Sunday, August 12, 2018

David Coffin's Wonderful World (a.k.a. The Harbor)

Welcome back blog readers!

Teaching a family about crabs
   I started this week working outside the Children's Museum teaching kids how to fish and some basic information about crabs. Unlike some other sites, we don't have a consistent set of kids to teach, but rather a somewhat constant stream of passerby's and kids who just came out of the museum. As such, I get to meet lots of new people. We had a disproportionate amount of Philly's fans due to the game that night, and baseball fans are almost always fun to talk to. About halfway through our post-lunch shift, a photographer from the Boston Globe stopped by to take pictures of the kids fishing and learn about the program. I can proudly say that both my right arm and my (unidentifiable) nametag made it into the Globe! In all seriousness though, any exposure our programs get helps keep the programs free and the harbor clean.

     For Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I was stationed at All Access Boating. This is the most sought-after site among JPA's, and for good reason. It's a ton of fun. We start each morning collecting supplies and heading over to the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion to sign in and lead each group of kids over to the seating area where David Coffin, the Harbor Historian of the All Access program. He gives a wonderful speech every morning to the hundreds of kids that participate in the program about the cleaning of the harbor and the history of spectacle island (which I will include and elaborate on in the next paragraph) and the role of Deer Island, which is currently a waste processing plant. After David's speech, we head over to the ferry and sail to Spectacle Island. Upon arrival, the kids have a few options, including fishing (provided by us), sports (also provided by us), hiking, and swimming. I worked the sports station on Tuesday and Thursday, which was a lot of fun when 3 kids showed up with a soccer ball and I joined them for some 2-on-2 action. Fishing was very popular on Wednesday when I worked at that station, and our best catch that day was a huge spider crab. It hardly fit in the touch tank we brought, and was a big hit for all of the kids.

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Infographic on glacial drumlin formation
     David's favorite piece of harbor history (as far as I could tell) was Spectacle Island, the poster child of the harbor clean up effort. Originally, the island was a pair of drumlins (hill-islands with elongated ends to form a slanted shape, formed by glaciers) but was turned into a large-scale garbage dump used by over 40 local communities for dozens of years. In that time more and more trash blew into the harbor, worsening the national embarrassment that was the Boston Harbor. After a major push to clean the harbor, a solution was proposed: burn the trash on spectacle island, and cover it up with the excess dirt from the Big Dig. It was a fantastic solution in every way: it facilitated the cleaning of the harbor, created a need for the dirt displaced by the Big Dig, and created a public park. Another piece of island history David made sure to include in every speech was Deer island. At the same time that Spectacle Island trash was blowing into the harbor, Boston and local communities pumped their sewage into the harbor. To combat this problem, Deer Island was transformed into one of the largest sewage treatment plants in the nation. As an interesting note, most waste is sent to Quincy after treatment for processing to become fertilizer, helping to grow Florida oranges. Your morning OJ comes from your poop, people.

     On Friday instead of being at the Children's Museum, I was across the channel at the Atlantic Wharf site, which means I only need to be at Camp Harborview once this summer to have worked at every site Save the Harbor gives free programming to. We taught kids how to fish and how to make fish prints, and helped them make a mural about Atlantic Wharf. My favorite kid on Friday was a girl named Madeline who, after learning how to fish, explained the finer details of Teen Titans Go while waiting for a bite on her line. I loved the old Teen Titans show as a kid, so it was a lot of fun to hear a kid loving a modern version of a show I loved. The kids didn't have much luck catching anything on the line, as only one kid pulled something up and it was just a green crab. Our real catch of the day was while we were cleaning up the crab trap. We pulled up the BIGGEST lobster I have ever seen. Luckily the kids hadn't left yet, so we had lots of fun holding it and figuring out if it was a keeper or not (it ended up being too big to keep). It's crusher claw was the size of my hand! Brianna was a bit disappointed that she couldn't keep it as a free dinner, but putting it back will just result in more lobsters in the future.
Brianna's (almost) dinner

Next week will be a fun week because the fishing derby is next week! I'm not too good at fishing, but wish me luck!

Song of the week: Oh Love by Misterwives (this one's going on my workout playlist)

See you in the next blog!

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