Resupplying our backcountry expeditions is most definitely my favorite summer work task. The process begins when I open the door to Packout, our on-campus trip coordination hub, and I’m hit by the smells of garlic powder, cheddar cheese, plastic bags, white gas, and humans working in the hot sun. Adventure is afoot, and excitement bubbles.
“Every semester writes its own story.” This is not just a declarative statement, but a piece of oral history and wisdom, something passed on to me when my sons joined Maine Coast Semester 64. A compelling invitation. A unique narrative, an original outcome, a story line that could only be written by these young authors. So much opportunity, space, and agency to shape and weave a narrative.
*By Megan McOsker, Semester Science Teacher* When Teal and I dipped a plankton net into Montsweag Brook this November, we weren’t sure what we would find. Teal had chosen to study plankton for their final project in our Natural History and Ecology class but had never done a plankton tow before and I had never sampled the waters off Chewonki Neck in the late autumn.
Traveling back and forth to a remote research outpost on another continent, climbing tall trees to send texts and emails, recording and observing countless hours of behavioral data, and collecting hundreds of poop samples for genetic analysis – these are just a few of the ways Maine Coast Semester at Chewonki science faculty, Chloe Chen-Kraus, has pursued her love of lemurs.
Faculty are back! Chewonki summers are our busiest season; our staff nearly doubles, and we host hundreds of kids and teens for camp and expeditions. But, summer vibes are just the opposite for much of our faculty, who have three months off to refresh, recharge, and adventure. So we caught up with a few in between move-ins and orientation meetings to ask them how they spent their precious summer months:
The tide is out, the sky is blue, and a large group of Chewonki participants is gathered at our Waterfront. They toe the line where dry land transitions into squishy brown clay. Some faces tremble with anticipation, others look timidly across the mud expanse, and nearly everyone’s nose twitches (the mud flats produce a strong marine scent).
Congratulations to Maine Coast Semester 67 Alumna, Sophia Kovacs (Morse High School, Bath, ME), who recently completed Bigelow Laboratory’s Keller BLOOM Program. BLOOM (Bigelow Laboratory Orders of Magnitude) is a week-long ocean science-intensive that invites high school juniors to work side-by-side with Bigelow’s marine biologists.
Watch the recording of Program Spotlight: Connecting Students and Alumni Through Our BIPOC Mentorship Program. We created this program in 2020 to provide additional support for Maine Coast Semester students who identify as members of underrepresented communities by pairing them with near-peer mentors.
It seems crazy, but it’s true: Maine Coast Semester at Chewonki students willingly turn in their smartphones upon arrival, and they don’t get them back until they leave four months later. What’s crazier is that our students love their break from technology. Without a smartphone in their pocket, they have to get creative about documenting their experience–a challenge that semester 67 student Sophia Waterson (The Brearley School, NY) clearly relished.