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October 18, 2013

Studying at sea

Students get first-hand marine science lesson

A group of students at Rockport High School went aboard the pinky schooner Ardelle for a marine science expedition.

Students in the class of Eric Sabo brought his marine science class to Maritime Gloucester, where Harold Burnham, the builder and skipper of the Ardelle, teamed up with with Mary Kay Taylor, who heads the educational programs at Maritime Gloucester, and Rockport Superintendent Rob Liebow, who is also a mariner.

The students took part in several activities including gathering water samples to investigate its quality, salinity, temperature and acidity as a function of position and depth in Gloucester Harbor, according to fellow teacher William Waller, who teaches physics.

“They examined a variety of creatures that had been captured in lobster traps,” Waller. “These included lobsters, crabs, and several invasive species -- some of which may have migrated aboard ocean-going vessels. The students also did a plankton tow, gathering samples of diatoms, worms, and other small life forms which they scrutinized with microscopes back at Maritime Gloucester.”

During the harbor voyage, Liebow also talked to the students about navigating the inner and outer harbor.

“This expedition exemplifies the sorts of interdisciplinary learning experiences that students can obtain in the rich natural and cultural environment of Cape Ann,” said Waller.

“We are indeed fortunate to be blessed with so many wonderful resources and generous people willing to share them.”

Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3445, or at

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