After a smooth and beautiful ferry ride, the ninth grade learned about the 18th century naturalist and astronomer Maria Mitchell from one of the association’s historians, took an informative walking tour of Nantucket, and were treated to a great dinner that included some locally sourced foods. We enjoyed a spectacular beach sunset then went to the Maria Mitchell Association’s observatory where the astronomy staff shared the history of the two telescopes before delighting us with close up views of Jupiter and its moons, the surface of our own moon, and a faint but exciting look at “M53,” a globular cluster that’s 58,000 light years from earth. A local Nantucket student gave us a tour of the stars visible with the naked eye before sending everyone off to sleep. Day 2 began with a morning visit to “Squam Swamp,” a protected property, guided by a local ecologist. We walked through some unusual habitat, including tupelo and sassafras trees, to a vernal pool. Students caught, observed – and then replaced- a variety of specimens. From there, we visited the MMA Aquarium – closed but getting ready for a season of children’s programming. For their service project, students decided to create an exhibit for the aquarium about the impact of plastic waste in the ocean and collected several pails full of flotsam and jetsam on the beach. During the afternoon the town Shellfish Biologist gave a presentation about efforts to sustain the local bay scallop fishery and then we all went to the studios of the Artists Association of Nantucket where we made gelli prints using leaves and a variety of textured items. After dinner, we attempted to catch another beach sunset but it wasn’t spectacular. Despite that, the intrepid students jumped into the calm, shallow, but cold water of Madaket Harbor on the west end of the island. Our final day began with early morning birding walk with an ornithologist. The group saw many varieties of gulls, some cormorants, a few seals, a loon, an Eastern Towhee, several pairs of nesting Osprey, and a few more unusual birds too – a Black Capped Heron and a Greater Yellow Legs. Before returning to the MMA to work diligently and collaboratively to complete the visual part of their exhibit they enjoyed a little free time in Town.