“Gratitude. It is a wonderful word that often gets forgotten, yet not at Ledge Street School. I am humbled as an educator that so many people care about educating students in outdoor environments. Fieldtrips are what students remember! Hands on discovery and learning is immeasurable. Thank you, a thousand times, thank you.”

Those are the words written by a fourth grade teacher from Nashua, N.H., whose students were able to attend a field trip at the Great Bay Discovery Center this spring through our recently launched Estuary Explorers fund. Students on spring field trips visit to the Discovery Tank to hold Bay creatures such as oysters and horseshoe crabs; spend time as a ‘nature sleuth’ along the boardwalk; and visit the Great Bay Café, “preparing” “Estuary Soup” to feed the many animals who inhabit Great Bay.

Funds for the field trips came in part from this year’s appeal to Stewards and members of the community.  We set an ambitious goal of raising $25,000, and were thrilled to ultimately raise more than $30,000!

Along with the Estuary Explorers fund, the goal of our appeal was to fund three other projects.  The

Stewards are now proud sponsors of the Beaches Conference, a regional meeting in June that will bring all those with an interest in the region’s beaches together to learn and discuss the latest science, management, arts and culture, and other trends on the shores of Maine and New Hampshire.

“The Beaches Conference fills an important information sharing gap for N.H. coastal stakeholders,” says Steve Miller, Coastal Training Program coordinator for the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. “Coastal homeowners, the tourism sector, and municipalities among other coastal interests are all able to meet peers and learn about coastal management and resource issues that affect their interest.”

Meanwhile, on the shores of the Squamscott River between Stratham and Newfields, the Backyard Wildlife Garden at Chapman’s Landing provides visitors with ideas on how to enjoy a low-maintenance beautiful backyard while providing shelter, food, and water for wildlife.  The area also includes a viewing platform that overlooks salt marsh and an osprey nest on the river.  Funds from the appeal, as well as from The Fabulous Find, will help complete a solar water pump and signage at the garden.

Last but not least, funds will go toward important research being done on the Bay around oyster survival, eelgrass, and sea level rise.  The Reserve now has boat time and supplies, including a high tech water level gauge that gives insight into sea level rise.

None of these projects would be possible without those who answered our call for support of research, education, and community outreach, and the Stewards are so grateful to all of you who helped.

Want to become a member or donate to the Stewards? Find out more!

-Allison Knab