- Gain a better understanding of the delicate balance between our fragile ecosystem and human interaction with the ecosystem
- Learn valuable skills in scientific observation, data collection, and environmental stewardship
Each year, CSCR’s Middle School Program morphs into what is right for the group; yet, the thread that provides consistency is real-world environmental education that launches the next generation of environmental stewards. The program is run by the exceptionally talented ecologist and equally passionate educator, Susan Bryant. Part artist, part scientist, all humanist, and a great leader of middle school students, Susan will engage the young scientists in understanding our harbor’s environmental assets — salt marshes, eelgrass beds, shellfish beds, dunes & barrier beach, — and the underwater diversity, serenity, and aesthetics of the ecosystems surrounding us.
This program is open to students going into grades 6, 7, or 8. Our experience tells us that this age group is quite capable of meeting our expectations. Our students understand they are a community of researchers capable of respectfully collaborating with peers who share a passion for discovery of the wonders and beauty of our coastal ecosystem.
With the interest in Briggs Harbor and the flats, we will continue our research on Bassings Beach in order to relay information that we have discovered to town officials and other stakeholders as they make decisions about the area. We are also responding to goals expressed in Cohasset’s municipal Harbor Plan and questions raised by local people. We may be surveying wildlife, shellfish, seaweed, dune vegetation, salt-marsh plants, fish, or sediments.
Students should bring weather-appropriate clothing, swim gear, snorkeling gear, sun protection and watershoes. We may come home looking like the kids in a laundry detergent commercial after exploring shellfish, mud, marshes or painting.
What students get out of it: Along with getting to work, play and enjoy together, students gain skills in the professional mapping software of ARCGIS; test water quality using YSI’s to measure salinity and dissolved oxygen; and learn about the interactions of our natural resources. The students often gain expertise that surpasses that of adults in town, and can present their findings to the town’s committees. Many past CSCR students have impressed college admissions officers and employers by saying they learned to use a YSI while still in Middle School.
We look forward to hearing in six years about this year’s crop of CSCR Junior Researchers!