When we go down to the low-tide line, we enter a world that is as old as the earth itself—the primeval meeting place of the elements of earth and water, a place of compromise and conflict and eternal change. — Rachel Carson, Edge of the Sea
When Maine Coast Heritage Trust conserved Little Whaleboat Island in 2021, it meant a lot to me personally. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Little Whaleboat throughout my life, and now I can continue to go there with my kids.
I have early childhood memories of sitting on the ledges watching seals and exploring tidepools filled with all kinds of fascinating creatures. Those kinds of experiences at the water’s edge contributed to me eventually studying marine biology in college and, more importantly, they fostered my general interest in the ocean and ocean life and my desire to care for the natural world.
Tide pools are found in the intertidal zone. They are a unique marine ecosystem and serve as a habitat for a myriad of algae and animals. Tide pools can be nurseries for certain species of fish and provide a source of food for shorebirds.
This summer, I want to encourage others to go tidepooling! Tide pools form an indentation in rocks or ledges on the coast. When the tide goes out, a shallow pool and marine life are left behind. You can find all kinds of cool creatures in Maine tide pools, including barnacles, periwinkles, minnows, hermit crabs, and starfish. It’s important to follow some guidelines when tidepooling: 1) wash off sunscreen! 2) tug just once to try to remove a mollusk – let it stay put if it wants to 3) bring a bucket to avoid handling anything too much 4) and put the creatures back where you found them.
Learn more about aquatic creatures commonly found in Maine tide pools, with ourtide pool nature guide. There you’ll also learn about some MCHT preserves where you’ll commonly find tide pools. I encourage you to inquire with a local land trust on the coast for other tips on places to go. In the place that rocksy ledges submerge and reemerge with the swing of the tide is where you’ll find tide pools.
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