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BIMI Past Events

Past Events

BIMI Tuesday Talks

Elizabeth Rush is a writer, photographer, and educator whose work explores how humans adapt to changes enacted upon them by forces seemingly beyond their control. In “Rising,” Rush presents first-hand accounts of those living through sea level rise today from Staten Island to Miami, Louisiana, and the San Francisco Bay area – scientists, activists, and members of communities both currently at risk and already displaced. Please join us for a fascinating presentation, followed by light snacks and refreshments.

Two days after Christmas in 1738, a British merchant ship traveling from Rotterdam to Philadelphia grounded in a blizzard on the northern tip of Block Island. The ship carried emigrants from the Palatinate and its neighboring territories in what is now southwest Germany. The 105 passengers and crew on board—sick, frozen, and starving—were all that remained of the 340 men, women, and children who had left their homeland the previous spring. They now found themselves castaways, on the verge of death, and at the mercy of a community of strangers whose language they did not speak.

Shortly after the wreck, rumors began to circulate that the passengers had been mistreated by the ship’s crew and by some of the islanders. The stories persisted, transforming over time as stories do, and in less than a hundred years, two terrifying versions of the event had emerged. These tales became known as the legend of the Palatine , the name given to the ship in later years, when its original name had been long forgotten.

So how did the rumors begin? What really happened to the Princess Augusta and the passengers she carried on her final, fatal voyage? Through years of painstaking research, Jill Farinelli reconstructs the origins of one of New England’s most chilling maritime mysteries.

BIMI is bringing back two of the Island’s most popular singers of the late 80’s:  Jon Campbell and Everett Black. They will appear at the COVE ROOM at BIMI on July 17th at 7:00PM. Jon and Everett have played many times together.  Do you remember Jon at the “old” Royal Hotel or the pre-renovated National Hotel before he went on to fame? Or Everett playing at the Mystic Seaport Museum or playing with the Wickford Express or Compass Roads bands? Each entertainer brings a little something different to the “party.” Everett (who has a Granddaughter on the Island) does the more traditional Nautical Songs and Shanties, encouraging the audience to participate in the choruses. Jon, on the other hand is more contemporary and is also a songwriter. He has a few Block Island songs loaded with nostalgia and humor that we hope he will play.  When they play and sing together, you can’t help yourself from singing and laughing “like a drunken sailor.”

BIMI is sponsoring a joint presentation on the change in the electricity supply on Block Island over the last 10 years. Barbara and Bryan are two island residents who, each from their different perspective, have been devoted to creating a sustainable, affordable energy supply for the island. They will present a timeline of:

  • the Block Island Power Company (BIPCO) of/and before 2007;
  • the creation of the Energy Utility Task Force by the Town of New Shoreham to address power issues on the island;
  • the role of the Block Island Wind Farm in that discussion and subsequent events;
  • the current status of BIPCO and how it was established as a stand-alone, rate-payer-owned utility; and
  • the status of offshore wind as an energy industry that is developing in RI and throughout the Northeast.

Changing climate, oil and gas activities, commercial shipping, potential oil spills, mining for precious minerals and other human activities currently impact the Arctic and pose significant threats to its ecosystems, animals and people. We do not know what the future holds for Belugas, an Arctic and sub-Arctic cetacean and a source of cultural sustenance for indigenous peoples. However, we do know that the loss of sea ice increases the potential for increased shipping traffic and exploration resulting in increased human contact and noise, emerging pathogens, pollutants, and shifts in predator/prey relationships. Dr. Romano will touch upon the research that Mystic Aquarium is conducting on Aquarium belugas that will contribute to our knowledge of wild belugas and contribute to the management and recovery of endangered populations. Moreover, she will take you to the field where the research team is studying belugas at three different locations in the Arctic. Finally, the importance and the tie between belugas and indigenous peoples will be discussed.

Biography Notes:

Tracy Romano, Ph.D., Vice President of Biological Research & Chief Scientist
Dr. Tracy Romano graduated with a BS in Biology from Saint Michael’s College in Vermont and received her PhD in Neurobiology & Anatomy from the University of Rochester, School of Medicine.  As a National Research Council Fellow, Dr. Romano investigated the impacts of “stressors” (such as sound, changes in temperature, pollution, etc.) on the health of dolphins and beluga whales in conjunction with the U.S. Navy and The Scripps Research Institute.  In 2004, she moved her research and laboratory to Mystic Aquarium. Currently, Dr. Romano is Vice President of Biological Research and Chief Scientist at the Aquarium, where she leads a team focused on aquatic animal health and conservation biology. She serves on multiple scientific advisory panels, was President of the International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine, has created and conducted a nationally recognized science education and cultural exchange program for Native American youth, has led over 15 field expeditions to the Arctic and has made significant scientific contributions to the field of aquatic animal health.

Ocean wind farms are in the wind. The 30 megawatt Block Island Wind Farm (BIWF) is being followed by 1400 megawatts of power that has already been contracted for by the states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York.

Deepwater Wind (DWW), the developer of the BIWF, is on the hook to deliver 600 megawatts of ocean energy. What has research told us to date about the impact of the BIWF on tourism, habitat, fish and fishermen?  And what is expected when multiple wind farms are built?

Most fishermen are supportive of ocean wind energy if developed and located responsibly with input from fishermen. Recreational fishermen like the structure that wind farms create. It’s much like jetties, bridges, reefs and the structure that oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico have created for years. Mussels grow on the bases of the wind towers, small fish are attracted to the mussels and larger fish arrive to forage on the small fish.

Find out about wind farms and their impact on fish, fishermen and the environment during a presentation given by Capt. Dave Monti. Capt. Monti is a recreational fishermen and charter captain. He writes a weekly fishing column for the Providence Journal and 13 other daily and weekly newspapers, blogs and sport fishing magazines. He is vice chair of the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council that makes commercial and recreational fishing regulation recommendations, a vice president of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association and an active member of the Rhode Island Party & Charter Boat Association.

The great Tohoku Earthquake and subsequent tsunami that took place on March 11th of 2011 demolished much of Japan, including the nuclear power plant located on the coast of Fukushima Prefecture on the main island. Immense amounts of radioactivity escaped the damaged power plant both into the atmosphere and, primarily, into the ocean. People in Japan and around the World were deeply concerned about the consequences of that disaster. Would that radioactivity spread globally, how much was released, would human health be at risk? In this presentation, Dr. Baumann will tell you about the impacts of this radioactive spill on marine life and associated health risks to people, and how radioactive Cesium spread in the ocean. She will also tell you what we have learned about by using radioactive Cesium from Fukushima as a tracer to examine other oceanic processes.

Come tell your stories. We’re celebrating the first 100 years of the building that is now the Block Island Maritime Center and the 20th anniversary of the founding of BIMI. And we’re thinking about all that has happened there over that time.

Were you a server or a cook or a bartender? Maybe you were a customer. Do you have memorabilia stashed in a trunk in the attic? Or hanging on the wall? Bring it on and we’ll find a way to display it for the enjoyment of all. Tell us a story about those days. The Statute of Limitations has passed long ago so, let it all hang out.

There’s no strict format to the evening…just a group of us remembering the history of a building that, in 1917, was built as a recreation place for the Navy personnel that were on the Island. The officers lived across the street at the Naragansett. When WWI was over, the government left on January 1, 1919. What happened after that?? We hope to find out from YOU on Tuesday, August 28th. Sure, there’s history written but you can add the personal stories that make it Block Island.