To friends along the Niantic River the name is “Captain John” not “Farmer John.” But John Wadsworth is one of a new breed of fisherman making the move from hunter to farmer.
The drive for “farming” in the seafood industry is getting a boost from fishermen like Wadsworth and Milford’s Larry Williams. The two work closely with the Connecticut Sea Grant Extension Program and its aquaculture specialist Tessa Simlick-Getchis to raise shellfish in Long Island Sound.
An oyster grower and hard-clam harvester, Williams works with
Simlick-Getchis on his boat, the Sara B., each month to raise blue mussels in the waters of the Sound. It is believed to be the first attempt to grow the species in the state.
Collector ropes are suspended from buoys in the Sound to catch a spawn of seed mussels. As the mussels grow and weigh down the buoys, they are sorted, placed in mussel socks — bags that look like onion bags — and reattached to long lines to grow. “It’s like having a baby when your mussels spawn,” says Mystic resident Simlick-Getchis.
A fisherman since 1972, Williams endured the 1990s oyster disease crisis, “the worst we ever saw.” That spurred his interest in aquaculture, “not relying on Mother Nature.”
Aquaculture has always interested Waterford’s Wadsworth. After 50
years of managing the family sportfishing business,Wadsworth handed it over to his son and began a small-scale aquaculture business, Niantic Bay Shellfish, LLC. Shaded by the shingled building of Captain John’s Sport Fishing company in Mago Point are two 5-by-12-foot tanks of oysters, hard clams, scallops and razor clams.
Wadsworth is the first in Connecticut to attempt harvesting razor clams, says Simlick-Getchis. What began last September as grain-size razor clams have now grown to 2- to 3-inch creatures. Late last month, the crop was re-bedded in metal cages in the Niantic River.
The fishermen,who applied through grants to Sea Grant for the technical assistance, admire Simlick-Getchis for her expertise — “not to mention the fact she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty,” Wadsworth says.
“Five years ago we were gatherers, and now we’re farmers like any other,” he says.
BOSTON -- At 16, Shaun O'Grady would never have seen himself where he is today—the recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.
The discipline O’Grady, now 29, learned from eight years of service in the United States Marines has advanced him in other area of life--career, academia and family. He admits his path benefited from mentors and other support structures who helped him to reach his goals. The University of Massachusetts Boston graduate begins at University of California Berkeley to study cognitive and conceptual research this fall.
“Marines are taught to do what you are told but in the same corps you are taught the importance of values at all times,” explained Marine Veteran Shaun O’Grady of Somerville. “Honor, Courage, Commitment.”
An observer would never think that the same man left high school his sophomore year so that he could make money. “It was a foolish decision and I knew it as I was making it,” admits O’Grady. But at the time, "I didn’t care."
When two planes hit the twin towers over ten years ago, O’Grady felt compelled to help. “I kept hearing the stories of Marines sacrificing their lives that moved me. I knew I wanted to be a Marine,” he said. "I wanted to be a Marine Corps pilot and then an astronaut like John Glenn...I signed up because I wanted to defend America.”
He quickly learned that he was ineligible because he did not have a high school diploma. Depressed after this meeting with the recruiter, he lost hope. His mother refused to give up her hope and encouraged O'Grady to go get his high school diploma.
At 19, he joined a program at North Shore Community College and earned his GED. He left for boot camp shortly after. O'Grady became the Marine he dreamed of becoming buthe "didn’t feel like I was really a Marine until I joined the fleet.".
After two tours as a scout in Iraq, the young O’Grady returned home a wiser, more mature man. He now understood himself and war. He understood the concept of honor, courage and commitment.
Back in his hometown of Lynn, O’Grady returned to North Shore Community College to get his degree and become a firefighter. He took a philosophy class there that made him rethink his future and he met his future wife, Flora Reyes-Jimenez. Reyes-Jimenez, a Boston College graduate who works in consulting, inspired him.
“You’d be a good firefighter,” he recalled Reyes-Jimenez saying. “But you’d probably be a better academic.”
At the time, O’Grady did not realize all of the opportunities an education would provide beyond the classroom. He also began to understand how much the values he learned as a Marine helped him as a student. He would look around and listen as students complained of their academic struggles. Yet, he knew from his stint as a Marine and witnessing some of his closest friends lose their lives that their stress was trite. And as a veteran Marine, he utilized the focus, discipline and motivation he learned to succeed.
O’Grady flourished in academia and met yet another female figure who would influence his life—Dr. Zsuzsa Kaldy. “She believed in me,” he explained. “You have to have good mentors like that.” She pushed the young O'Grady to work hard and spent endless hours tutoring him to understand the field of psychology. He will continue her work this fall as a graduate research fellow studying cognitive and conceptual psychology at the University of California Berkley.
“You are often created by the environment you live in,” said O’Grady, a Community Organizer for the South Boston Action Center. His work at the Action Center opened his eyes to the depth of social services that nonprofit organizations provide to the community including Catholic Charities.
When he moves out of the nonprofit sector, a theme in his career will remain “to help people to develop the resources to succeed in whatever it is they want to succeed.” He feels it is important to get unrepresented youth exposure to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Inner-city youth who struggle to see opportunities like he once did growing up in Lynn.
“You are duty bound to help others,” he asserted. “But you can’t help others if you can’t help yourself first.”
Now a young leader, O’Grady lives by example. Just like Marines are made, he believes leaders are made not born. He explained how the strongest leaders sacrifice for their subordinates on the battlefield as well as in the boardroom and academia.
“When you don’t have good command,” said O’Grady. “You can’t win no matter how hard or good a fighter you are.”
A good leader will always possess—honor, courage and commitment.
Out-of-school time program creates 21st Century Skills
PEABODY – JANUARY 12, 2016 – Late afternoons are filled with engineering, yoga, cooking and science for students at the William A. Welch School in Peabody.
Over 70 children at the Welch School continue to benefit from the For Kids Only Afterschool (FKO) enrichment program funded by a federal 21st Century Community Learning Center grant. The program supports additional learning time for students during afterschool and summer hours to provide creative and engaging academic enrichment opportunities that help to address college and workforce readiness and success.
Through a joint collaboration with Peabody Public School (PPS) in the fall of 2014, FKO submitted the three-year 21st Century grant proposal and was one of 43 organizations/public school districts across the state of Massachusetts to be funded. FKO also implements the federally funded program at five sites through a similar collaboration with Everett Public Schools and one site in partnership with Salem Public Schools.
At the Welch School, the program runs from school dismissal to 6:00 p.m. four days a week. It is free of charge to families but a student must have a referral from a teacher or principal. A typical day begins with a healthy snack and some free time to enjoy the end of the school-day. All children then complete their homework with guidance from afterschool educators and Peabody Public School certified teachers. At 4:30 p.m., they transition to hands-on, project-based enrichment classes that build on school day curriculum and enable students to become more active and engaged learners. Each day, children chose from a variety of enrichment class options, such as dramatic or creative arts, science or technology, or sports and fitness.
Currently, FKO enrichments at the Welch School include:
· Engineering, children enhance their knowledge of technology as they become engineers, inventors and innovators;
· SPARK Football, through a variety of health and fitness activities focused on the sport of football, students become more active and learn teamwork and collaboration skills;
· Yoga, students learn to focus and practice their listening skills;
· Gardening, students engage in learning through observation, discovery, experimentation and nurturing; and
· International Cooking, where students become young chefs as they learn about cultures around the world through cooking activities.
The goal of the 21st Century program is to help close proficiency gaps, increase student engagement, and support college and career readiness and success. To measure the impact, 21st Century programs are required to utilize the Survey of Academic Youth Outcomes (SAYO), developed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the National Institute of Out-of-School Time.
SAYO data from the first year of 21st Century programming at the Welch School demonstrates there has already been a significant, positive impact on program participants. Through SAYO surveys taken by their classroom teachers at the beginning and end of last school year, FKO students showed improvement across all outcome areas including: Math, Homework, and Communications; as well as areas of Learning Skills, Behavior, Engagement and Relationships with Peers.
The federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers program has been around since 1998. Funding nationally has increased from $40 million in the first year to $1.15 billion in 2015. FKO has been operating 21st CCLC programs within its 18 sites for over nine years. Over 18,000 students participated in 21st CCLC school year and summer programs across Massachusetts last year.
“With our 21st Century Programs, FKO is making learning fun through engaging and interactive activities that compliment school day curriculum,” said Deborah Kneeland Keegan, FKO Executive Director. “We are able to serve more low-income children in the community who would otherwise not be able to attend afterschool programs and see their interest in learning soar through participation in our enrichment programs.”
For over 30 years, For Kids Only Afterschool (FKO) has provided year-round, high-quality out-of-school time programming in communities North of Boston. Each year, over 1,500 school age children benefit from learning and enrichment beyond the school day at For Kids Only Afterschool including those from low-income households, with disabilities, who are English language learners or from newcomer populations, or who need supervised socialization activities.