, Newburyport, MA

Local News

July 13, 2013

A 'classroom' with a view

Educator continues to teach all summer -- from his boat


Freeman Condon, a selectman in Salisbury and owner of Beach Plum Farms and Nursery in that community, recently took a cruise, “I really enjoyed the time on the river, and it served as a great break from the kind of work we do (at the nursery) every day,” he said.

“I grew up on the river, and our family had boats since I was about 5,” he added. “The river has changed a lot — not in a bad way — and I enjoyed getting out there and seeing what it is today.”

Much of the voyage of the Yankee Clipper goes upriver, and it winds its way through tributaries west of the 1-95 bridge.

The vessel sometimes takes extended two-and-a-half hour eco-tour journeys through streams and basins that run behind Plum Island. But such journeys are time-consuming, and have to be scheduled in concurrence with the tides because the vessel (two-and-a-half foot draw) will scrape bottom if the tide is out.

When Aziz takes aboard classes of youngsters, sometimes teachers bring out microscopes and textbooks to study what comes out of the venerable Merrimack.

“We take out tourists, and we have commitments to the Boat Camp (a summer activity for youngsters),” said Aziz, who crafts his verbal presentation to the age of the audience. “In addition to enjoying a ride, many visitors want to learn more.

“When teaching school, you get satisfaction by enabling a student to make a breakthrough and understand the material. Here, some adults don’t know what a valuable resource the Merrimack is, and there is satisfaction in talking about its history and its importance today.”

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