FlowCam Education: Our Visit to Hurricane Island

FlowCam Education: Our Visit to Hurricane Island

Hurricane Island Maine Welcome SignEarlier this month, Harry Nelson and I transported a FlowCam by ferry to the Hurricane Island Center for Science & Leadership. This beautiful island is located off the rocky coast of Maine, east of Rockland and southwest of Acadia National Park.

The Center for Science & Leadership, founded in 2009, offers a variety of experiential learning opportunities for students. Hurricane Island itself is public and students will often see visitors moor their boats and explore the the island for a day of adventuring.

Women of Water program mentor-student group photo on Hurricane Island

The purpose of our visit was to introduce the FlowCam to participants in the Women of Water Program and to other visitors to the island. Women of Water is a week-long summer program for female-identifying students interested in oceanography, marine sustainability, biology, maritime history, aquaculture, and more. The program welcomed 24 students from Maine as well as other parts of the country.

Savannah Judge and Harry Nelson riding ferry to Hurricane Island sitting on top of FlowCam crate

Getting there was an adventure in and of itself: we first took a car ferry from Rockland to Vinalhaven, and then a member of the Hurricane Island team picked us up and took us by small boat, the last 20 minutes to the island.

We collected samples from 3 different locations: the main pier, a freshwater pond, and a quarry that supplies drinking water to the island.

Readers who use the FlowCam for drinking water applications may appreciate this fun fact: due to its very small, seasonal population, the Island is classified by the State of Maine as a “Very Small Water System,” which serves less than 500 people.

FlowCam presentation to Women of Water program on Hurricane Island

Once we returned to our lab in Scarborough, we also ran scallop eggs and sperm for Hurricane Island’s Research Team. Scallops are a big deal in aquaculture, particularly here in Maine. For a great background on this beautiful bivalve, check out this recent article published in the New York Times featuring Hurricane Island’s own Director of Research, Phoebe Jekielek:

FlowCam collage of scallop eggs

Pictured above: a FlowCam sample of scallop eggs

We would like to give a special thanks to Kerry Whittaker of Maine Maritime Academy for inviting us to be part of this special program in such a beautiful place, and Jen Matthews and the rest of the Hurricane Island team for welcoming us!

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