Moon snails are excited to be the first animals collected for the 2012-2013 school year. They’re busy checking out their new home, and making acquaintances that will become year-long friends. It’s amazing watching them glide majestically and at great speeds across the sand, avoiding each other’s foot and changing direction when they’re in danger of colliding.
Thanks to everyone who bought the Kindle version of Perfection To A Fault: A Small Murder in Ossipee, New Hampshire, 1916. You’ve helped this historical non-fiction to reach #17 in rank for the Kindle version in its category on August 1, 2012. Perfection To A Fault always becomes more popular in the summer, and is especially good to read in August, because that’s the month when the cottage haunting occurred. The current owners of the cottage are convinced the place is haunted, as were my parents. It was fascinating to research and validate the fact there was an actual historical event that could have caused the haunting. That has always been my favorite chapter in Perfection To A Fault. The audio version of this book is coming soon. I almost look forward to mowing the lawn if I can read a book while I’m doing it… well, almost!
Artist/designer Robert DuGrenier from Vermont has designed and created hand blown glass shells that are so life-like, hermit crabs are crawling inside and using them as their homes. This gives us a wonderful view of how hermit crabs look inside their shells. Scientist in New Zealand are using glass shells to help study hermit crabs. It took about 7-10 days for hermit crabs to move into the glass shells, voluntarily, after the shells had been placed inside their tanks. These scientists have a code of ethics that would make it unacceptable to force the hermit crabs into the shells. Congratulations to these scientists who had the patience to wait for the hermit crabs to accept the shells on their own, and for giving us a fascinating view of life inside a hermit crab’s shell.
Sand dollars slipped into the sand as the incoming tide covered them. All of our sea animals are back in the ocean now, giving us a much needed stretch of time to clean tanks and check out equipment to prepare for the late summer collection. Believe it or not, collecting will begin in just a few short weeks, in time to kick off our fall program series. I can’t wait to meet the animals I’ll be working with next year!
I’m always happy to release the sea animals that work so hard visiting schools to give students the chance to learn about them throughout the year. But occasionally there are a few animals that just stand out, and become your favorites. This is my favorite horseshoe crab for this year. His name is Henry (given to him by a student at one of the preschools we visited) and he is the most friendly, calm horseshoe crab I’ve ever known. I released Henry into the sea last night, with all of his other horseshoe crab friends. If you’re at the beach and you meet Henry this summer, tell him “hi” for me. You’ll know him because he’ll be the one who excitedly swims right up to you when you ask, “Who wants to come to a school today?!”
Thanks to the wonderful staff and students at Teachable Moments Childhood Program in Stoneham for a great visit to their school yesterday. It was a fantastic way to finish off our spring and early summer programs. Even the youngest students touched the animals, and everyone enjoyed the touch tanks full of seaside creatures. I loved listening to all the sea stories and sea songs that teachers used to get the children into a great sea mood! Thanks to all of the great people at Teachable Moments for inviting us in to share some time with some amazing sea animals and students!
Magical Beginnings in Peabody kicked off their summer session today with a sea animal program to start a two week study of the ocean. There was no real favorite animal today, students loved them all, from the slippery footed moon snail, to the horseshoe crab, to the sea star, to the often intimidating jonah crab. I’ve never seen so many students pick up the jonah crab! (They got some great pictures.) Thanks to the staff and students for inviting us in, and making us feel so at home. And a special thanks to the student helpers who helped bring all my sea things downstairs to the cool basement classroom. Have a great summer!
Middleton Magical Beginnings was a cool spot today, as compared to the ninety-plus degrees outside. Vacations made groups a little smaller today, which gave interested students extra time with the animals. These students were like sponges, absorbing everything they learned about the sea animals they were holding. It was amazing how much these students retained, and lots of fun to hear them tell me all about the animals they were experiencing. I’m sure that when they encounter similar animals at the beach this summer, they’ll be able to tell their family and friends all about these amazing sea creatures.
The record 90 degree temperatures made the cool salt water and sea animals even more inviting at Magical Beginnings in Wakefield today. Thanks to the staff and students for a fun morning. It was the first time many of the students had actually held a moon snail or patted a horseshoe crab. It was great fun exploring with them. Thanks, and have a wonderful summer!
I was very excited to visit the Mount Hope Christian School today, on the second day of their summer program. I met so many wonderful students, parents and staff, and couldn’t help but be swept away by their enthusiasm. There were so many great questions about the sea animals from students as well as parents, and “The Bumpy, Lumpy Horseshoe Crab” book and the real, live horseshoe crab were a big hit. The wide range of ages at the school only served to enhance the experience. Thanks to the staff and students at Mount Hope Christian School for inviting us to kick off your summer program. Have a fun summer!