Friday, July 22, 2011

DAY 1: Boston Harbor Tour via MBTA Boat

Hot Hot Hot is a good way to describe today. Temperatures surpassing 100 degrees, we were lucky we ended up carrying out our field experience today--but I'm sure glad we did. Pulled off-shore by the MBTA Boat off Boston Harbor with the wind blowing in our faces we quickly set off on a tour of the harbor. We were told an array of information about the harbor islands we passed and in some cases--pitt stopped at along the tour. Along with the rest of my peers, I was enlightened by fun facts, such as how Spectacle island is a man-made island created by the landfill from the Big Dig as well as a great source for sea glass, and Georges Island--which I have visited before--was originally constructed by the British and later remodeled several times as a result of wars and new ownership. I will always find the fort on Georges Island to be a very interesting work of architecture.

In addition, we learned how on Lovells island there are exotic, large birds. I hope we will be able to see some of these in person in our class expedition to the island this Sunday. The fun facts continued throughout the entire trip such as how the lighthouse on Little Brewster Island, "Boston Light," is the oldest light station in America--pretty neat.

The longest and most impressive of all the stories and facts we were told today was the recovery story of the harbor itself, "Save the Harbor, Save the Bay" organization and the water treatment project that took place. It is a long and detailed process that I would butcher if I tried to explain, but while at a pitt stop Professor Berman had us demonstrate, in a human chain, the steps taken to purify the water. Lauren and I played the "scrapers," which would push off floating nutrients from the large pool of contaminated water. It was a lot of fun and involved a great deal of laughter if you can imagine that we were demonstrating how human feces is extracted from the contaminated water and made into little pellets of fertilizer, which I believe Professor Berman stated were used to fill roads among other uses. Later the purified water--good enough to drink, right Professor? Haha --is pumped through a pipe many miles off shore into the depths of the harbor. What is truly miraculous, is that we were actually pitt stopped right next to the facility that purifies this source of "human nutrients" and it didn't even smell, not even a little. If these scientists could work similar magic with the remains of my lovely canine friends, I would be more than pleased.

Also, did you know that this year, even with the horrendous amount of rain we had during the storms from this past June, the Boston Harbor Islands had no storm discharge/run-off? We had no pollution, while other beaches everywhere were shut down for safety from contaminated water, our harbor was spotless. What a life.

See you all tomorrow!


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