International Affairs – The Oceans: Protecting an International Resource

July 22, 2017 to July 29, 2017

Our oceans are the lifeblood of planet Earth and humankind. They flow over nearly three quarters of our planet, and hold 97% of the planet’s water. They produce more than half of the oxygen in the atmosphere, and absorb the most carbon from it. Unfortunately, our oceans are seriously threatened. Our morning theme talks will explore these threats, including pollution, overfishing, acidification, and rising temperatures. We’ll also learn about the government, non-government, and international organizations working to protect the oceans. Recognizing that resources are finite, we’ll consider various protection alternatives, including marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries, and other scientific and legal initiatives. In additional to the theme talks, several workshops are available from which to choose, such as chorus, yoga, and art. Other afternoon activities include softball games, swimming, visits to the Marine Lab, kite-flying, rowboating the harbor, trips to the snack bar, and more relaxed time spent rocking in chairs on the porch. Evening activities include a bonfire, intergenerational dance, Island staff talent show, lay led chapel services, and more.

Youth Programming

Young shoalers are enthusiastically welcomed into the IA Youth Program by friendly faces and engaging children’s staff sure to help fill each day with fun and new experiences. The program is filled with cool, age-appropriate activities and interesting topics related to the conference theme. The island itself also influences what we do together with its rich foundation of history, stories (sometimes ghostly!), adventures and opportunities to learn about the world and water that surround us. Star Island is the kind of place where you meet someone for a week, feel like you’ve known them forever, and end up staying friends for generations! IA young people are assigned together by age; groups won’t be finalized until close to the conference to accommodate shifts in registration. Groups are developed based on the number of children registered overall and in any given age group, with an eye toward keeping groups a fun, manageable size while meeting the needs of the youth in age-appropriate ways. The youth are divided into six groups, the names of which generally reflect the name of the room or building in which they meet. The youth program is for toddlers through senior high students, and meets every day for approximately two hours in the morning and one and a half hours in the afternoon (senior youth on different schedule).

Theme Speakers

Rashid Sumaila, PhD, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, University of British Columbia; Heidi Weiskel, PhD, Staff Scientist, Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW); CAPT Andrew Norris, USCG Ret. Visiting Professor, US Coast Guard Academy; Andrew Sharpless, CEO Oceana, International ocean conservation organization

Minister of the Week

Rev. Robin Bartlett, The First Church in Sterling, MA

Program Fee

Adults: $170
Youth: $130


Visit our website for information on scholarships.

Room & Board Rates

These rates include lodging, meals, and ferry transportation.

IA Standard Shared Standard Single Motel Shared Motel Single
Adult 18+ $939 $1,264 $1,156 $1,680


Youth rates are determined by age on the first day of the program, regardless of room type.

IA Under 6 6-11 Yrs 12-17 Yrs
Youths Free $449 $627

Ferry Schedule

Saturday, July 22
Departure: Portsmouth 2:25 p.m.
Arrival: Star Island 3:25 p.m
Saturday, July 29
Departure: Star Island 8:20 a.m.
Arrival: Portsmouth 9:45 a.m.


Email Kristin Laverty the registrar at