A report from Chris Orlando, Newburyport team member.
Recently, in our community, the 7th grade students toured the Merrimack River as a field trip to educate them on our local environmental problems. Accompanied by members of the GOMI team, the younger students set out on their “boat tour”.
GOMI is an organization with multiple teams spread throughout the coast of the Gulf of Maine. The Newburyport team is led by John Halloran, and is made up of high school students who volunteer their time to helping the organization.
The GOMI youth set out with these younger students, to share with them their knowledge about the Gulf of Maine. On the day of the trip, the kids arrived at the docks early in the morning to board the boat, and in a few minutes they were off. The boat couldn’t hold the entire grade, so there were four different trips. As the boat sailed down the river, John Halloran, and a few of his volunteers, gave a basic overview of the Gulf of Maine, and how the Newburyport area plays into it.
When the boat got far out, it was anchored, and the GOMI crew set up several stations to show some issues that are present in the river. These stations consisted of interactive activities that would help show the youth some problems that occur right by our homes. Members of the GOMI team ran these stations, and made sure the kids understood the main points about watersheds, the Great Marsh, water chemistry and the microworld of plankton. After a couple hours, the boat headed back to the docks.
This event serves as an example of many activities the GOMI team does to raise awareness in the community about local problems. John Halloran has many high school students on his Newburyport team who dedicate their time to helping out with the various events. As well as educating local community members, GOMI also organizes events like Pepperweed pulls and water quality monitoring, where they physically go out, and help out, with local environmental problems in the Newburyport area.
The GOMI “boat tours” are an annual occurrence where, each year, new students continue to learn about the local environment. This event is one part of the GOMI team outreach to the schools, and allows the kids to realize the issues around them. When these young kids receive the teachings of GOMI, sometime in the future they could take action, and help solve some of the environmental issues around us.