Your Learning Connection | Vol. 19
Honeycomb Moray Eel
All over the world, in waters both salty and fresh, more than 400 species of eels can be found lurking in caves or twisting about the rocky substrate! Here in New England, the American eel (Anguilla rostrata) calls our local waters home. Living in rivers, bays, and lakes, the American eel will only visit the special Sargasso sea when it is time to have babies, or spawn. To learn more about this epic eel migration visit National Geographic!
At Seacoast Science Center, our resident Honeycomb Moray Eel (Gymnothorax favagineus) is a sight to see in our Restoring Reefs Exhibition in the Eversource Gallery! To learn more about this tropical species, watch the video below. Have you ever wondered what went into building our eel’s habitat? Watch this short video to get a glimpse of how our aquarists created an interactive home for our eel! You can dive even deeper into learning about our Honeycomb Moray Eel here.
Are you interested in coloring an American eel online or in print? Or maybe try your hand at coloring a Moray eel as well? Try out these coloring pages and send us your finished artwork at [email protected]!
Odiorne’s Military History
During WWII the Federal Government determined that Odiorne Point was a critical location to build a naval defense base to protect Portsmouth Harbor. This spot, now 135-acre Odiorne Point State Park and where the Seacoast Science Center sits today, was transformed into Fort Dearborn! Before that time, landowners, like the Sugden family, were given only 30 days to vacate their homes. Soon after, the construction of large concrete bunkers and gun mounts began. It is here where soldiers bravely protected our coastline against enemy vessels.
Create your own fleet to protect your grounds with this fun game while practicing your coordinate graphing skills. May the best captain win!
Fun Fact: The Stone Sugden House, which is is now part of Seacoast Science Center, was a beautiful summer home to the Sugden family, served as officers’ quarters for the coastal defense force at Fort Dearborn during WWII, was a residence for the manager of the state park, and was the Russell B. Tobey Visitor Center at Odiorne Point State Park before reopening as part of Seacoast Science Center in 1992.
A constellation is a grouping of stars in the night sky that represent a figure or an object. Before modern technology, knowledge of constellations and the night sky were very important to sailors navigating at sea. After the sun had set, sailors used the stars and other celestial objects to safely chart their course. This was long before we had things like GPS, compasses, or nautical charts at our fingertips.
Constellations change seasonally, so it was important for seafarers to know which constellations were visible in the sky during a specific time of year in each hemisphere. Based on these constellations and the location of the North Star, sailors could determine their direction.
You can read more about the history of navigating by the stars here.
Nowadays, some stars and constellations may not be visible or as bright in some areas due to light pollution. We are inviting you to get outside and participate in Globe At Night! Become a citizen-scientist: measure and submit your data, all while raising awareness of the impact of light pollution! After you have submitted your data, check out this activity and Create a Constellation!
Make Your Own Quill & Ink
Do you often see turkeys crossing the road or geese flying overhead? For centuries, the feathers from these large birds were used as writing instruments, called quill pens (or quills). In order to properly use this tool, quills require ink and an inkwell. The hollow tip of the feather (the calamus) collects the ink then the ink flows to the tip via capillary action.
Similar to the pencil used today, the tip of a quill pen occasionally had to be resharpened. Do you want to try scribing like our ancestors? Get outside, hunt for a large feather and try out our Make Your Own Quill & Ink Activity!
Fun Fact: Since the majority of writers were right-handed, the feather of a bird’s left wing was considered most desirable. The feather would curve away from the writer’s face rather than tickling their nose!