UMass Boston’s Nantucket Field Station Receives Diversity Award
June 26, 2012
Nantucket Field Station Communications Team
This month, the Grace Grossman Youth Collaborative, a program of the University of Massachusetts Boston Nantucket Field Station, received the 2012 Human Diversity Award from the Organization of Biological Field Stations, an association that supports the work of more than 200 biological field stations and marine laboratories around the world.
The recognition includes an opportunity for Sarah Oktay, director of the Nantucket Field Station, to share information about the youth collaborative at the annual OBFS meeting in September, as well as reimbursement for the cost of attending the meeting.
In granting the Human Diversity Award, The OBFS team cited the Grossman Youth Collaborative for serving urban schools throughout Massachusetts which provides high-school and middle-school students with a weeklong, expenses-paid trip to Nantucket.
"We are thrilled to receive the 2012 OBFS Human Diversity Award," Oktay said. "The youth program is very special. Many of the kids who come here have only experienced their own urban environments. To be able to introduce them to the ocean, to Nantucket's natural beauty, and even to a clear night sky full of planets and stars is an honor for those of us involved in the collaborative."
Started in 2006 and named after Grace Grossman, who championed the sale of the field station to the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, the collaborative program brings six urban high school groups to Nantucket each year. The field station provides a "once in a lifetime" experience to study the history, flora and fauna, geology, and people of Nantucket.
Each group consists of two to three teachers and 12 students and is selected based on the results of an essay contest on the theme "Why we want to learn about Nantucket," as well as principal teacher nominations, grades, and other factors.
Students stay in field station housing and Oktay, a chemical oceanographer and naturalist, serves as their primary instructor and is aided by a team of Nantucket's expert botanists, ornithologists, historians, storytellers, poets, and field researchers. Trips are scheduled during spring break, summer, or fall.
In the photo above, high school students from South High School, in Worcester, MA, collect and dispose of invasive Japanese Knotweed from property near the Old Mill in May of 2012.
The activity, which was led by staff members from the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, the Nantucket Land Bank, the Massachusetts Audubon Society and Dr. Oktay, was designed to educate the students about the impact of invasive plants on the island's native species.