Welcome to Week 1: The Natural History of Your Place

Welcome to the Coasts and Communities Open Course,
My name is Anamarija Frankic, and I will be one of your instructors for this five-week
course. This first week you are going to learn about
natural aspects of our coasts and watersheds. We are going to take you to different unique
places in Massachusetts. We will introduce you to our faculty and their
research. You will learn about the basic geological laws and principles, the formation of coastlines,
their rocks and minerals. On Nantucket Islands you will explore how
how land mass was formed by glacial movements, and how the island’s changing coastline is
exposed to storms and erosion. You will also learn how beaches and coastal habitats were
formed, and how they adapt to constant changes. You will see beautiful salt marshes, eel grass
beds and shellfish species unique to each costal habitat. This week we will also focus on watersheds,
an essential part of our coastal environment. You will explore one watershed by visiting
the Charles River, and learn about hydrological cycle, biodiversity and ecosystem goods and
services, each of which contribute to healthy water systems. Our goal is to peak your interest
and inspire you to explore natural environments around you. We hope you will enjoy this first week. We
look forward to hearing from you, and to sharing your coastal stories and images.

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