Viewing entries in
Island School

Ellie Corbett, SP'15, Interns with Dr. Edith Widder

 Ellie Corbett's last jump off High Rock during Spring 2015.

Ellie Corbett's last jump off High Rock during Spring 2015.

Growing up on the coast, Ellie, SP ’15, knew she loved the ocean long before going to The Island School. Her IS experience only cemented her future in ocean conservation and field research. This fall Ellie started her college career at Eckerd College in St. Petersberg, Florida. For her six-week January break she interned at Ocean Research & Conservation Association. ORCA is a nonprofit dedicated to developing technologies to conserve and restore ocean ecosystems impacted by anthropological activities.

With the determination to get back into the field, Ellie began her search by looking at all ocean-based nonprofits in Florida. When she saw Dr. Edie Widder was the founder and CEO of ORCA she realized the Island School connection. Although Ellie was on the Sting Ray Team at IS she had heard about Dr. Widder’s work from the Deep Sea Team’s deployment of the Medusa; the camera that captured the first images of the giant squid and Dr. Widder’s most famous discovery.

 Dr. Widder speaking in the boathouse during the CEI Ten-Year Celebration.

Dr. Widder speaking in the boathouse during the CEI Ten-Year Celebration.

Ellie interned with the ORCA team on the Fast Assessment of Sediment Toxicity Program (FAST Program). The Fort Pierce area, where ORCA is based, has experienced extreme algae blooms in the last few years.  Through the sampling and analysis of the Indian River Lagoon, ORCA has made “pollution visible.” Using a state of the art water sampling system called Kilroy, and the results from FAST, ORCA has created a user-friendly map of nitrogen levels within the Indian River Lagoon. With this knowledge and tool the community and stakeholders can be empowered to resolve the problem.

With this experience, Ellie is well on her way to a career in marine conservation. Working with Dr. Widder and a team of passionate and driven scientists Ellie, although young, was challenged to work independently and trusted as a member of the FAST team. When asked what impacted her the most from her internship with ORCA she said, “Dr. Widder has never lost her inspiration and passion for the ocean, and that inspires me.”

Click on these links to learn more about ORCA, the FAST program, and Dr. Widder’s discovery of the giant squid.

New England Road Trip: The Island School Admissions Team is in Full Swing of Travel Season

Last week our admissions team, Taylor Hoffman (SP‘06), Maggie Nichols (F‘09), and Glenn Hartman-Mattson (Faculty‘14-15), visited high schools and colleges throughout New England! We spoke with prospective students and caught up with alumni throughout Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Monday:

We went to Burr and Burton Academy and their Mountain Campus where we found a faculty alumnus from some of the first semesters on Eleuthera. Ben Freeman is now the Director of BBA’s Mountain Campus, a semester program focused on environmental education and sustainable living.

Ben Freeman and Taylor
Ben Freeman and Taylor

We then found a couple alums to have lunch with at Middlebury College!

Harrison Rohrer (F '13), Glenn, and Will Cembalest (SP '14)
Harrison Rohrer (F '13), Glenn, and Will Cembalest (SP '14)

For dinner we found Libby Schwab (F ‘14), Emily Peters (F ‘11), and Kyle Titsworth (SP ‘12) in Burlington, VT. All students at UVM, we loved talking with them so much that we didn’t have time to get a photo!

Tuesday:

Onto to New Hampshire! We visited Hanover High School, Thetford Academy, and Kimball Union Academy during the day.

Thetford Academy:  Clara Hoffman (F ‘15), Taylor, and Kia O'Connor (F’15)
Thetford Academy:  Clara Hoffman (F ‘15), Taylor, and Kia O'Connor (F’15)

We had dinner at Molly’s in Hanover with some of our alums at Dartmouth and living in Hanover!

Starting from the left back row: Amelia Lubrano (SU ‘ 15), Ruby Spitz (SP’ 16), Maggie, Maisie MacMillen (F ‘15), Avery Vanacore (SP’14), Noelle Henderson (SP ‘15), Taylor, and Glenn
Starting from the left back row: Amelia Lubrano (SU ‘ 15), Ruby Spitz (SP’ 16), Maggie, Maisie MacMillen (F ‘15), Avery Vanacore (SP’14), Noelle Henderson (SP ‘15), Taylor, and Glenn

Wednesday:

A visit to The Mountain School! We met up with Kareen Obydol-Alexandre, a teacher who attended the Summer 2016 Teachers Conference.

Kareen Obydol-Alexandre and Taylor
Kareen Obydol-Alexandre and Taylor
Taylor and Glenn made some new lady friends
Taylor and Glenn made some new lady friends

That night we met up with a couple of our alums at Bates College!

Glenn, Sam Hastings (F’12), Jake Atwood (SP’14), and Taylor (Sam’s Advisor while at IS)
Glenn, Sam Hastings (F’12), Jake Atwood (SP’14), and Taylor (Sam’s Advisor while at IS)

Thursday:

Taylor drove up to Camden Hills High School and visited our partners at Hurricane Island Outward Bound. Glenn visited Freeport High School and Yarmouth High School. That night we had a small gathering of prospective students and alumni families in Falmouth, ME!

Glenn and her advisee, Jessie Gray (SP’15), in Falmouth!
Glenn and her advisee, Jessie Gray (SP’15), in Falmouth!

Friday:

We drove up to Colby College for a cup of coffee with our last group of alumni!

Chase Goldston (SU ‘13), Hannah Piersiak (SP ‘12), Melinda Edie (F ‘14), Glenn, Taylor, Eleonor Bauwens (SU ‘15)
Chase Goldston (SU ‘13), Hannah Piersiak (SP ‘12), Melinda Edie (F ‘14), Glenn, Taylor, Eleonor Bauwens (SU ‘15)

Overall the admissions team connected with amazing alumni and prospective students all of New England and the trip was a giant success. But the highlight of the week was Maggie Nichols finding a camel in the middle of Vermont!! Even camels can try to live better in a (foreign) place.

Maggie and the leading expert camel in maple syrup production
Maggie and the leading expert camel in maple syrup production

Reflections from the semester: Kyra Hall

Friends, Family, and Alumni, The Fall 2016 semester is flying by. Because we’ve been so busy, it feels like only a few short weeks ago that we were unpacking our things and circling around the flag pole for the first time, but it only takes me realizing all that we’ve explored and accomplished over these past 70 days to realize just how long we’ve been here.

Time is definitely a challenging concept here. We often say, “Every day feels like a month and every month feels like a day,” simply because of how fast everything moves, but also acknowledging all that happens in one day. The way that I’ve learned to define time here is by the friendships and incredible connections that grow on a daily basis. The Island School is a really special place in that you are constantly surrounded by interesting, kind, and extremely supportive individuals that care so much about your own personal success. The friendships that I have created here with my peers are indescribable and so cherished, but my valued relationships aren’t limited to students. I find myself having a new, thoughtful conversation with a new member of faculty, a member of CEI, or a hardworking individual from the farm just as often as I do with my close peers. Both types of relationships are easily attainable and immensely valued by all of the students here. The community and connections that I have established here are two of the main reasons that I have become so attached to this place I now call home.

Kyra leads the pack back into boathouse cut

These wonderful connections only deepened and expanded over our three-week Expedition period. As we were split up into four different Kayak or Sail groups, people were worried about leaving their beloved routine and friends for three weeks, but little did we know all that was ahead of us. I embarked on a 9-Day Kayak trip the first week of Expeditions and was really excited about the bonding of my group, the friendships I’d be able to deepen, the solo experience, and all of the adventures we had ahead. I knew it was going to be both a challenging and rewarding week, but what I didn’t understand was how happy I would be when I’d return nine days later.

Solo fell towards the beginning of my kayak trip and I couldn’t be happier that it had. The exciting 48-hour experience that all Island School students think about when they apply had finally arrived and it was more emotional than I’d anticipated. While leaving one of my best friends at the very beginning, we both broke down into tears, not from sadness, but from feeling so much excitement and anticipation all at once. Once I had settled into my spot and looked out at the beautiful beach and ocean in front of me, the tears immediately ceased. Where I was and the incredible opportunity that was lying in front of me instantly made me so appreciative. During my solo, I was forced to live in the moment, taking the experience minute by minute. I was so content for the duration of my solo as I was able to reflect, write several pages in my placebook, and recharge. Coming back together with my group afterwards was one of the happiest moments I’ve felt here and it enabled us to have finish our last 5 days on a really high note.

Kyra's kayak group after returning to campus

As we kayaked back to campus the morning of Day 9, many of the faculty and students were out on the jetty cheering us on as we finished our final stretch. Seeing campus and the community we had missed so much filled our boats and bodies with pure excitement. As we reunited with the rest of the groups, the dorms and dining hall were full of nothing but stories and happy spirit. This energy carried over onto our Down Island Trip that followed. Exploring the island as a unit as we discovered the several impacts of tourism on this country was really interesting, eye-opening and our group was just overall excited to be back together for another 5 days.

All 50 of us are back on campus now, finding ourselves back into a pretty steady academic routine. As well as coming back together as a community, it’s crunch time for our research classes, we’re preparing for our art show, and our respective run and swim tracks are reaching our max-workouts before the 4-mile swim and half marathon. Campus is buzzing as we begin to prepare for Parents Weekend. We’re all very excited to welcome our parents to campus and share all that we’ve learned in just a few short days.

Kyra Hall

FA ‘16

HIOBS group prepares to head out

The HIOBS team in the Cape Eleuthera waters Today marks the start of the Hurricane Island Outward Bound Maine to Bahamas sailing expedition to the Exuma Cays! After 10 days on campus learning about sustainability, the marine environment, and research skills, the students are ready to embark on their 18-day research expedition. They’ve also participated in many service projects over the past week with Deep Creek Middle School. From helping out with after-school sports and the Open Learning Center, to  facilitating team building activities and a beach cleanup, to helping out at the community garden, these students have made a huge impact on our community!

Working at the community garden in Deep Creek

Here’s a quick note from the students about their time here thus far and what their expedition to the Exumas will bring:

“Our trip to The Island School and the Cape Eleuthera Institute is part of an Outward Bound 80 day Environmental Science gap year program. The Island School has not only been a great experience but also an amazing learning environment. The lifestyle at the Island School included ideals and ethics that are similar to those of Outward Bound and to our own. The efforts for sustainable living became a huge part of daily life on campus. From taking navy showers (60 second showers) to an intricate aquaponics system, the efforts made here to save our world for further generations is inspiring.

Another part of daily life here is a daily early morning workout, which is sometimes difficult but vital. These workouts boost both our physical health and advance our work towards a final goal of a 1.7 mile swim.

Exploring the wonders of Eleuthera

Hands-on learning is emphasized at the Island School. Our lessons include snorkeling, swimming, research, and engaging lessons with PhD scientists. The enthusiasm around this type of learning was both fun and effective, we all leave the classroom with a common understanding of the state of the world. These experiences provided us with a new way of learning and challenged us to apply our newfound knowledge.

The main portion of our expedition will be focused on adding to a long-term data set monitoring the health of reefs in The Bahamas. We, as a group, have been trained in research skills while on campus and are embarking on our 18 day sailing voyage, during which we will apply our new skills throughout the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. One group will be focusing on the growth, population, and health of Elkhorn Coral (a vital part of the coral reef ecosystem) in the Exumas, while the other will collect data on fish populations in the reefs. We are extremely excited and can’t wait to experience this new type of expedition and apply our new knowledge!”

The HIOBS team on Glass Window Bridge in Northern Eleuthera

 

Fore the Ocean: Future Island School students clean up Monterey Bay

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 9.09.11 AM
Monterey Bay is full of golf balls, Alex and Jack are the "somebodies" to do something about it.
Alex Weber and Jack Johnston will be students attending The Island School in Spring 2017. We can't wait for these two leaders to join The Island School community. Make sure to watch their video, "Fore the Ocean."
Read the article about them here