Heidi Duncanson | Communications Coordinator
Seacoast Science Center attracts tens of thousands of visitors from across the country and around the world each year, but many of its biggest fans are right here in Rye. Local residents get to enjoy all that the Center offers throughout the year and indeed are great advocates for membership and participation.
KK Brown had not lived in Rye long before she discovered Seacoast Science Center and has moved from member to volunteer to now serving on its board of directors. “When I moved to Rye in 2017, I received a letter offering a discounted family membership, which I immediately took advantage of, picturing family get-togethers and trips to the Center,” she explains. “That expectation has proved to be only one of many blessings from membership in this unique and important, inspiring institution. Through it, I’ve had wonderful volunteer experiences and learned more about the history of this area and the Gulf of Maine than I could have from books. It’s a hands-on place in a perfect locale. Rye is so fortunate to be home to the Seacoast Science Center.”
Cory and Laura Belden are Rye residents who are involved with SSC’s busy Marine Mammal Rescue program. “Prior to moving to Rye, we lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and volunteered at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California,” says Cory. “When we heard about Seacoast Science Center starting a Marine Mammal Rescue program in 2014, we knew we wanted to be involved! Volunteering has been a very rewarding experience over the past 8 years with a lot of wonderful success stories. We both take great pride and pleasure in our work with MMR and interacting with the public to help educate them about our neighbors in the ocean. We often meet beachgoers that say they have never seen a live seal and didn’t realize that we share the shoreline with these wonderful creatures. Wildlife conservation is such an important part of our ecosystem, so having the Marine Mammal Rescue program right here in Rye is an amazing and valuable resource to the community.”
Jeff and Jenny Sears are raising their children here in Rye and appreciate the way the Center has enhanced their family’s life. Jenny Sears says, “Seacoast Science Center has played an integral role in helping to instill the values our family holds dear, such as respect, admiration, and a deep love of the ocean and all its creatures.”
Their children Tanner and Sloane have attended SSC’s Safari Summer Camp for four years. “They thoroughly enjoy spending every moment exploring the exquisite area of Odiorne Point State Park with all its different habitats,” Jenny shares. “They come home anxious to tell us about days spent at the ‘magic’ tide pools and all the creatures they found. We often find 8-year-old Tanner educating us on the scientific names of crustaceans, how to tell a female crab from a male and entertaining us with pirate and sailor folklore. The staff at SSC embrace the wonders of childhood education by encouraging curiosity, exploration, and creativity, all while building compassion, confidence, and other life rules such as kindness, respect and responsibility for our environment. We feel so fortunate to have access to this incredible institution and the impact it continues to make in our children’s upbringing and our community.”
Seacoast Science Center is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization providing educational experiences at Odiorne Point State Park on behalf of New Hampshire State Parks. SSC recently renewed its partnership with the state, with a 20-year contract for continued operation within OPSP which includes opportunity for an additional 20 years, so the board and staff are pursuing some exciting longer-range plans. By offering exhibits and programs for all ages with a focus on environmental conservation, Seacoast Science Center hopes to continue inspiring people to take action to preserve our blue planet. The organization is committed to serving the local community and contributing to the quality of life that’s so highly valued in Rye.