Marine Madness will take you on an ocean adventure exploring coastal ecosystems and marine habitats. The Rhode Island and Connecticut coastlines provide the backdrop for your week. You will visit and examine rocky shores, salt marshes, estuaries and Long Island Sound using hands-on exploration. In addition to Alton Jones, you will use the facilities and interact with the staff of both Mystic Aquarium and Project Oceanology in nearby Connecticut. This program offers a chance to learn more about the marine world while making new friends and having fun.
Sunday and Monday are spent at the W. Alton Jones Campus. You will sleep in cabins with some campers who are in your group and some who are in other groups, which will allow you to get to know lots of other kids. You will eat your meals in the dining hall, except Tuesday lunch through Wednesday dinner. Sunday is devoted to meeting and getting to know your cabin-mates and fellow Marine Madness campers, junior counselors, and counselors. Sunday night also includes an all-camp campfire where you will meet and see other campers and counselors in camp for the week.
Monday focuses on freshwater as a basis and comparison to the marine ecosystems. Swim tests, free-swim time and canoeing occur at Lake Eisenhower in the morning, so be ready to get wet! Monday afternoon is spent exploring freshwater ponds and streams on the W. Alton Jones Campus. Find critters in the wetlands and learn more about how they survive. Monday night involves an all-camp activity before heading to the cabin for a good night’s sleep.
From Tuesday to Wednesday, the group travels to Connecticut. After breakfast, the group will travel in one or two 12 or 15-passenger vans to Mystic Aquarium (approx. 45 min. drive). We will meet up with the Mystic staff for the following activities (order may vary):
- Wet Lab at Mystic. The group settles into one of the classrooms in the Aquarium and participates in a lab. The lab offers participants the opportunity to get up close and personal with the subject matter. Hands-on work is a highlight of the lab.
- Trip to Hammonasett State Beach. This van ride is approximately 45 minutes from Mystic. While at the state beach, you will have a pack-out lunch and will be given free swim time after lunch. We then move to a special permit-only area of the beach to explore the salt marsh and rocky shore. Seine nets and other sampling gear is used to view the inhabitants of these areas.
- Explore the Aquarium. Tuesday late afternoon you will return to the Aquarium and be given time to change and explore the aquarium exhibits with the Mystic staff while your counselors prepare your dinner. Dinner is served in a lounge in the aquarium. Nighttime observations and “backstage tours” are a part of the evening at the aquarium.
- Mystic Sleepover. Tuesday is the sleepover at the Mystic Aquarium. Campers get ready for bed and set-up their sleeping bags in the aquarium’s Undersea World right next to the exhibits!
Wednesday morning you wake-up, pack-up and get ready for the day. After breakfast at the aquarium, the group heads off for the day’s activities (order may vary):
- Boat trip with Project Oceanology, Groton, Ct.: This van ride is approximately 15 minutes from Mystic. Upon arrival you will hop onboard the R/V Enviro-Lab and you will head out into Long Island Sound. While on-board you will help conduct research by catching organisms in an otter trawl net and by testing various forms of water quality. A pack-out lunch is eaten back on land after the boat ride.
- Crabbing at Barn Island, Stonington, Ct.: After a brief (15 min.) van ride you will arrive at Barn Island to catch some crabs. You are involved in all aspects of catching the crabs, including, baiting your own line! Time is spent learning about the different kinds of crabs and you may even have some fun with crab races.
You will return to W. Alton Jones Wednesday in time to get cleaned-up and ready for dinner. After dinner, you will be involved in an all-camp activity.
Thursday you will go to the Rhode Island coast on an all-day field trip to continue to explore the marine world. The trip will be either to the island of Jamestown, to explore the rocky coast of Beavertail State Park and go snorkeling. Or we will go to East Beach in Charlestown, part of Rhode Island’s largest protected barrier beach coastline, to explore a salt pond with snorkels and nets and spend some time riding the waves in the ocean. You will return in time to get ready and have dinner at camp. Thursday evening, you will participate in the final night of all-camp activities, which includes the closing campfire. [Note: Week 2, due to the shortened week for July 4th, Thursday will be the day for wrap-up and check out.]
Friday is spent putting the whole week together with review and wrap-up activities. After lunch and a closing activity is the family program and checkout.