User and Visitor Guidelines and Forms

Bowdoin faculty and staff interested in conducting research or a project at the Coastal Studies Center do not need to follow this process. Please e-mail Rosie Armstrong if you are affiliated with Bowdoin and would like to use the Coastal Studies Center, including the marine lab.

Center Overview

The Coastal Studies Center is located on Orrs Island on the Maine coast, about 20 minutes from Bowdoin College. It is a natural, protected environment, with 2.5 miles of intertidal shoreline and 118 acres of woodlands and fields. Facilities include a marine laboratory with running seawater, a terrestrial laboratory and art studio, and a converted farmhouse, much used as a meeting place. There are several different terrestrial community types on the peninsula. They include a spruce-fir swamp, fields, an early successional community at the edge of the field, an old apple orchard, and several forest types including red pine, cedar, and oak-pine. There are walking trails through the forests and fields which lead ultimately to the coastline. There are 2.5 miles of shoreline on Harpswell Sound with several small coves, and a small island. The shoreline marine communities are typical of Maine coastal habitats sheltered from waves and include high intertidal splash zone, rocky shores and mudflats.

About the Marine Lab Facility
This marine lab is located about one hundred feet from the shore of Harpswell Sound. The lab is equipped with running sea water and currently there are sixteen aquaria available for research and teaching. There is one large flow tank for studying the effects of flow on marine organisms and plans call for two additional flow tanks and a large wave tank. In addition, four special large tables with sea water aquaria insets aid in the observation of marine life. There is a computer work area but space is limited. Biology, geology and environmental studies courses use the lab. In addition, students and faculty have ongoing research projects in this lab.

Visiting Academic User Guidelines
Visiting users such as visiting courses, conferences, researchers, and outreach groups should have a Bowdoin faculty member as a sponsor. Such sponsorship is necessary for two reasons: (1) Activities at the Coastal Studies Center are to be academic in nature. The involvement of a faculty member is intended to vouch for, and encourage, the academic nature of the planned activities. (2) The Coastal Studies Center does not routinely have the administrative or staff support necessary for the organizational and logistical support of such external activities. Faculty sponsors must be willing to take on substantially all of the logistic and organizational tasks associated with the visiting users. Faculty sponsoring such activities must also either be available when the visitors are present at the Coastal Studies Center or arrange for staff to be present to assist visitors as necessary.

To submit a proposal, please complete the visiting user form. All proposals will also be reviewed by the Dean's office. If you have any questions about submitting a proposal or the process, please contact Rosie Armstrong (

Fees for Visiting Users
The following are guidelines for fees, but it is anticipated that visitors' uses will be variable, and fees charged individual groups may vary according to circumstances as determined by the Coastal Studies Faculty Advisory Committee. Visiting researcher groups (not more than 5 people per group) will be charged $100.00 per week ($14.00 per day). Visiting researchers who anticipate long-term (many months), of very low level use will need to negotiate appropriate fees (contact to initiate  this process). Visiting courses, conferences, and outreach groups will be charged a $50.00 minimum plus $2.00 per person per day. These charges are intended to cover the additional energy, supply, and administrative costs generated by visitors' activities. These fees are intended as a guideline, and may be revised upwards or downwards as appropriate by the Coastal Studies Faculty Committee. In particular, any visiting users that require extensive involvement of Bowdoin staff will be expected to pay the costs of staff time. Any special needs of the visiting groups make incur additional fees.

All users must seek to car pool to the maximum extent possible. Parking at the CSC is very limited (6 spaces). Access by car past the main parking area is only permitted for research, course, and maintenance purposes, and even then only when delivery of equipment, rapidity of access, or safety concerns make vehicle access essential for these officially sanctioned activities.