Photos: Young coastal explorers take to the sea

Aug 22, 2023

MARION — Choppy seas made for an eventful outing on Friday, Aug. 18 as kids from the Marion Natural History Museum’s summer program took a ride on the water with the Marion Harbormaster Department.

While cruising Sippican Harbor, kids collected plankton, learned all about shellfish and even got to see assistant harbormasters at work on a stormy day.

Interim Marion Harbormaster Adam Murphy brought the boatload of inquisitive youngsters around Sippican Harbor to aquaculture sites at Ram Island and behind Tabor Academy.

Aquaculture is the farming of aquatic organisms, explained Marion Natural History Museum Executive Director Elizabeth Leidhold.

One common aquaculture crop, especially in Marion, are oysters, said Leidhold. Along with producing the salty bivalve for food, oyster farms can also help filter seawater.

According to Murphy, one oyster can filter 50 gallons of water per day.

While on the water, Leidhold enlisted the help of her students to collect plankton from the harbor using a plankton net, a specialized tool that allows water to flow through while trapping plankton.

Toward the end of the trip, the kids got an up-close look at a “weather related incident” on the water as assistant harbormasters Andrew Miller and David Wilson untied two boats rafted together.

“With the wind and the waves picking up, the boats were smashing off each other,” said Murphy. “If the weather comes in and it’s not predicted to be that bad, we run into situations where we have to remove them and ensure there’s no damage done.”