Farm-to-foods study in 4-5
Students in Waynflete’s 4–5 program are currently engaged in a “Farms to Foods” study. Their work focuses on aquaculture, vermiculture, botany, and food systems, along with related climate impacts.
Last week, a group of 59 students visited Merritt Island Oyster farm, which is located just off the western shore of Merritt Island in the New Meadows River. The island is owned by Bowdoin College and is one of 256 sites along the Maine Island Trail that is open for public use, while the oyster farm is owned by Waynflete science teacher Katrina St. John and her husband Jordi.
Students participated in four stations: oyster farming techniques, Maine Island Trail Association island stewardship, oyster biology and underwater drones, and The Oyster Restoration Project. Jordi taught students how to cull oysters by size for market, remove marine biofouling, shake oyster bags, and decrease densities inside bags. MITA’s Maria Jenness led students to small inlets and coves on the island to remove marine debris and trash. John Herrigel and Jonathon Koski with the Maine Oyster Company let students test drive an underwater drone and Katrina showed students how to do an observation drawing of the exterior and interior of an oyster. Students tried to identify anatomy and some brave adventurers slurped a few oysters!
Finally, Dot Kelly with the Nature Conservancy informed students about the Basin Oyster Restoration Project, which aims to establish a new oyster reef in the New Meadows river basin. Students also had the opportunity to test the hardness of an oyster shell with a hammer and to observe an oyster filtration experiment.
The field trip was full of industry, learning, exploration, and joy. Truly a day to remember!