It’s hard to believe that I’ve been here at Chewonki for three weeks. On one hand, it seems like I arrived just yesterday, but on the other hand, Chewonki has become such a comfortable place that I feel like I have been here forever. Each week presents something new and exciting, and this week it was the science field trip. We went to Hermit Island to study the rocky intertidal zone. We spent our afternoon on the promontory that jutted our from the beach.
As we trekked across the rocks with our water boots on, we would proudly point out the plants we could name from other field trips. I remember sitting down and looking out at the Atlantic ocean. The expanse of blue water seemed endless; the enormity of it overwhelmed me. However, we were not focused on the ocean, rather the rocks and tidal pools.
Even though we had to do three species accounts, we had so much time to explore the marine life and rocks. Everyone was so excited; they ran from tidal pool to tidal pool offering exclamations as they came across a sea star or crab. It is so nice to be in a place where everyone is enthusiastic about learning and discovering their environment. My whole life I’ve known about barnacles and mussels, but I had never realized the subtle differences between the species of barnacles, just like I hadn’t realized how different types of algae are better suited for certain parts of the rocks. We were all wading through the tide pools, trying not to upset the environment, but eager to see all we could. It was so interesting to see the species that existed towards the top of the rocks compared to the ones that existed toward the bottom. In a lot of ways I was surprised at how the species could survive in such changing conditions; sometimes they are fully submerged by water and other times there is no water covering them at all. But then again, the ability to adapt and evolve is one that all species have, which I have seen through the adapting and evolving I’ve had to do here at Chewonki. It’s been such a big change from my school in New York City, but I know that I am so fortunate to be able to spend my Thursday afternoon on the shore looking out at a beautiful ocean with my classmates as we learn about the world around us.
-Natalie Haim, New York, NY