Happy Earth Day Shoalers!

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” – Rachel Carson

Whether we celebrate today by dedicating time for the outdoors, venturing down to the waterfront to collect plastics, or simply taking a moment to appreciate the thought of spring on the horizon, I think it's important to reflect on how nature helps to connect us to both ourselves and one another. We are so lucky at SML to work year after year alongside such a passionate group of students, faculty, researchers, staff members, and other Shoals enthusiasts. We help to inspire one another and open each other's eyes through our collective knowledge and stories. I am extremely grateful that, beyond today, we get to return to Appledore and continue working together to protect our planet's oceans.

As we rapidly approach the start of our season, I am feeling focused on community well-being and all modes of learning that will take place this summer. The SML team has made careful plans with health experts at Cornell and UNH; we have been making very targeted seasonal staff hires to enhance safety; we are doing tabletop exercises for possible scenarios; we are employing decades of collective island experience to provide the best and safest in-person immersive science experiences for all this summer.  
 
I am also truly excited about this summer. After an unpredictable year, we are fortunate to return to Appledore to conduct research and employ educational methods that I know are vital to the welfare of our oceans. The support our community has shown for the (603) Challenge, aimed at increasing diversity at SML, fills me with inspiration. Social inequity is a widespread and heartbreaking issue. We have much work to do at Shoals, but this scholarship will help to offer financial assistance and reduce barriers for deserving students this summer. 

I look forward to welcoming this incoming class, as they have been learning online for so long and this opportunity will renew their education in many ways. I am excited to learn what they need to feel welcomed and how we can serve them to become the best scientists and science-savvy citizens after leaving our shores. As my time on the island nears, I reflect on my goals. First, to keep safety top of mind among everyone on the island. Second, to learn as much as I can about our student’s needs and how we can maximize their SML experience. It will be refreshing to interact with the island community once again. I can’t wait to board the R/V Kingsbury and set sail to a summer of learning...