TeMPEST is a program just for high schoolers, hosted by The Maritime Aquarium, with a focus on science, engineering, and the environment. Tempest is an opportunity to get out of the classroom and into the real world of amazing developments in sustainability, ecology, engineering; work with your hands and expand your horizons; and spend time with a great group of like-minded people. Begun in 2014, TEMPEST originally stood for “teen maritime programs emphasizing science and technology”. Tempest is free to students in grades 9-11.
Tempest has four seasons: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer. Each season offers multiple opportunities for participation in the form of “waves” and “anchors”. You may choose to participate during all four seasons, or just one. During each season you can register for as many waves and anchors as you like. You can also skip seasons entirely if you have conflicts with other activities like sports.
Tempest consists of a series of “waves”, which are multi-session programs with unique themes, such as underwater technology, solar energy, or Long Island Sound ecology. Depending on the subject and season, waves meet two to five times for two to four hours per session. Expect a deep dive into the subject area, which may include engineering projects and challenges, meetings with experts, and hands-on field experiences. With the exception of fieldwork, waves take place at the Aquarium in one of our labs or classrooms.
Waves can be supplemented with “anchors”: single-day programs related to Tempest’s mission of science, engineering and conservation. Anchor sessions may take place at the Aquarium or be offered with other local science and conservation organizations, such as Audobon. Anchors may include attending talks by local scientists, environmental festivals, beach clean-ups or tree plantings, and citizen science opportunities around the area.
What you receive for successfully completing waves and anchors. (Kind of like a gold star, but better). Waves are worth 5-6 seals; anchors are worth 1-2 seals. The more waves and anchors you complete, the more seals you receive. Accumulating certain numbers of seals will “unlock” extra-special Tempest opportunities, like overnight trips or waves with very limited availability, as well as the final internship!
Tempest Garden Odyssey
Taking place offsite at the Aquarium's partner, the Maritime Odyssey Preschool, students will create and implement a design and maintenance plan for the preschool's outdoor learning garden. Like the best gardens, this wave will include a little bit of everything, from botany and soil science, to planting and building, to conducting STEM and nature activities with preschoolers in the garden space.
Wednesdays, April 15, 22, 29 & May 6
3:30 - 5 p.m.
It's off to the races in this hands-on engineering wave! Students will kick off the sunny season by designing and building miniature solar-powered vehicles, testing and optimizing for speed and efficiency, and finally heading to Oyster Shell Park to go for the gold in the Solar Car Olympics.
Saturdays, May 9 & 16
1 - 3:30 p.m.
City Nature Challenge
Compete with cities from around the world to see who can make the most observations of nature, find the most species, and engage the most people. During this three session wave, participants will learn how to use iNaturalist, a social platform for nature findings, and spend time both outside and on our vessel logging as many plant and animal observations as they can!
Saturdays, April 18, 25 & May 2
12:30 - 4 p.m.
The Maritime Aquarium is excited to bring the Gills Club to Connecticut! The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy’s Gills Club program provides hands-on opportunities for participants to further their understanding of all things shark. Learn how biologists collect data, tag sharks, and discover engineering challenges associated with such a difficult task. Coupled with seeing sharks up close at the aquarium, this is a great way to become shark smart! The Gills Club is designed for girls, but all are welcome to participate!
Saturdays, May 9, 16 & 30
9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Students in grades 9-11 can apply to join the TeMPEST program. The earlier you join the program, the more opportunities will be available. You can join the program during any season, but it is strongly encouraged to register for a wave at least a week in advance.
Click here to fill out the TeMPEST application. Once your application is approved, you can register for waves and anchors on our website as well.
There is no cost to participate in Tempest. The Aquarium provides all materials and supplies. We regret that we are not able to provide transportation to the Aquarium for Wave meetings, or to Anchor opportunities. Exception: if a multi-session wave includes an off-site field trip, we will provide busing at no charge.
We understand you may have many commitments – sports, band, school play and more. Waves will be offered on a rotating basis from year to year. For example, Solar Power may be offered on Tuesdays in the spring one year, and on Saturdays in the fall the following year. If you’re interested in something specific, chances are it will come around again soon!
We encourage you to register for the waves and anchors that are right for you! Each fall, we will list all waves scheduled for the year. Anchors will be added seasonally. This allows you to design your own schedule focusing on your interest areas.
To remain active in Tempest, you need to complete 12 seals per four-season period (fall through summer). This works out to two waves and two anchors per year. If you’re not able to get to 12 seals during a certain year, we’ll ask you to re-apply to the program next year. That said, if you do EVERYTHING, you can usually get up to 50+ seals in a year! Some waves may require a certain number of seals to register. You need 60 seals to participate in the internship, which is offered after your junior year.
Tempest is run by Education Manager Bridget Cervero. Bridget can be reached at email@example.com or 203-852-0700 ext. 2281.