Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Learning the Ropes

Welcome back!
This week (and possibly future weeks) I was stationed at Blacks Creek down in Quincy. Our job was to work with councillors from the Quincy Recreational Department to teach kids about the animals that live in the harbor and where they can find them. It's got a pretty basic structure, with two sessions of kids to teach: session 1 arrives at 9:00 and stays until 10:30, which is when session 2 starts and then ends at 12:00. Most sessions have between 10 and 25 kids, with some exceptions (one of our sessions on Monday had 4 kids.) During each session the kids would introduce themselves, and then we'd help them explore the beach. They'd all take nets and try their luck at catching minnows and crabs and periwinkles. Most of the time, we wouldn't find anything, but occasionally somebody caught a baby crab or a few minnows. So, after failing to catch much sea life and after some explanation about various aspects of the sea life in Quincy, we headed up to a nearby field where we played a game the kids called "Ga Ga Ball." (This is a game I vaguely remember playing during recess in middle school. It's like reverse soccer mixed with volleyball: you're thrown into an octagonal ring and have to defend yourself against small children trying to hit a kickball with their hands into your shins.)

Day 2 is where the activities got more interesting, thanks to a crab trap we brought that day. We baited the crab trap with hot dogs (go figure) and then resumed normal activities. Before we pulled the trap up we let kids search the water for animals, and one kid named Nate found several crabs and a shrimp (he was our star catcher for the day). After being taught how to pick up the crabs the kids eagerly followed us to our crab trap, where they learned how crabs are lured by the smell of bait only to drop into the trap and have no way out.
Crab Trap
     The crab trap was a huge hit with the kids, and they learned how to tell the difference between a male and a female crab (shape of the triangle on their belly) and how some crabs lose limbs in territorial fights (this made for some easy crab-holding for the kids). After the kids played with the crabs for a bit, we started a crab race. Kids got in pairs and picked a crab, and everyone put their crab down on the start line and let go at the same time. The race was slow going, but we did have a few winners before we decided to pick up the crabs and put them in the water to prevent them from overheating. 
Crab Races

Ga Ga Ball

Kids touching crabs

Close-up of touch tank

     So far I'm loving working with Save the Harbor. I get to be outside, with kids, and have my feet in the water. Looking forward to the next few days!

See you in the next blog!

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