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Session topics

Below is a list of our session topics for the 2020 Online Summer Season.

Each session includes weather, basic boating and sailing skills, local marine life, and responsible marine stewardship.

Session I: A World Below the Waves (Monday)
During this session we will investigate what lies between the surface and the seafloor. Together, we will try to answer questions like: What sea life is found in the Gulf of Maine and where? How what we do on and off the water has an impact on natural habitats? What is sea farming and who’s doing it? Activities will include: exploring the vegetation in the Damariscotta River and recording what and where it’s found; conversations with local sea farmers, fishermen and scientists about how growing seaweed is affecting the ocean and the air we breathe. Students will gain an understanding of the laws governing the sea farming and fishing industries and the impact of the support from coastal communities on Maine fisheries.

Session II: Sea Fever: What’s Hot in the Gulf of Maine (Tuesday)
This session will focus on the environmental changes that have occurred in the Gulf of Maine since its formation. Together we will investigate how geology, weather and climate change over time, and how these changes impact the organisms living here. Big questions include: What causes environmental changes? How quickly do these changes occur? How do local species respond to these changes?

Session III: Tracking Trash: The Secret Lives of Trash (Wednesday)
In this session, participants will explore where marine debris comes from and where it goes.  We will interview people about their plastic usage at nearby beaches and restaurants, in addition to visiting the transfer station to learn more about where our trash goes in order to create “trash stories.”  Together we will explore different technologies to help solve the problem of plastics in the ocean and work with an artist who uses marine debris as her medium. Participants enrolled in the Stay’s’l and Tops’s’l Program will be conducting their own research by investigating currents, towing for microplastics, and tracking trash in the local waters and on a nearby island.

Session IV: Tall Ships and Taller Tales (Thursday)
Together we will take a look at the history of Shipbuilding in Maine. We will talk with the people that design and build boats and meet and work with shipwrights, artists, musicians, and storytellers that celebrate them through their trade, art, music, and sea tales. We will learn sailing techniques and seamanship skills necessary for collecting scientific data. Working alongside scientists, we will do net tows, use secchi discs, and other scientific sampling methods that will help us gain a better understanding of the marine life in and around the Damariscotta River. Together we will explore the tools used in boatbuilding and use them to build model boats. Experiential outreach will Include behind the scenes tours of boats that have been and are now undergoing restoration.

Session V: Ship to Shore (Friday)
During this session participants will experience what BSSC’s summer program offers on and off the water. Although apart, together we will sail, row, tie knots, plot courses, explore charts, rig a turnabout, Sonar, and Precision 15, learn sailing and nautical terminology, and identify aids to navigation. Also, during our time together, we will gain a better understanding of the relationship between sail and hull design and its connection to recreational boating and scientific research. We will talk with Shipwrights about the innerworkings of the Shipyard in Boothbay Harbor and take a tour of the Ernestina Morissey that is currently undergoing restoration at the Yard. A visit to Washburn & Doughty will help us to gain a deeper understanding about how tugboats are built and their uses.