Sunday, September 26, 2010

Rappin for Raptors Festival - September 25

Lots of wonderful photos of the festival. Keep scrolling down to read about this fabulous event!

Rappin for Raptors Festival at the Boston Nature Center - Krill

Today, Captain John Boats was one of the exhibitors at the Rappin for Raptors festival held at the Boston Nature Center in Mattapan, MA. This annual festival is sponsored by the Massachusetts Audubon Society. Even though the festival name highlights raptors, there were lots of other topics and activities focusing on other local animals, including reptiles, insects, whales and sharks. And there was a fabulous steel band by local kids in the area. They sounded fabulous!

Krill set up an educational display along with free educational literature and a number of hands-on activities. With the help of Mary Nash and Shaya French , both volunteers from the New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance, Captain John's tables was one of the busies in the festival.

There were lots of neat whale and shark artifacts on display for kids and adults to look at and learn about. A few of the items on display included baleen from a humpback whale, teeth from a sperm whale and a Mako shark jaw. The hit of the show were the shark jaws as kids couldn't believe how many extra teeth were hidden inside the jaw.

Captain John provided 3 hands-on activities for kids of all ages. For the youngest children, a shark tooth dig was provided. Here children could dig through a large tray full of sand, shells, sea glass in order to find fossil shark teeth. We would like to thank Frank Roberts for the shark teeth donation. This donation allowed each child to walk away with one shark tooth and a few shells.

A second activity was the blubber glove. Here kids learn about the benefits of whale blubber and how it insulates these large mammals in a very cold environment. Children are asked to put their hand in cold, icy water using a sealed glove. First they use a glove that has vegetable shortening inside. The vegetable shortening is used to simulate whale blubbler. Then they are asked to use a glove without any shortening inside. The kids are amazed to see how blubber really makes a difference in helping keep you warm from the icy waters.

A third learning activity involved a filtering activity where children use whale model on brushes and simulate the feeding movements of whales in our waters. First they filter in a tray that represents a "clean" ocean where on plankton (aka parsley) is floating in it. Then they try to filter their food (aka parsely) through a "dirty" ocean, an ocean full of marine debris like balloons, plastics and abandoned or lost fishing nets. These children learn that it is not easy, if not impossible, to not get marine debris in your mouth when feeding.

Just looking at the pictures that I took, it is clear that everyone had a fabulous time. Our hats are off to the staff and volunteers of the Boston Nature Center for putting on such a wonderful festival. And we thank them for inviting Captain John Whale Watching and Fishing Tours along with the New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance to be part of this wonderful event.

See you next fall!