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Thomas Harten's picture

As I had mentioned in one of my earlier journal entries, I had to miss one of the summer center programs that I normally teach since the session got underway right around the time that I needed to leave for the Pribilofs. The participants in the Maryland Summer Center for Aquatic Research demonstrate a strong interest in environmental science and go on to develop final projects about their summer research that are top-notch.

On St. Paul Island I had a chance to meet up with students participating in a similar program with a focus on the marine science of the Pribilofs. The students ranged in age from 10-17 years old and spent about a week exploring the tide pools, salt lagoon, and the general ecology of the island. The camp is timed in part, to coincide with the subsistence seal harvest that takes place each summer and provides the islanders with seal meat for much of the year. The students have a chance to participate in the harvest which is an important part of the local culture and helps to connect the generations of Priblovians when it commences each summer.

One evening I paid the St. Paul students a visit to talk to them about our Maryland Summer Center program and present a video produced by the participants in our 2009 session. Since Calvert County Maryland is well known for its fossil deposits, I also brought an assortment of fossil shark teeth and a guide to their identification. The students had a chance to try their hand at tooth identification and did an excellent job of keying out the snaggletooth, tiger, sand tiger, mako, and requiem shark teeth that composed the collection.

Since the students seemed to enjoy watching the video of our summer center program, I thought that they would perhaps like to share what they liked the best about their own summer camp program. The video below is a collection of their responses to my questions about their camp experience. The students talk about the highlights of their program including what they learned and did during the seal harvest and during their ecology studies of St. Paul Island.

Thanks to camp director, Michelle Ridgway for inviting me to visit with the St. Paul Island Marine Science Camp!