Thursday, May 8, 2014

Meet our new boat captains

Keith Chilcutt
Communications Intern
By Keith Chilcutt

As our shipboard educational programs grow, there has been an increased need to expand our fleet. Last fall, Save The Bay christened its newest motor vessel, the Elizabeth Morris, effectively doubling our capacity to take schoolchildren, educators, and the general public out on the water. With the new vessel, more on-the-water programs were made available and there arose a need for additional captains.
We are proud to announce that two of our current educators have completed their captain’s licensing requirements and will soon be plying the waters of Narragansett 
Bay aboard Save The Bay’s boats. 

Jennifer Kelly
Jennifer Kelly began working for Save The Bay in 2008 as an education assistant at the Exploration Center & Aquarium. Four years later, she took on the role of afterschool program manager and education specialist. 

Jennifer’s love of the Bay began as a child where she spent nearly every summer swimming, fishing, and exploring marine life. Her passion continues in her dedication to educating future generations about the importance of the Narragansett Bay watershed. “I hope the time students spend on the water learning about Narragansett Bay creates positive, lasting memories they can reflect on as they mature,” says Jennifer. “It helps foster their awareness for environmental stewardship.”

Gráinne Lanigan
Gráinne Lanigan hails from Skerries, a small fishing village near Dublin, Ireland, and has been with Save The Bay for ten years. She has been instrumental in creating professional development programs for teachers. 

“My favorite days are when we have an early program scheduled on a calm, sunny day,” says Gráinne. “I look around at the sea of smiles, grateful to be out on the Bay, eager to learn all there is to offer. Those are the days when I know I have a great job." 

"I love the opportunity to provide professional development,” continues Gráinne. “We have wonderfully talented teachers in our state, and I find it very rewarding to work alongside them educating students about Narragansett Bay.”

The role of captain does not come easily. Certification requires logging 360 days at sea, along with an intensive, eighty-hour course. The women sacrificed nights and weekends to obtain their licenses, but found the challenges rewarding and the experience invaluable. Having a captain’s license will enhance their abilities as educators. On the boat, the students test water quality within the water column for temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen. After comparing results, students gain a better understanding of what is ecologically healthy for the Bay. The students also collect plankton samples and conduct benthic trawls to identify organisms. 
 M/V Elizabeth Morris

On a recent trip with students from Robertson Elementary School to view seals, a girl was overheard saying that this was the best day ever. Undaunted in their enthusiasm for educating students, Jennifer and Gráinne hope to expand learning opportunities to create an indelible connection to Narragansett Bay.

- Keith

This post was published in the Spring 2014 issue of Tides, Save The Bay's biannual magazine.

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