Rotary Log for June 3d, 2021
President Jon opened the meeting and asked Basil to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.  Judy Ringer was next, singing of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.”.  Jon welcomed those attending in person and those attending remotely via Zoom.  
John Rice’s invocation recalled the turmoil the country faced a year ago over the death of George Floyd.  With lock-down in place, meetings were entirely by Zoom.  He welcomed the Shoals Marine Laboratory which works diligently to advance new understanding of marine life and the oceans that are so critical to our planet.  As we resume in-person meetings, John’s invocation asked for new understandings of all creation to guide us to brighter days ahead.
Jon welcomed Dave Brogan, a guest from Naples. Stanford Cross introduced Adam Dean of Portside Real Estate Group, a newly opened real estate brokerage on the Seacoast. 
James Petersen introduced his colleague, Kirsten Field. 
Cleo’s guest was Stephen Polhemus from UBS, who has just moved to the seacoast from North Carolina. Dave Underhill jokingly welcomed a special guest, “Owl Harris.”  Owl is our new Zoom camera system set up.
Jon invited everyone to gather at the Atlantic Grill for the kick-off of the Living Innovations Fund which aims to raise $250,000 for scholarships.  As members are aware, Darlene and Neal Ouellette started the fund with $50,000 in seed money.  They have pledged a further $100,000 in matching donations if the Club and friends can raise that amount.
Sara Treacy announced that Rotary is continuing to provide Salvation Army dinners at the Heritage Road location.  Sara thanked Al Lantinen who very nobly picks up the food from the Edgewood Center, boxes it and delivers it to the location.  Al is asking for volunteer assistance on June 22nd.  Sara also mentioned that the Salvation Army will soon be moving to a new permanent location on Rockland Street at the end of July.
President Jon will not attend the next meeting and Justin will run it. There will be no meetings on July 1 and July 8. Jon reminded everyone of the Rotary District Conference this weekend. 
There was a long list of June birthdays including Cleo Villaflores who turned 40 today!  She graciously dropped 40 Happy Dollars in the bucket, followed by Jon who matched the $40, along with several others who generously donated various amounts.
Next, to a chorus of barks and meows, Mort made several Paul Harris Fellow presentations.
Priscilla, Bill and Rick
Recipients included Andrea Herold, Bill Simpson, Al Lantinen, Priscilla McInnis, Craig Taylor, and Rick Wallis.  Mort gave a brief history of the awards which were created in 1947 in the name of Paul Harris.  Since then, some $1 billion has been distributed to various programs, not including Polio Plus. The recipients were given a standing ovation in recognition of their contributions to Rotary International.
Up next, Ken Murphy thanked Priscilla McInnis and the Program Committee for their hard work in finding excellent speakers this year. 
He then introduced Isabel Aley, director of community relations of the Shoals Marine Laboratory.  Isabel has a long history and passion for environmental and conservation issues.
She began with an overview laboratory which is located on Appledore Island, one of the nine islands of the Isles of Shoals.  The lab is a field station, operated jointly by Cornell University and the University of New Hampshire.  It was created by UNH some 93 years ago.  Operations came to a halt during World War II when the island was used by the military. The prominent radar tower that still stands today was meant to protect the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
The lab was revived in 1966 by Cornell University Professor John Kingsbury, who was looking for a location for undergraduate marine education.  There have been many changes in the last 55 years.  Appledore now houses a mini college campus.  Operating a small fleet of boats, including a research vessel, it offers 12 academic courses. Those classes are open to all college students and some high school students from May to September.
Isabel showed a video with an introduction by Jennifer Seavey, Executive Director of the Lab.  Jennifer also happens to be a descendant of the Seavey’s, after whom one of the islands is named.  The Marine Lab is unique in that the island itself is the classroom, immersing students in their subject.  Faculty and students come from all over the world.  Interviews with the students show their enthusiasm for their island environment.  Living in the field is a great way to learn as one experiences the weather, the behavior of the animals and the ecosystem.
Isabel explained how the environment has changed around the Isles of Shoals.  Four hundred years ago, the Shoals were an important fishing area, and the average size of a cod was 5ft long weighing 150 lbs.  Today the average cod is 2ft long and weighs 10 lbs.  These changes are attributed to an increase in human activity, including over-fishing. 
The water temperature in the Gulf of Maine has risen two degrees since the 1800s.  This warming trend is occurring faster in the Gulf of Maine than in 99% of the world’s oceans.  The research and education at the Shoals Marine Lab can help researchers understand the pattern of changes which can then be applied on a global level.
The core mission of the lab is “To provide outstanding experiential, place-based education and to support innovative research programs focused on understanding and sustaining the marine environment”.
Isabel described three areas of ongoing research, the first being the Tern Conservation Program on White and Seavey Islands.  The second is the study of harbor and grey seal populations on Duck Island.   The third area is Rocky Intertidal Zone research which has now complied more than 25 years of data from surveys on different species of organisms.  This is used to teach research methods to students and interns.  It also allows for tracking changes over the long term.
The Shoals Marine Laboratory offers internships in ornithology, intertidal ecology, marine mammal, freshwater toxicology, parasite ecology, ocean pollution impacts and sustainable engineering.
The lab’s education programs are immersive, hands-on and place based.  In addition to the college and high school courses, the lab also offers public education programs to school groups and runs teacher training programs.
The lab offers a “sea” of courses ranging from Shark Biology and Field Wildlife Forensics to Sustainable Fisheries and Field Animal Behavior.  Students come from all over the country and all over the world, not just from UNH and Cornell.  Many of the lab’s 10,000+ alumni have moved on to work in science and environmental fields.  Other students acknowledge that their time on Appledore was a life-changing experience.
Being a remote island, far from the mainland, Appledore has invested in a green energy infrastructure, using wind and solar panels for power generation.  The Lab tries to be a model for other communities, especially island and other isolated communities.  They try to be sustainable in as many ways as possible, such as being sparing with water usage, using composting toilets, and providing locally sourced food.  
Isabel touched on Celia Thaxter’s Appledore garden.  Master gardeners and volunteers plant this garden every year.  This year, because of Covid-19, there is a “pop-up” garden at Prescott Park. The Lab collaborates with many organizations, including Unitil which is one of the sponsors of the Lab’s sustainability efforts and sustainability engineering internship. 
As a result of the pandemic, there were no students on Appledore Island last summer.  All courses were held online.  This year’s first virtual course arrived at the Marine Lab last week and there is now a hybrid of courses, both online and in person.
In conclusion, Isabel pointed out the many ways in which one can get involved with the Marine Shoals Laboratory.  All useful details and information can be found on their website: 
She encouraged everyone to sign up for the newsletter.  She also mentioned that the Lab’s revenues come from several sources. While tuition and course fees account for a portion of the revenue, it also relies on donations from foundations and individuals. The Lab accepts donations through UNH and Cornell University.
This year, the Marine Lab is offering a series of overnight public programs in August and September.  Dates and descriptions of the programs are also on the website. 
During the Q&A, someone asked about public access to the island.  Isabel explained that in normal years, there are tours of Celia Thaxter’s gardens and island walking tours on Fridays. Those are not happening this summer because of Covid.  As far as visitors coming and going on their own, the Lab prefers to have organized groups visit.  The small campus environment can be challenging for some, with its rocky surface and abundance of poison ivy. 
The second important question was whether anyone has found any pirate treasurer yet.  Isabel replied, “Not to my knowledge”.
Jon thanked Isabel for her informative talk, remarking how cool it was to see what is really going on out at the Shoals. 
With $46 in the pot (and a possible match of $125), Isabel pulled the winning raffle ticket for none other than Ken Murphy! Fix!!!
Respectfully submitted, Françoise Meissner
Photos by Don Chick