A maritime-themed relay race with exposure suits was part of the final-day celebration of the Blue Heron Maritime Discovery Program in 2016.

Port Townsend, Chimacum students to tell of maritime discoveries in innovative program

PORT TOWNSEND — Students will lead celebrations in Chimacum and Port Townsend that mark eight years of the 7th Grade Maritime Discovery Program.

The program, which began this month and extends through June, involves nearly 150 students from Port Townsend and Chimacum. It is a partnership between the Northwest Maritime Center and the Chimacum and Port Townsend school districts.

The first student presentation will be by Chimacum students at Chimacum Middle School, 91 West Valley Road, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Thursday.

The second will be by Blue Heron Middle School students at the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St., Port Townsend. The presentation will be from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 14.

During an intensive program of five to eight days in length, students come to the maritime center daily for a full school day.

Maritime center staff members and teachers from the middle schools develop maritime-themed curriculum in every subject area to expose students to diverse skills involved in traveling safely on the water.

Each student has three to four trips aboard the maritime center’s 26-foot longboats where they row and sail in crews of up to 10 students on Port Townsend Bay.

Students learn seamanship and teamwork from captains and mates.

“They develop a sense of self and place within our region’s important maritime history,” said Anika Colvin, communications manager for the maritime center.

In the classroom and on the boats, students learn mathematics through navigation; language arts through maritime nomenclature, sea chanteys and poetry; science through the study of weather, wind, local birds and wildlife; social studies through mapping and historical research; and art with nautical themes.

They also participate in maritime-themed curriculum in art, science, language arts, physical education and social studies.

Blue Heron Middle School’s program includes a boatbuilding and woodworking component. The students work alongside skilled boatbuilders to build a Skunk Island skiff and sea chests, which will be launched and displayed during a celebration on the last day.

Chimacum Middle School’s program includes an additional collaboration with Centrum artists Christian Swenson and Margie McDonald, who add movement and visual art into the maritime theme.

The program will have a theme around “Connectivity and Ghost Nets” (abandoned inactive fishing gear) impacting the environment.

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