As the school semester begins, we wanted to reflect on our summer happenings at Isla Mar. This May, we welcomed two field courses and a new baby! Here's what we did during that time.
Our first field course welcomed back citizen scientists and ocean-loving enthusiasts from the Oceanic Society. This year, our field course was slightly different than our coral reef conservation course from pre-COVID times. For this trip, we explored the deep island connection of Ridges to Reefs, showcasing the different habitats and ways that our terrestrial interior is connected to our coastal exterior. Our small group - all women! - were led on hikes to El Yunque, the Pterocarpus Forest and at the water's edge in La Parguera and Rincon. The highlight of the adventure was showcasing the restoration work in the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve and watching as our group delighted in the experience of snorkeling among the colorful fish and corals. We look forward to welcoming the Oceanic Society again next year!
Our second field course welcomed, for the first time, the Inver Hills Community College and 10 interdisciplinary undergraduate students. This course followed our traditional programming with a focus on marine science and excursions to some of the off-the-beaten path natural wonders on the west coast, like waterfalls, caves and scenic trails. Our students snorkeled the reserve and learned about the restoration efforts, coral diseases, fish and coral biology and turtle conservation. The highlight of this trip was the sea turtle release, where our group joined the volunteers from Tortugas Marinas Area Oeste to release newly hatched leatherback turtles.
But perhaps our biggest highlight of the summer was the birth of our daughter, Charlie Marea, who came into this world just hours after the departure of our second field course. Miss Charlie was born on May 31 at midnight, and arrived bright eyed and alert, ready to tackle the world.
We are so grateful for the students we have taught over the years - of all ages and backgrounds - and we look forward to growing Isla Mar's educational services and offerings in the coming years. Stay tuned for an exciting new update on this front!