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Maria Mitchell Discovery Program

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The Maria Mitchell Discovery Program incorporates marine biology, environmental science, and environmental stewardship with exploration, hiking, survival skills, games, and art to provide children with interactive opportunities to learn about the natural world on Nantucket. Kids ages four to six—dubbed Wee Explorers—search for crabs and fish and learn the difference between snakes and salamanders, while teens in the Naturalist Leadership Program combine education, adventure, and research to focus on the island’s ecosystems. The program turns some of Nantucket’s most beautiful sights including Madaket Harbor, Squam Swamp, and the Windswept Cranberry Bog into outdoor classrooms. Programs run on a weekly basis throughout the summer and are available in half- and full-week packages. For more information, visit www.mmo.org or call 508-228-9198.

Summer Programs at The Farm Institute

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At Martha’s Vineyard’s The Farm Institute, children get up close with a rare commodity: a working farm. The Katama Farm in Edgartown features 162 acres of livestock and crops for children to better understand the journey their food makes from soil to supermarket. “The program creates a cornerstone in a healthy lifestyle,” says Assistant Education Director Meredith Magin. The summer programs cover all aspects of modern farming. Children as young as two can learn the basics of planting, weeding, and watering plants through a combination of stories, games, and crafts. Older kids work side by side with farmers to learn about land preservation, nutrition, farming, and livestock maintenance. Programs run on a weekly basis from June 25 to August 31 and can be scheduled for half or full days. For more information, visit www.farminstitute.org or call 508-627-7007.

OceanQuest Hands-On Discovery Cruises

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Bring the family aboard Discovery Cruises for a day of maritime education in beautiful Woods Hole on Cape Cod. Cruises take passengers on a 90-minute expedition aboard a fully equipped research vessel. “One of OceanQuest’s main goals is to get people to understand how important the ocean is. When you take one of our discovery cruises, you will learn about the living ocean in a unique hands-on, fun, and exciting way,” says Director Jeff Avery. While onboard, passengers can pull lobster traps, learn to use meteorological equipment, check out the horseshoe crab lab, or a number of other activities with the help of trained staff. Cruises depart Woods Hole three times daily, Monday to Friday, through September 7. For the first time, OceanQuest offers specialty evening cruises as well including Family Fun Fishing, Woods Hole History & Sunset, and trips out to Cuttyhunk and the Elizabethan Islands. For more information, visit www.oceanquest.org or call 508-385-7656.

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