Partnering with GOMI, and taking part in the drifter project, was important to me because I learned more about the ocean and what's happening around us, and how we should be aware of it. One thing I learned was that juvenile sea turtles were coming up from the tropics to Cape Cod because they had not established territories yet. Following the food into the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream, the turtles traveled via the currents into Cape Cod Bay in the Fall and Winter. The much colder water caused the turtles to become cold shocked and unable to move. Losing their ability to swim, they could not get back to the tip of the Cape and became trapped. The cold water currents would wash the turtles up onto Cape Cod beaches where they needed to be rescued. Drifters, launched by students on the Cape, follow the same currents and could, therefore, help locate the stranded turtles.
The sixth graders at River Valley Charter School got to work for hands on in building two drifters to help scientists understand the changing currents. I had lots of fun building these two drifters. I worked as hard as I could know they were contributing to saving nature. After we had built the drifters, we were told we were going to set them off the coast of Newburyport.
The day we got to take out the drifters, we walked to the Newburyport boardwalk. It was exciting because the local newspaper was there and I ended up being in the article about our drifter's project. We got onto a whale watch boat and went far out into the ocean. Far enough that we couldn't see land. Then we released the drifters. There were three kids assigned to each drifter launch. I got to launch the second drifter. The drifters have a waterproof tracking device on the top, and it is hooked up to a satellite and a website called "student Drifters" at our school. The website shows us a Google Earth map of where these drifters are and where they have been. This is how we take in information, track currents, and see how the turtles get stranded.
My favorite part of this project was building the drifters and knowing I was helping our world. If I ever get a chance to work at GOMI or possibly get an opportunity to do this again or work with nature, I would do it.
Jaedin is a rising junior at Newburyport High School and an active member of the Newburyport GOMI Team.