Students enjoy oysters at latest Middle School Science Cafe
Marine biologist Hannah Pearson spoke with Middle School students Oct. 19 as part of this year’s Science Cafe series. Pearson, who works as the hatchery manager at Island Creek Oysters in Duxbury, discussed the details of her job and answered questions from students.
Pearson explained the step-by-step process of growing oysters in the hatchery before they’re monitored in the nursery and then, once big enough, planted in Duxbury Bay. She also displayed photos of the different types of algae (phytoplankton) that Island Creek grows on-site for the oysters to feed upon.
"Hannah has been a favorite guest of our Science Cafes, coming every year since I first began the program in 2017,” said Middle School Science Faculty Natalie Young. “In this visit, students enjoyed learning about the life cycle of oysters and other mollusks before trying out the tasty treats themselves. We were lucky to have our own oyster shucking expert in [Middle School Director of Activities and Athletics] John Reid!"
Students had the opportunity to sample the oysters following the presentation. Master shucker Reid shucked the oysters before handing them over to students. Almost all of the students tried at least one oyster while several students went back for seconds, thirds, and even more.
Reid has worked part-time in the summers at Island Creek Oysters for the past 10 years. “The Professor,” as the employees of Island Creek fondly call Reid, shucks at the raw bar in Duxbury and at various private events. He also leads tours both in the hatchery and out on the water.
Pearson's visit — and the delectable bivalves she brought with her — underscored the practical applications of science. The Middle School students were literally able to get a taste of a scientist's work in the real world.
The Middle School’s Science Cafe series is an initiative which seeks to introduce science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) topics to interested students.