Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Salt and Crystal Presentation at the Center School

On March 12th, Krill Carson was invited to visit Tammy Kelley's first grade classroom at the Center School in Mattapoisett, MA. Kelley and her students were finishing up a month-long unit on whales and were very interested in learning more about these amazing marine mammals that come to feed off our shores each spring, summer and fall. As the students shared their research with Krill and asked a number of questions, it was clear that this was an exceptional group of students who were really interested and fascinated with whales. Much credit goes to their teacher Tammy for she is one of those amazing teachers who really gets her students involved in meaningful and exciting learning projects.

After a quick arts & craft activity, Tammy's students got a chance to look at a number of neat whale artifacts including baleen, whale bones, dolphin teeth and food items. Students enjoyed being able to hold and examine items and objects that they had read about, but never expected to actually see or touch.

Then it was time to get up and get moving! Everyone had fun and got red in the face as they pretended to be a whale coming up to the surface to breathe. Students learned how whales breathe using their nostrils called blowholes that are found on the top of their head. The students had fun spouting like whales as they rose up and down to simulate the movements of a whale as it rises to the surface to breathe.

Next, it was time for everyone to settle down on the rug and enjoy a PowerPoint presentation on whales that included photos of whales taken by Krill who also works as a naturalist for Capt. John Boats out of Plymouth, MA (

Also included in this presentation were digital videos provided by the Whale Video Company (, the company that produces the wonderful DVD's that are included in NECWA's deluxe adoption packages.

During the presentation, students learned about Salt, the most famous humpback whale in the world! Salt is a female humpback that was first seen in 1976 and who comes to feed off Cape Cod each season.

After the presentation, Tammy's students helped Krill inflate a fabric model of Salt's first known calf named Crystal. Crystal is a male humpback whale who was born in 1980. NECWA's inflatable model is 25 feet long which is Crystal's length on his first birthday. Everyone had fun singing Happy Birthday to Crystal and were amazed at how big a one-year old humpback calf really is. Tammy's students also learned that the real Crystal is still alive and like Salt, is still seen feeding in the waters of Massachusetts Bay.

Tammy and her students raised enough money to adopt a humpback whale through NECWA's adoption project. NECWA will be sending them a classroom adoption certificate and a number of educational materials including NECWA's Fun Fact Sheets on humpback whales.

And this Friday, Tammy and her students will be hosting Underwater Adventure! This is where the kids invite their parents and the school administration to visit their classroom, look at their whale artwork and listen as the kids present the findings of their whale research.

A fun and educational time was had by one and all. Hard to say who enjoyed the morning more, the kids or Krill! Krill was impressed with these young learners and their amazing teacher Tammy Kelley. For Krill, it was such a treat to spend time with kids who really know their whale biology and who are really curious about whales and other marine wildlife. And this classroom intends to take it one step further. Not only do they do their part by recycling in the classroom, they want to continue to find ways at school and at home that will help protect these endangered marine mammals who also call this planet their home.