Catering for 700 People at the Maine Women’s Fund Luncheon

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Catering for 700 People at the Maine Women's Fund Luncheon

Today we helped set up, usher, and clean up after this fantastic event. It was incredibly inspiring to be surrounded by so many amazing men and women. Along with setting and cleaning up, I was part of the welcome crew–welcoming everyone and directing them to registration tables.
There was certainly a record amount of awesomeness in one room; 62 tables filled with amazing people. Wow.

53 Things I have learned at Coastal Studies for Girls

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1. Communication is often under valued

2. Morning runs can make any day rock

3. You can never eat enough fruit

4. Staying up until 3am reading a really good book is a great idea

5. You can never laugh too much

6. Never take yourself too seriously

7. Don’t assume another’s intentions are negative 

8. Brushing your teeth should always be a group activity

9. Spontaneous runs in the rain are always a good idea

10. Running in the rain on ice and slush can be fun

11. The journey is more important than the destination

12. You have more power than you think

13. A smile can make anyone’s day better; smile often

14. Notes of affirmation make everyone’s day better

15. Community service rocks

16. Feminism doesn’t mean you hate men

17. Eurocentrism is one of the worst problems in our education system

18. Semester schools will change your life

19. Find the good in hard situations and stick with it

20. Leadership doesn’t mean you have all the answers

21. Small changes make all the difference in the world

22. Cutting down on your sugar intake will make all the difference in the world

23. Sometimes you don’t need help you just need to try harder

24. Poetry rocks

25. Slam poetry rocks

26. Microplastics in our oceans is a serious issue

27. Drinking more water will change your life 

28. We would not be alive without the ocean

29. Ocean acidification is a very real issue 

30. Aquaponics also rock

31. The Bold Coast Trail is one of the most beautiful places on earth

32. Reading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard will change your life 

33. History class doesn’t have to be boring 

34. Taking time for yourself will change your life

35. Silence is rarely as bad as it seems

36. Wonder Circles will change your life

37. Your body language says a lot more than you might think

38. Stress is your body preparing your for action

39. Reading more will help you in every area of your life

40. Eating outside is the best

41. There isn’t poor weather only poor clothing choice

42. You are capable of more than you think

43. Yoga in the morning will always brighten your day 

44. Hiking is always a good idea

45. Your outlook on a situation has a huge impact on its outcome

46. Doing something outside your comfort zone will help you grow more than you thought possible

47. Muskrats have their own genus

48. BAM (beauty appreciation moments) will brighten your life

49. Taking a self defense class will change your life

50. Volunteering at a soup kitchen will change your life 

51. Covering your wall in little happy things will help you keep your negativity in check

52. Getting letters in the mail is one of the best things ever

53. Watching TED talks will change your life  

 

I could have written more but the pile of homework is starting to scare me; I have so much homework to do but I also really wanted to write this blog post so I did. Now that I’m finished I guess I should get crackin’ on the pile of homework staring at me. 

Have a fantastic week!! 

Grateful. Grateful. Grateful.

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Last Saturday morning–the morning after we came home from expedition–we all woke up at 5:45am so that we could be in the vans, ready to leave by 6:25. Now normally I would have had a serious problem with this situation, but we were waking up for one of the best reasons possible; we were volunteering at a local soup kitchen. Preble Street Soup Kitchen is located in Portland, Maine. We woke up quite sleepy, but without any complaints, we got dressed, ate breakfast, and were all out the door right on time. 

The drive to Portland was mostly silent; we just listened to whatever Haley played for us on the radio. We parked a street over from the soup kitchen–it was raining that morning but there were still groups of people waiting for the kitchen to open. I was surprised to see such a wide variety of ages–there were elderly, middle age and quite young people in the groups. It was a sobering sight to see them huddled together in the rain. The bright thought that came to me immediately was that in a matter of minutes I would be helping to prepare what might be their only meal of the day. 

The whole group of us jogged across and then down the street to the back of the building. Michelle pressed the volunteer button and we were greeted by a slightly plump lady clad in an apron and one of the brightest smiles I had ever seen; her face practically shone. I was slightly nervous and it was comforting to be greeted by such a friendly face. 

She introduced herself as Mary, and gave us a brief run-through of what we would be doing. We were quickly split into groups and sent off to complete various tasks-cutting fruit, help bake potatoes, wash fruit, put out cereal, to name a few. One of my good friends and I were set up to make fruit salad. We gathered fruit from the giant refrigerators, knives and cutting boards from the kitchen, and set ourselves up beside the sink in the back. As we washed and cut the fruit we talked about how grateful we were to have three meals a day, a warm place to stay, and clean clothes. We quickly became super excited about what we were doing, “Lets wake up super early once a month and drive down here to help out!” “Yes, we can pick up each other up and drive down!” Our conversation continued as such. I felt so helpful; this people wouldn’t get their meal without this group of amazing people. 

As two of my friends and I were cutting fruit we looked up at the window in front of us and caught sight of a man jumping up and down just outside the window–he was smiling and waving at us very excitedly. We waved right back. He was laughing at one of the girls because she hadn’t noticed him yet. It a moment full of such joy. I was humbled to see him expressing such joy despite his situation. I was amazed that such a simple moment of joy had made such an impact on me. I have thought about it often ever since. That moment reminds me to watch my complaints, and be abundantly grateful for everything I have; three meals a day, a roof over my head, clothes on my back, a wonderful family, irreplaceable friends…I could go on and on. 

Just before 8am rolled around we began setting up the food for breakfast. Some girls served while others helped prepare meals for later in the day and clean up. I was so happy to see bright smiles on so many faces on people as they walked through the line to get their food. So many thank you’s and have a good day’s. I was practically bursting with joy and gratitude. This experience was a turning point for me in my view of the experiences and abundance to be grateful for. 

I highly recommend volunteering at your local soup kitchen; grab some friends, take your family along, or go alone, and be ready to be changed. Always remember how much you have to be grateful for. Make a list. Say thank you. It will create a positive change in you. 

Have a wonderful, gratitude filled week. 

 

Coastal Expedition

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Every semester at CSG goes on Coastal Expedition. It is an 8 day trip lead by our lovely teachers. The girls in my semester spent the week before May 2nd, carefully packing and preparing for our trip. We received a packing list and a quick look at what the 8 days would look like.

On May 2nd we all woke up at 6am so we could get dressed, finish last minute packing, eat breakfast, pack the vans and be ready to hit the road around 8:15. By the time the vans were packed there was barely enough room for 7 girls in each van; backpacks, coolers, water jugs, and day packs were crammed in every available space. Around 8:15 we said our last goodbyes and hit the road for a 5 hour car ride to Cobscook Campground. It was a beautiful drive through many places I had never seen before.

When we arrived, the vans were unpacked and we began setting up our tents in groups and setting up our stoves so they would be ready for dinner. Before dinner, we had about 2 hours to explore as we pleased. It was a beautiful place to be, surrounded by the ocean, the rangers had opened up the campsite early just for us. When we gathered back at the campsite we made burritos for dinner in our cooking cooking groups. They were delicious!

The next morning we had solo time on an island we could walk to. It was so peaceful. Afterwards we headed back to camp to pack up and hit the road again for a 45 minute drive to the Bold Coast Trailhead. The hike to Fairyhead campsite was about 4.8 miles of beautiful coastline. The trail was filled with stunning sights of rock faces, crashing waves, and fog.

We spent two nights at Fairyhead and then hiked back out along the Inland Trail. I lead the hike back through the trees, moss and swamp. It was beautiful in a very different way. When we arrived back at the vans we ate PB&js for lunch and then packed and piled back into the vans for a 4ish hour drive to Camden Hills State Park.

We spent 3 nights at Camden Hills. On our first night we drove up to the tower on Mt. Battie. What a stunning sight we saw-the sun was setting and in the distance we could see rain coming towards us in a dark cloud. From our campsites at Camden Hills we took day trips to The Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, Bigelow Laboratory, The Farnsworth Art Museum, and Herring Gut Learning Center. It was amazing to speak with people, especially women, doing radical things in their community. I had never realized how many cool things there were happening in Maine.

After our 3 nights, we drove to Rockland to take a lobster boat out to Hurricane Island to spend a night there. It was a beautiful ride, I had forgotten how beautiful Rockland Harbor is. We saw the Owls Lighthouse, and saw Camden and Lincolnville from the water. The day was bright and warm; it was a perfect day for a boat ride. When we arrived at Hurricane we received a brief safety talk from “Safety Sam” and then we were guided to our campsites. I was excited to sleep on tent platforms, that meant flat ground! Hurricane Island was beautiful. We could see Vinalhaven and the surrounding islands. On our first afternoon, we took a trip the intertidal zone at low tide and explored the area for about an hour collecting every organism we could find. We then headed back to the lab to classify them. I was amazed how many organisms lived in such a small area…

We left Hurricane around 9 on May 8th. We took the lobster boat back to the dock, said our thank yous/goodbyes, repacked the vans, piled in a headed to the Damriscotta Mills Fishladder to watch the alewives move up the ladder to the lake to spawn. We walked up to the lake, ate lunch, and then piled back into the vans to head back to CSG.

We were greeted by the CSG staff when we drove in. I was so tired, but we still had to clean up the group gear, and I really needed a shower. We worked together to clean up the gear with guidance from Haley and Vanessa, then we had time to shower and do laundry before dinner.

Finally taking a warm shower was wonderful; after that all I wanted to was sleep-so thats what I did until dinner. After making our own meals for a week it seemed luxurious to have Gail make our meals again. I was grateful to be home again.

I had been looking forward to Expedition for so long, the reality of leaving in 19 days is slowly setting in… However I am still in denial that I will be leaving. In CSG time 19 days feels like one week.

 

First meal: Burrito

First meal: Burrito

Sunset at Cobscook

Sunset at Cobscook

Where we ate lunch

Where we ate lunch

So happy to be outside hiking and camping!

So happy to be outside hiking and camping!

It was a bit foggy that morning

It was a bit foggy that morning

Tent at Fairyhead campsite

Tent at Fairyhead campsite

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Exploring the rocks look back at our campsite

Exploring the rocks look back at our campsite

Adventuring on the rocks

Adventuring on the rocks

Campfires!

Campfires!

Sunset on Mt. Battie with rain coming over on the right

Sunset on Mt. Battie with rain coming over on the right

Filtering water at Fairyhead

Filtering water at Fairyhead

Making pizza

Making pizza

Port Clyde Light

Port Clyde Light

Maine Botanical Gardens

Maine Botanical Gardens

On the lobster boat home from Hurricane Island

On the lobster boat home from Hurricane Island

Relaxing on the dock on  Hurricane Island

Relaxing on the dock on Hurricane Island

My tent on Hurricane Island

My tent on Hurricane Island

Plaque at the Botanical Gardens

Plaque at the Botanical Gardens

 

 

Essays, presentations and other exciting adventures

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Wow. It has been quite a while since my last blog post but I really do have some reasons for that: things have been wonderfully busy here. First, for the past 5 weeks we have all been preparing our science presentations. This entailed creating a big list of things we were curious about. Then, as a group we found common themes for our curiosities and split into four groups accordingly. One group was studying bioluminescence in dinoflagellates, they called themselves the BioLumineers. Another group was studying the biodiversity of the mud, they called themselves the Maine Mudders. Another group was studying the effects of anthropogenic noise on chickadees. The group I was in studied the concentrations of microplastics off the coast of Freeport, and we called ourselves The Plastics. We read peer reviewed articles on our subjects and began writing our scientific research papers. We also came up with questions about our topic that we could answer through four days of data collection. We collected our data and analyzed it. We finished our research papers, and last Friday, we presented our results to the public and our families. We then had the weekend to be home. These past five weeks have really focused on our research projects. 

This coming week, we are preparing for Coastal Expedition-an 8 day trip of hiking and exploring Maine Coast. I am really excited for the trip. I can’t believe we have only 5 weeks before graduation. It is bittersweet. 

I am going to try to write posts more regularly… Wish me luck. 

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The picture above was taken after my groups last day of data collection. 

(I should go start writing my essay on Eurocentrism)

Have a great week 🙂