GOMI Citizen Science Training Program
This past spring, I was introduced to the Citizen Science Training Program, a six-day long training organized to provide students of all ages with new experiences and to teach them more about GOMI and its mission. The schedule was filled with meetings with the Parker River Refuge, taking care of the farm animals at Spencer Peirce Little Farm, working with the GOMI teacher's children and many more awesome activities. Being involved in this experience, I realized how unique and special this opportunity was, and that with just a couple of motivated people something influential could happen.
With a lot of prior planning and organization, the program started at 9 am on June 27th at Spencer Peirce Little Farm in Newbury, Massachusetts. We were introduced to the history of the farm and had the chance to feed and interact with its animals. After that, we were led to an old trail behind the farm that leads to the US Fish and Wildlife, Parker River Refuge. We were able to see the benefits in having this path cleared, and made plans to clear it, so it was available to the public. To end the day, we spent time planning more projects and training in different areas. This day gave us a small glimpse into what lay ahead for the week.
The following morning we were brought back to the farm to feed the animals. Shortly afterward, we took a trip in the van to the Refuge to meet up with Lead Biologist Nancy Pau and GOMI's summer interns, who introduced us to options for Citizen Science projects. These involved monitoring trail cameras, recording bats in the area, organizing bird banding data and a few other projects we might wish to join. To finish off the day, we were brought to Plum Island Basin to pull pepper weed, an invasive species that the Refuge works hard to control.
The third morning we worked at the farm again and then loaded up the van with life jackets and cameras and traveled to the Rowley River. Once we arrived at the river, we were loaded into a boat with a Plum Island Long Term Ecological Research Scientist (LTER) to acoustically tag fish. This was interesting. We learned how to fish in the different parts of the river are tracked through their movements and noise transmitted by an implanted tag. After the boat data collection trip, we headed back to the farm to clear the trail. This trail is open to the public and will hopefully bring visitors to both the Farm and the Refuge.
We spent the next three days mentoring the children of the GOMI teachers. While the teachers were training for their NOAA projects at Adelynrood Conference Center, their children helped on the farm taking care of the animals. We were able to rebuild a garden and take multiple trips to the Refuge. Working with these motivated young children and seeing how intrigued they were about the farm and Refuge activities made me feel the change GOMI was creating.
Throughout the week-long program, I gained a lot of experience with the help of many people. I was also able to see for the first time the benefits of GOMI. We were actively teaching young and impressionable people what GOMI strives to achieve.
Bailey is a rising junior at Newburyport High School and an active member of the Newburyport GOMI Team.