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Exploring the Science of Seaweed Farming

Seaweed planting, 2022

A hands-on marine science program

Exploring the Science of Seaweed Farming is an in-school program about Maine seaweed farming that integrates sea, science and observation skills, and real time data collection and analysis done by students and teachers at: Boothbay Sea and Science Center, Whitefield Elementary School, Boothbay Region Elementary School, Edgecomb Eddy School,  Wiscasset Middle High School,  Southport Central School,  Georgetown Central School.

Through participation in hands-on marine science activities onshore, offshore, and in the classroom, the overall goal of Exploring the Science of Seaweed Farming is to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation for the seaweed farming industry developing in Maine especially along the Damariscotta River … an effort directed toward improving the understanding of an industry that is having a positive economic impact worldwide and potentially positively stimulate economic growth in Maine.

The marine environment is facing severe challenges and impacts by pollution, ocean acidification, human development, and invasive species. This program stimulates investigation exploring these issues, challenges students and teachers to think critically about future problems and possible solutions, and helps students gain a greater understanding of where they live and have a stronger sense of place.

In the State of Maine, there are very few Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) educational opportunities available to students that are experiential (hands-on) in nature. The Boothbay Sea and Science Center’s programs are unique in this way – where students are immersed in a science-learning environment (both shore- based and sea-based activities), learn about aquaculture and ocean conservation, and work side by side with educators, scientists and aquaculturists. Our programs open “doors of opportunity” in the sciences to help students gain lifelong skills and discover career paths leading to work in STEM fields.

Participating schools and farms

Fall 2023

Schools: Southport Central (yr. 7), Boothbay Region Elementary (yr. 7), Edgecomb Eddy (yr. 7 ½), South Bristol (yr. 4), Medomak Middle (yr.4), Lisbon Middle (yr. 4), Lincoln Academy (yr. 3), Greenville Consolidated (yr. 3), Pownal Elementary (yr. 2), King Middle (yr. 2), Chelsea Elementary (yr. 1), Tremont Consolidated (yr. 1), Biddeford Middle (yr. 1), Sanford Middle (yr. 1), Great Salt Bay (yr. 1)
Seaweed: Sugar Kelp, Alaria Kelp
Farms 2023: Spartan Sea Farms (Casco Bay), Clark Cove (Damariscotta River), PDion Farm (Damariscotta River), Springtide Seaweed (Frenchman Bay)

Fall 2022

Schools: Southport Central (yr. 6), Boothbay Region Elementary (yr. 6), Edgecomb Eddy (yr. 6 ½), South Bristol (yr. 3), Medomak Middle (yr. 3), Lisbon Middle (yr. 3), Greely Middle (yr. 2), Lincoln Academy (yr. 2), Greenville Consolidated (yr. 2), Pownal Elementary (yr. 1), King Middle (yr. 1), Medomak High (2/2023)
Seaweed: Sugar Kelp, Alaria Kelp
Farms 2022: Spartan Sea Farms (Casco Bay); PDion Farm (Damariscotta River)

Fall 2021

Schools: Southport Central (yr. 5), Boothbay Region Elementary (yr. 5), Edgecomb Eddy (yr. 5 ½), South Bristol (yr. 2), Medomak Middle (yr. 2), Freeport Middle (yr. 2), Lisbon Middle (yr. 2), Greely Middle (yr. 1), Lincoln Academy (yr. 1), Bergstrom Homeschool (yr. 1), Greenville Consolidated (yr. 1), Medomak High (1/2022)
Seaweed: Sugar Kelp, Alaria Kelp
Farms: Maine Fresh Sea Farm (Clark Cove -Damariscotta River), PDion Farm (Damariscotta River)

Fall 2020

Schools: Southport Central School, Boothbay Region Elementary School, Edgecomb Eddy School, Freeport Middle School, Lisbon Middle School, South Bristol School, Medomak Middle School
Seaweed: Sugar Kelp, Skinny Kelp
Farm: PDion Farm (Damariscotta River)

Fall 2019

Schools: Southport Central School, Boothbay Region Elementary School, Edgecomb Eddy School, Whitefield Elementary School, Wiscasset Middle High School, Georgetown Central School
Seaweed: Sugar Kelp
Farm: PDion (Damariscotta River)

Fall 2018

Schools: Seedlings at; Southport Central School, Boothbay Region Elementary School, Edgecomb Eddy School, Whitefield Elementary School, Wiscasset Middle High School
Seaweed: Sugar Kelp
Farm: PDion (Damariscotta River)

Fall 2017

Schools: Seedlings at; Southport Central School, Boothbay Region Elementary School, Edgecomb Eddy School
Seaweed: Sugar Kelp
Farm: PDion (Damariscotta River)

Winter 2017

Schools: Seedlings at; Edgecomb Eddy School
Seaweed: Sugar Kelp
Farm: none

Summer 2016

We begin with Exploring Maine Aquaculture Summer Program at the BSSC Summer Program.

 

Thank you to all who support this program:

  • Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
  • Maine Sea Farms
  • Springtide Seaweed
  • Ocean Point Marina
  • University of Maine EPSCoR SEANET STEM Workforce Development Mini-Grant
  • Maine Community Foundation – Lincoln County Fund
  • Celia Lipton Farris and Victor W. Farris Foundation
  • Harold Dudley Charitable Fund
  • Onion Foundation
  • Edgecomb Eddy School
  • Boothbay Region Elementary School
  • Southport Central School
  • Whitefield Elementary School
  • Wiscasset Middle High School
  • Georgetown Central School
  • Freeport Middle School
  • South Bristol School
  • Lisbon Middle School
  • Medomak Middle School

The process, from planting to eating

Harvesting our 2021 crop