The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA), Nantucket’s Science Center, will hold its annual animal “Release Day” this Saturday, September 2 from 10 am to 1 pm at the MMA Aquarium located at 28 Washington Street, Nantucket. Admission is free and the public is invited to this event.
This free event attracts hundreds of children and families who come to help release the marine life from the Aquarium back into Nantucket Harbor from where they were collected. Armed with plastic buckets, Aquarium staff direct the young volunteers, turning them into a bucket brigade to release the animals. Attendees should plan to possibly get wet.
“The creatures we release back to Nantucket Harbor are ones that we caught during the summer. These aquatic animals provide a rich learning experience for our Aquarium visitors. But, like each year in the past, we send these creatures back to their ocean home at the end of the season,” says Dr. Emily Goldstein Murphy, Director of Natural Science at the Maria Mitchell Association. Animals to be released include horseshoe crabs, trigger fish, crabs, skates, dogfish, and many other species. The event is organized with different species released over the three-hour event. Interns and Aquarium staff direct the young volunteers in the proper and safe way of reuniting the animals with Nantucket Harbor. Well over one hundred animals will be returned to the ocean. Attendees should be prepared to get wet.
The Maria Mitchell Association is named for America’s first female astronomer, Maria Mitchell, best known for discovering a comet over Nantucket in October 1847. She went on to become the first female astronomy professor at Vassar College. The Maria Mitchell Association was founded in 1902 to preserve her legacy of scientific achievement and to carry on her passion for hands-on learning. Today, the Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories (Loines and the Vestal Street Observatory), as well as the MMA Aquarium, the Natural Science Museum, and the birthplace of Maria Mitchell.