Partner Highlight: Gulf of Maine Institute
The Gulf of Maine Institute (GOMI) is a deep-rooted partner of TCI. GOMI’s mission is to educate the larger community and prepare the coming generations to steward our eco-home wisely. GOMI works closely with teachers, school districts, researchers and youth to:
- Teach the importance of sustaining bio-diversity
- Prepare students to lead as citizen stewards
- Engage the scientific community to partner with us by providing youth and teachers research opportunities and resources
- Create public forums to engage communities in conversations that open windows to awareness and doors to action
By working with teachers and the scientific community to bring students into hands-on encounters with the challenges in front of us, it is by far the most effective and far-reaching way for GOMI to make its contributions. They have named this initiative, Learning to Steward the Gulf (L2SG).
L2SG embraces three overlapping strategic directions:
- Teacher professional development
- Civic engagement
GOMI emphasizes civic engagement, the act(s) of doing something concrete and beneficial within one’s community that promotes understanding of issues that leads to improvement, remediation or protection. One example of this civic engagement is the Massachusetts Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary L2SG Sea Turtle Rescue.
Spotlight on this Program:
Most sea turtles (aside from the leatherback) are ectothermic, meaning that the temperature of the water around them regulates their body temperature. As winter approaches, the water temperature off Cape Cod Bay slowly decreases, and sea turtles should make their way south to warmer tropical waters. However, each year since the late 1970s, some number of juvenile turtles does not make the journey in time. Trapped by the hook of the Cape, the turtles become disoriented. When the water reaches about 50° by mid-November, the turtles are too cold to eat, drink, or swim, and become “cold-stunned.”
Unable to move, these turtles are at the mercy of the winds and currents. When strong winds blow in from the north or west, the turtles can be pushed up onto the beach and left behind by the receding tide. However, these cold-stunned turtles are lucky: since 1979, Wellfleet Bay staff and a corps of over 250 volunteers have patrolled the beaches of Cape Cod, on the lookout for cold-stunned turtles, which are rapidly transported to the New England Aquarium for evaluation and rehabilitation.
As part of GOMI NOAA B-WET grant, GOMI L2SG has partnered with the Audubon Sea Turtle Rescue at Wellfleet for several years. The excitement and satisfaction of involvement in the rescue work are, for students and teachers alike, an unforgettable event.