Young Pirates Get Unique View of Ecology Aboard a Tall Ship

They may be sucked into the vortex of cellphones and Myspace while living life on land, but when kids are out sailing on the A.J. Meerwald, and 80-year-old oyster schooner turned education center they seem to get a whole new view of the world. That's probably because the whole experience of sailing itself leaves some kids breathless. As Trinity Carey, an 11-year-old from New Jersey said after what may well have been his first trip aboard a seafaring vessel without a motor puttering along behind, "It felt pretty awesome, I felt kind of like a pirate," and then "You feel like you're floating but flying at the same time."

As for the education part, the Bayshore Discovery Project aims to immerse kids in an experience that simply can't be re-created in a classroom. During a day-long camp last week, nine kids charted their course on a nautical map, learning boating terms and hand signals in the process, and working in teams to hoist the canvas sails up the 68-foot mast as well. And after using that knowledge to get themselves around New York Harbor, Jesse Briggs, the ship's captain, took the time to show them how runoff carries pollutants with it from farmland and factories alongside streams that wind up polluting the bay. Simply using a net from the stern to pick up jellyfish and oysters for the kids to check out helps them make the connection with living things that are actually present in the water as well... As Briggs puts it, "We like to give folks a chance to get in touch with the water and see how what they do on land affects the water. Hopefully, we'll instill a better sense of stewardship for the water." And with over 5,000 students a year getting that experience aboard the Meerwald, it seems to me that he's most definitely leaving a positive lasting impression on both his student's minds and the environment we all share. via:: Daily News

Tags: New Jersey

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