The Neighbor News of New Jersey just published a nice article about our niece Sarah Markwood, a high-school freshman who is already envisioning a career as a marine biologist. Sarah spent two weeks of her summer at an oceanography camp in Seal Harbor. Here's the story:
Diving deep into oceanography
BY LISA KINTISH NEIGHBOR NEWS (MONTVILLE EDITION)
As a little girl, Sarah Markwood came across a starfish that had washed ashore during high tide. Unlike many children who would have kept the sea creature as a souvenir, the Montville Township resident returned it to the ocean.
With this seemingly small act, Sarah, who is now a freshman at Montville Township High School, became interested in ocean preservation. This summer she delved deeper into the subject matter by spending two weeks at Acadia Institute of Oceanography in Seal Harbor, Maine, studying oceanography and basic marine concepts.
The camp is located very near to where Sarah first became enamored of the ocean. For generations, her family has been spending summers in nearby Trenton, ME, in a cottage built in 1934 by Sarah’s great-grandfather.
Along with 45 other students, Sarah enjoyed lessons that included hands-on learning.
She said, "The classes never felt like actual classes. We were always having fun. We learned about all different types of things in all different ways; we weren’t just sitting there all day listening to lectures or taking notes from a slide show. We studied everything to do with the oceans. Nothing was left out. The majority of our time was spent by or in the water. We tried to go out and study at all times possible."
She continued, "We took different trips around the area. We went together on the Bar Harbor Whale Watch. During this trip, we saw three different whales. They were all humpback whales, which are common in the area during the summer months. We also took short trips to Echo Lake, Sand Beach, and Seal Harbor Beach. At camp there were 10 gallon tanks in the lab.
Those held creatures that we collected from Seal Harbor Beach and pier. All of us had mussels, algae, periwinkles (a type of snail), barnacles, and starfish. Most of us had crabs and little fish as well. At the conclusion of the camp, we released the creatures back into the ocean."
Already, Sarah has a spot reserved for her in the advanced session for next August. Meanwhile, the lessons learned this summer will go a long way. The camp has inspired Sarah to think ahead towards a career as a marine biologist and in the short term could help with some of her high school classes.
As she noted, "The ocean interacts and interferes with many different things."
Besides the excitement of learning new things, this summer’s experiences were enhanced by the people Sarah met. As for how the camp has impacted the teen, Sarah said, "I’ve taken away the fact that everything we do affects the ocean in some way, shape or form. This makes me want to help the environment even more."