First grade gratitude takes the sting out of winter

From toddlers to retirees, my motto is that the science bug can bite you at any age, and so its never too early to start getting young scientists out into the field exploring nature!

Boston Public Schools teacher Naomi Mulvihill agrees, and that’s why we were both so jazzed to work together this fall to plan a Marine Science Center field trip for Naomi’s first graders from the Sarah Greenwood School in Roxbury. The planning started in the summer and Naomi was even able to visit the MSC before the trip at our Annual Open House, scoping out the scene to be able to best prepare her budding scientists for the trip.

These days, with school budgets stretched thin and the soaring costs of bus rental, field trip funds are hard to come by. That’s why this trip would not have been possible without the generous sponsorship of the Department of City and Community Affairs at Northeastern University, who funded the trip. A big thanks to this department for providing what might have been the first visit to a tidepool for some students in this group.

On a bright and sunny October morning, Naomi, along with fellow teachers and about 40 first graders made the journey from Roxbury up the coast, across the causeway, and all the way to the eastern tip of Nahant where MSC Outreach staff greeted them with smiles and excitement.

During their morning at the MSC the students learned about tidepool habitats, met touch tank animals, took in the breathtaking views at East Point, and explored tidepools, practicing their science observation and identification skills. After a fun-filled morning, the class picnicked on the lawn before heading back to school.

As our field season continued and we saw hundreds more students, this energetic group of young scientists really stuck with me – their curiosity and enthusiasm for exploration was inspiring!

Then a few weeks ago I was touched to receive handmade thank you cards from the students, showcasing their creativity and cherished memories from their visit.

Even as the cold and dreary winter months encroach, taking the place of those warm, sunny days exploring tidepools with young scientists, these beautiful cards will remind me why I love my job, and being part of those experiences that might provide, for some, that initial bite of the science bug.

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