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Martha's Vineyard residents find oceanography class' buoy drifter

[media-credit name=”courtesy Kevin McGrath” align=”alignleft” width=”300″] Martha’s Vinyard residents Chris Scott and Caitlin Houghton hold the two halves of this school’s oceanography class’ buoy drifter.
by Maxwell Kozlov
Caitlin Houghton, a 12-year-old resident of Martha’s Vineyard, recently found a large wooden object on a walk along the beach with her mother.
It turned out to be a broken half of this school’s oceanography class’ buoy drifter, which is a device that floats at the water’s surface to measure different variables including ocean currents.
The class put the buoy drifter into the Vineyard Sound Thursday, Oct. 11, and Houghton found the buoy Wednesday, Oct. 24.
Senior Sophie Bertling, who is in the oceanography class said, “It shows how some things are in the real world––they break,” Bertling said.
According to science teacher Barbara Gibson, who teaches the oceanography class, this project shows how technology is used and how ocean currents affect marine life.
She said that the half of the drifter that Houghton found was broken and had stopped sending signals.
Houghton’s mother, Amy Houghton, said that she and her daughter were walking on a private beach on the northernmost part of Martha’s Vineyard when a flash of pink electrical tape caught her daughter’s eye, and she ran ahead, finding the buoy on the beach.
When Houghton found the broken half of the buoy, she found the names of the oceanography students who put the drifter in the ocean and a phone number for the lead scientist. Houghton’s mother, Amy Houghton, called the number written on the piece of the buoy because she said she and her daughter were wondering who had the other piece of the drifter.
It turns out that the other half of the buoy had a GPS tracker in it, according to Amy Houghton.
To find the second half of the drifter buoy, Amy Houghton called her friend who works at the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust (MVPT) because the tracker was emitting signals close to a church protected by the MVPT.
Houghton’s discovery was chronicled in the Martha’s Vineyard Times. According to senior Gina Bueno, a student in the oceanography class, “I was pretty shocked because it was in the Martha’s Vineyard Times and it was a big deal.”

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