Milford Marine Institute adds rare mollusk to its collection

The Milford Marine Institute recently acquired a rare, large mollusk in the family strombidae, and it will be one of the stars of this year’s summer camps for children.

The Milford-based museum acquired the Strombus goliath from a collector in Florida who lives on Treasure Island, on the west coast. It is one of the largest of all the conchs and one of the rarest, said Director Tim Chaucer.

“Everyone is familiar with the pink or queen conch but the goliath is 13 inches in size with an unusually long flared outer lip,” Chaucer said. “Like all members of the strombus family, it is a vegetarian.”

Marine camp

The new specimen will be shown and handled by campers during the institute's 31st season of Marine Biology Camp. The institute, in conjunction with the Milford Recreation Department, will run its camp from June 23 to 27.

Campers will examine gastropods, pelecypods and cephalopods from the institute's extensive collection. They will learn which families are vegetarians and which are carnivores and they will learn about the diverse feeding mechanisms of these animals.

“Later, campers will collect gastropods and pelecypods from local habitat areas, learn the common and Latin names, and mount them on a pegboard to be taken home,” Chaucer said.

At Marine Biology Camp, campers will study the nine marine habitat areas and learn about the cetaceans — whales, dolphins, porpoise — pinnipeds, sea turtles, sharks and marine fishes as well as crustaceans.

Campers will use a seine net, set up a temporary aquarium and identify marine specimens such as pipefish, flatfish and blowfish.

The camp runs from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day.

The fee is $145 for the week, open to children 8-16 with older children becoming camper/counselors.

Campers bring their own lunch.

Archaeology, Native Culture

Archaeology and Native Culture camp will operate at the Gulf Pond Museum in two sessions: July 7-11 and July 14-18. Campers learn about the history of the Paugussett people who inhabited the area for centuries before the Europeans came.

Students will adopt a native name, learn to drum, and spend many hours at the site of a native American village looking for the "tools of our ancestors" as they learn proper archaeological techniques.

“In 2011 campers discovered an ancient full grooved axe estimated to be over 4,000 years old,” Chaucer said. “Camp runs from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and is open to children age 8-18 with older children becoming camper/counselors.

The cost is $145.

Bird identification

Bird Identification Camp will take place at the Gulf Pond Museum July 21 to 25. Campers will study the numerous bird groups from the museum collection and will learn to use a field guide with field marks. They will choose favorite birds, which they will draw, have cut out, sand and paint to be taken home as a work of ornithological art.

The program is open to campers 7-16 with older campers serving as camper/counselors. The fee is $145 per week, and class meets from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Call to register

The Milford Marine Institute can be contacted at 203-874-4000 or Bob Hayes at the Milford Recreation Department at 203-783-3283.