Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Salt, the Humpback Whale Presentation for Middleboro Kindergarten Students

NECWA staff members Lauren Midi, Dominica Webster and Krill Carson along with volunteer Mary Nash spent two full days introducing Kindergarten students at the Memorial Early Childhood Center to the unique marine wildlife in our area. This 2-day program was sponsored by NECWA and Captain John Whale Watching and Fishing Tours, operating out of Plymouth Harbor. Visit their website at

Lauren and Dominica did the majority of the presentations that focused on Salt, the most famous humpback whale in the world and the ambassador for all marine wildlife in the New England area.

Salt was first seen in 1976 and returns to our New England waters to feed on fish and zooplankton each season. This season, she is offshore with her 12th calf named Zelle. Not only did students learn about Salt and her offspring, but they also sang a song in her honor. This song incorporated key terms as well as movements using props of Salt's tail.

Next, Lauren and Dominica inflated NECWA's fabric whale, Crystal. This model was made by NECWA staff member Pat Mancini and represents the size that Crystal would have been on his first birthday. Crystal is a male humpback whale who is the first known calf of Salt. Although calves only stay with their moms for one year, they return to the same feeding areas that mom introduced them their first year of life. And so we continue to see both Salt, Crystal and the rest of their family offshore each season.

Students had a fun time looking into Crystal's mouth as the wind from the fan whipped around their faces.

After this introduction to humpback whales, marine wildlife and Crystal, students had fun rotating through 4 hands-on learning stations. One station was the blubber glove where students learned why blubber is so important to keeping these endangered marine mammals warm.

A second station was the display table that had neat things for the students to look at and examine including whale bones (large and small), baleen and prey items. A third station was a filtering activity where students learned why it is so important to keep our oceans clean. And the fourth station was an activity where students used either tongs (teeth) or brushes (baleen) to figure out why some baleen whales prefer zooplankton while toothed whales prefer fish.

Manning these stations were NECWA staff, teachers and parent volunteers. Most of the volunteers were moms who did a fantastic job making each station fun and exciting! Thanks again to all the volunteers who helped with the educational learning stations. NECWA could not have provided such a wonderful program without your help and assistance.

We want to thank the teachers and administration at the Memorial Early Childhood Center, especially Beth Fauvell and Principal Virginia Levesque for organizing this program making it possible for NECWA to spread their message of conservation and concern. The reaction from students, parents and teachers alike was very positive as NECWA was able to introduce and review content in the field of marine science in a fun, exciting and meaningful way.