Maverick Landing

New England Aquarium! (11/13 NATURE Lesson)

This week’s lesson about sea turtles at the Maverick Landing Community Center went swimmingly! 

First, we took a look at a taxidermied hawksbill sea turtle: students even got to hold her and pass her around as they learned about how different species of sea turtle differ in the color and size of their shells. Then we watched a short documentary about sea turtle nesting, and watched baby sea turtles make their mad dash to the ocean just seconds after hatching! From that video, students learned the importance of keeping the lights off at night if you live near the ocean, since sea turtle hatchlings can become disoriented by them. Finally, we colored in a worksheet in order to learn how to identify different species of sea turtles… did you know that leatherback sea turtles can grow to weigh up to 1500 pounds?

To get moving, we ended the lesson with a fun spinoff of hide and seek, where we hid “turtle eggs” around the room and then tried to find them as quickly as we could. Maverick Landing Community Center is very passionate about the safety of sea turtles, so we loved learning so many new things about a species we care about so much! 

Maverick Landing

Letter Writing to Preserve the Belle Isle Marsh! (NATURE Lesson 11/8)

This week, we also learned about the Belle Isle Marsh, which is located right here in East Boston! It’s Boston’s last remaining salt water marsh, home to many birds, fish, and other wildlife, and needs to be protected against continuing developments along the shore. We learned about different animals that call Belle Isle Marsh home, such as the coyote, long eared and short eared owls, snowy owl, sparrow, hummingbird, and crane. The unique characteristics of a saltwater marsh make Belle Isle extremely valuable- in addition to serving as a home for these animals, the marsh helps reduce the impact of storms, mediates temperature when it is very warm, and creates oxygen for the air. 

In order to communicate the need to protect Belle Isle, students wrote letters to local, state, and national government representatives such as Mayor Marty Walsh and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, explaining what the marsh meant to them. At the end of class, some shared their letters to the class, showing impressive public speaking skills! We hope that the kids will take a closer look at the marvelous marsh right in their backyard next time they have the chance to visit, and realize their potential for influencing local legislation. 

Maverick Landing

Life Cycle of Plants (10/30 NATURE Lesson)

The life cycles of plants! Wednesday, October 30 The Climate NATURE program helped facilitate a nature-inspired art project at the Maverick Community Center in East Boston. The Youth were able to make mask from the leaves, seed pods, acorns, and twigs collected from Boston.

Before making the mask, a lesson was conducted on the lifecycle of plants. The youth in the community center learned why trees lose their leaves in the fall. They also learned about important concepts such as photosynthesis, winterization, and the formation of glucose by leaves.

After the lesson, we transitioned into the mask making activity and it was a success! Using foliage and more of nature’s amazing resources, the kids made their own animal masks. Soon the room was filled with owls and foxes and more. Creativity ran wild!

Toward the end of the lesson the youth decided to put on a play about the environment. Many kids took on the role of mother and sister nature and helped maintain and protect the forest. The performance was amazing and demonstrated that the youth not only really enjoyed the activity but learned from it. 

Maverick Landing

Apple Cider Making at Maverick Community Center! (10/23 NATURE Lesson)

Leaves, apples, cider, oh my!

Fall is officially here and NATURE is ready to celebrate the harvest of the season! We began the conversation by discussing the lifecycle of apple trees. Apple trees are perennials, which means that the plants return each year. As the kids say, the trees go to sleep or hibernate during the winters. Perennial vegetables and fruits are very convenient because you only have to plant once and can harvest for many years. We are very lucky to live in the Boston area, since we have apple orchards and urban farms that provide us with local goodness. Kannan even taught us about an urban farm in the East Boston neighborhood! 

As the kids debated on the superior apple variety, the adults cut the apples into fourths. And then the fun began! We took turns putting the fruit pieces into a fruit grinder, ensuring that the apples were squashed. This required some strength, so we but on our big boy and girl pants and got to work! After our apples were properly grinded, it was time to press the food with a fruit press. This required a little bit of origami, as we set up the blocks to make sure that all liquid from the apple is withdrawn. This was a particularly exciting part of the process, as the kids were able to circle around the fruit press. We once again had to summon our strength. And finally, after all of our hard labor, the cider was made. As the liquid came out of the fruit press, the room was filled with excitement. Because the taste of truly fresh apple cider may be strong, we began with only taking a sip of the cider. However, everyone loved it and vowed to drink cider for the rest of their lives. When asked how they would describe the taste with one word, the kids responded with “tasty,” “sweet,” “sour,” and “SO DELICIOUS.” 

Happy fall and cider drinking!