As the Director of the After School Program for the YMCA of Martha’s Vineyard, I have had the opportunity to meet and integrate many talented individuals into an enriching program for our Island children. This pastspring break, we held a day camp where we experienced an extraordinary day, all thanks to the Trustees of Reservations education leaders Sarah Trudel and Scott Golden. The Trustees of Reservations on Martha’s Vineyard offer a special program, called the Claire SaltonstallProgram (CSP), that has been active since 1991, funded through endowment and donation. The CSP provided Island school children with free outdoor environmental and history programming on The Trustees’ six Island properties. When thesetrips occur on Chappaquiddick properties, the generosity of our community comes out, as the Chappaquiddick Ferry owner Peter Wells always allows thesechildren and their teachers free passage on the ferry. On April 22, Earth Day, The Trustees hosted the YMCA on a tour of Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge and the Cape Poge Lighthouse (owned by the United States Coast Guard, managed by The Trustees of Reservations). Part of the trip, unexpectedly, required education leaders Sarah Mello Trudel and Scott Golden to transform from primary TTOR educators to New England Aquarium Marine Mammal Stranding Team volunteers as well.
The group discovered a dead seal on the beach, and under federal law only those trained with marine mammal stranding teams can interact with these animals. The students, with permission of YMCA youth program director Emily Walsh, stopped as a group to have a “teaching moment” about the Marine Mammal Protection Act and why marine mammals need human help. As Sarah and Scott followed NEAqprotocol to collect measurements and gather photographs, students asked questions, watched, and became familiar with why the information wasimportant to the NEA and gained a clear understanding that Cape Poge is indeed a refuge for wildlife, according to Ms. Trudel.I am so humbled by the efforts of all who were a part of our day and felt it to be of the utmost importance to share our experience with you so that youall know that your donated time and money have had an impact on the minds and lives of our children. Thank you so very much. Apryl Rae Anastacio After-School Program DirectorYMCA of Martha’s Vineyard