulled away by his mother because they had to go and he wanted to stay.

Something else I love about the site at the Boston Children's Museum is the wide age range that comes to see us. We get kids as old has 15 and as young as two years old. We had a sweet two years old come with his older brother and mother this week, and he was so curious about fishing! He was not really interested in the touch tank. Instead, he kept walking up to fishing poles. He would stand next to them until his mom said it was okay and I helped him old the rod, drop the line, and reel it back in. He was absolutely fascinated by it! Watch out, everyone. This kid is gonna be a big time fisherman when he grows up!

I have loved my time at the Boston Children's Museum so far and cannot wait to see what the rest of the summer has in store.

Sea you later,
Ellen Mazzone

Making strides

First Striper of the day
This week I was At Camp Harbor View for the first time this summer and it was exciting to be back on the campus again since being a camper last, in 2011. Lots of new faces and some familiar ones as well but I got to meet those who were new as well as connect with most who were new. I like that they took care of us on the boat ride there with free breakfast and fruits and a lunch during the day, so that was cool. During the week I bounced around from a variety of cites but Friday was a good day as I caught my first fish of the summer and boy was it cool.

As soon as we got off the Provincetown Boat and baited the rods, I chose to cast all the rods out before the campers to see what cool things we could catch to show them upon their fishing club. Meanwhile I was casting out the other rods I noticed the rod almost go airborne over the rail. The combination of the wind and the waves I didn't believe there was anything on the hook besides a huge rock at the bottom of the harbor until I railed it up and seen it was a striper. The first cast of the day at 9:45 in the morning and that was certainly a good way to kickstart the day but finish off the week.

Finding Asian Shore crab

Earlier in the week while on all access,  the kids were all excited about the dark tunnel and they were pumped to experience it with me. After hearing stories about how I screamed and terrified of the dark, they thought they could covience me into going in. The whole boat ride we talked and guess each others birthdays but unfortunately I wasn't able to spend the day with them once at the island. On the boat ride back  they were bummed they didnt get the chance to hang out with me as much but was understanding of what I do for work. That mad me feel good at least because then I know I didnt disappoint them entirely. all the kids seemed to love the blue kickball I always carry around because im outgoing and engage with them while using the ball to play games. I had a awesome week at all the sites and I am excited to see more new faces throughout the course of the summer. 

The heat will and can take a toll on you mentally and physically so it is important to stay hydrated and fueled with energy. I made sure I was active on the boat ride both, to and from the island; providing children and adults with cups of water provided by the boat. The summer is coming together and I like it, I like what we continue to accomplish on the different sites and the people who work tirelessly in the background to provide us and the families with the opportunity to be on the harbor. 

Sea ya next time!!

Week Two at Camp Harbor View

Hey Everyone!

This week was so much fun! I got to work at a new site, Camp Harbor View, and I absolutely loved it! Long Island is so beautiful and has so many activities for the kids to enjoy, including biking, kayaking, and of course, fishing!

We were placed by the pier and were teaching kids how to fish and let them play with the touch tank. We caught a lot of crabs and some lobsters in the traps we had set up and the kids were so excited to play with them! At first, most of the kids were scared, but they would ease up to them and pick up the crabs and the lobsters all by themselves. We also caught a lot of skates on the fishing rods, which was really cool, since I had never seen one in real life up to then.

This weekend, I had the chance to be a part of the Better Beaches event over at Winthrop Beach. We helped children fish print and they played with the crabs in the touch tank. But the event had much more! There were acrobats performing stunts and bouncy houses for the kids to enjoy, so the beach was an extra place to be that Saturday. Plus, as Eric, another junior program assistant, and I browsed the shore for shells, we found an intact moon jelly. We placed it in a touch tank because we thought it would be fun for the kids to feel and hold a moon jelly and learn about yet another creature that lives in our Harbor...and we were right! They loved feeling the moon jelly, which was described as a "water balloon", and they were surprised by how harmless they are since they have no stingers. It was a very fun beach day and I'm happy to have been a part of it.

Can't wait to blog about next week's adventures!
Moon Jelly, Eric, and I

Back Again on Boston Harbor!

Hey everyone,
      I’m Nieomi Colon and I’m so glad to be back out in the harbor for my 3rd year. It’s always so fun to get together with my friends. Well I’m 18 years old and this fall I will be attending Lesley University, majoring in Early Education. I’m pretty nervous but it’s a beautiful step into the next chapter of my life. My favorite artist in Jhen√© Aiko and favorite song by her is Promises.

      I’d like to say I’m the great mixture of an introvert and extrovert. My fear is meeting new people while I love engaging in new conversations. My goal for this summer is the same as usual, enjoy summer with the kids and be happy. Like Bruce said, “You only have fun if you let yourself have fun." Last year was great but I would like to see more growth mentally and physically and continue to educate the children that visit our diverse sites.

      I’m truly blessed to be back at Save the Harbor/ Save the Bay. I meet amazing people who truly become my family, it’s something not a lot of people are given and I’ll always be thankful.

    During orientation I met a lot of nice people which was rare of me to talk first but we all went out fishing into the harbor and boy did I miss the smell of the fish. It felt nothing had changed when I would tell jokes with Eric and laughed like crazy with Kharliyah. The longer I spent at Save the Harbor, the more welcomed I feel.
great representation of who i am and my friend, eric.
   Glad to be back out with my amazing co-workers, it's always a pleasure!

See you soon,
Nieomi Colon