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Student Attends Weeklong Environmental Science Camp in Machias

The MESSY Camp is a week-long overnight summer camp sponsored by the University of Maine at Machias (UMM). This year’s theme was Global Climate Change, and students worked on a variety of hands-on projects with a professor from UMM. Students helped collect data and discussed various aspects of global warming that were of concern to environments around Machias, from small stream to salmon-filled rivers to tidal bays. We interviewed Juan Jose Castillo who attended for a week and gave us a taste of his experiences.

What can you tell us about the camp? The MESSY Camp was an environmental science camp. We took classes and then would take short trips. We talked a lot about climate change. One day we stayed at the UMM campus and we used laptops to go online to learn about the weather, talked about different types of energy, including wind energy. We even got build our own windmills and test them outside. We tested them inside with fans. We connected lightbulbs and music boxes to see how much energy we generated. We wanted to see how strong the windmill would power up.

What did you like best? I liked best when we went to a dam removal site. The dam helped the forest and the salmon population. We had to de-flood a lake so it could continue moving down the stream. A small river was getting covered up by rocks, so we cut down the trees and moved them, so the river could move freely again and so that it was opened up. That went with environmental issues. If the water wasn’t moving, it would heat up too much and the salmon would have died.

What else did you learn? I did a slideshow on climate change on how it would affect Machias, and got to use a special map. It was on the computer and interactive, so would show me the buildings and how they would be affected by higher tides, greater water depth, floods, or hurricanes. I would put in different numbers and data and the computer would fill in the map.

Was it hard to be away from home for a week? Yes and no. It was nice to meet new people, but it was hard to miss my family and the normal things we would do.

Did you do other fun things around Machias in your free time? In the evenings we did our own activities, played Frisbee, or Frisbee golf, and we went swimming at UMM and climbed the rock wall. It was really fun!

What else can you tell us? There were six of us total, and I was the only guy!

Would you attend the MESSY camp again? Definitely! I had so much fun, met some new people, and we did lots of cool projects.


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