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More than Watching the (Eel) Grass Grow

For the third year, our students in Marine Field Ecology eagerly took to the seas this afternoon to continue their longitudinal study of the eelgrass beds around Sippican Harbor. Our data is being shared with the Marine Biological Laboratory of Woods Hole, MA, which does similar projects in other harbors around our area. We are pleased to participate as our efforts allow MBL to expand its knowledge of our treasured harbor ecosystem.

The students’ goal is to monitor the health of the eelgrass beds over time. In past years, the students developed a map of the beds using drone photography so that they could monitor the perimeters, as well as look more closely at individual beds year to year.

This year, they are taking a granular view. Using GPS waypoints, the students are observing the conditions around individual beds, marking the level and direction of the tide, recording the substrate, and whether or not there are other species living among or on the grasses. They are also noting whether the grasses are continuous, patchy or in patches. The health of adjacent beds is also recorded. 

To do this work, the students worked in teams on paddleboards. They set off from Tabor’s docks and transported themselves across the harbor to the eelgrass beds on the far shore. Taking two readings of different areas, the students snorkeled around the beds and shared their observations with their teammate on the paddleboard who filled out a data sheet with specific questions. Next, they recorded video of GPS marked transects of individual beds using a benthic sled the students had previously hand-built out of PVC pipes. The sled is equipped with a GoPro camera on it to record the view below and is light enough not to disturb the bottom when dragged slowly behind a paddleboard. Finally, students enjoyed using our wifi-enabled ROV to gain video access to deeper areas of the beds. Driving the ROV is as popular as the paddleboarding!

Not only is this a fun field ecology lab allowing swimming, paddleboarding, and using marine technology on a beautiful fall afternoon, but the work is important as we participate with local marine research organizations like MBL and the Buzzards Bay Coalition to monitor the health of our harbor. Nitrates are a serious threat to Sippican Harbor and these species are important harbingers of eroding conditions. We can only improve conditions if we can understand what is happening through data. Joining with our partners, we hope to be able to watch the eelgrass continue to grow and thrive in Sippican Harbor.

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Campus Events

List of 3 events.

  • Freshman Class Parent Reception & Dinner

    Reception and Dinner for Parents of the Class of 2023 with Head of School John Quirk.

    Lillard Living room
    Read More
  • Late Start for Students Today (10:15 - 4:45)

    Students will have a sleep in while the faculty meets this morning.  Day students are welcome to come at the usual time for breakfast, if they want. Classes will meet through the afternoon and there will be no co-curricular activities.

    Here is the schedule:
    1st block: E- 10:30 - 11:45
    2nd block: F - 11:55 - 1:10 OR 12:25 - 1:40
    3rd block: G – 1:50 - 3:05
    Office Hours: 3:05 - 3:30
    4th block: A - 3:30 – 4:45

    No practices or co-curricular meetings

  • Application Deadline

    Make sure your application is complete and submitted by today!
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Upcoming Alumni & Community Events

List of 3 events.

  • Sarasota, FL Reception

    Please join John Quirk, Head of School
    and hosts
    Mr. and Mrs. Lee Pokoik '63 GP '23
    for a cruising reception aboard the
    Marina Jack II
    2 Marina Plaza
    2:00pm. - 4:00pm
    (boarding promptly at 1:45pm) 
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  • #Tabor Time: Tabor Academy's 3rd annual Day of Giving!

    Tabor Academy’s 3rd annual Day of Giving!
    On February 25, 2020 we have 1,876 minutes to reach our goal of 1,000 donors & have an impact on Tabor students.

    To be 1 in 1,000:
    •Make a gift!
    •Follow #TaborTime on Social Media
    •Show your Tabor Pride
    •Challenge your classmates
    •Celebrate your time at Tabor
    •Have an immediate impact on Tabor’s students & faculty
  • Bermuda Reception

    Join us for a reception at 
    Gosling's Wine Cellar
    5:30pm - 7:30pm
    hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Gosling P '06
    9 Dundonald Street

    The Tabor sailing team is headed to Bermuda for spring training! Coach Robert Hurd and members of Tabor’s sailing team will be on hand to  provide a brief update on the program.

    We are delighted to say that retired faculty member Merry Conway will be attending, as well!
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