Institute Brings Coastal Science to Maine Educators

Story posted July 18, 2005

They might have been tourists scrambling over the rocky Maine coast, or a bunch of friends enjoying a day at the shore. But the group was actually a team of eight Maine middle-school science teachers getting a head start on the school year.

exploring the beach

From June 26-July 1, 2005, Bowdoin was home base for the first Bowdoin College Coastal Science Institute for Middle School Educators. The weeklong intensive, which was hosted by the Coastal Studies Center (CSC), brought together four pairs of teachers to learn information and techniques for bringing coastal science into the classroom.

The theme of the program was invasive coastal species, with a particular focus on those affecting the Maine coast. The teachers participated in discussions about inter-tidal ecology and species, which were presented by speakers including : Elizabeth Stephenson, University of Maine, David Delaney, McGill University; and Tracy Hart, Maine Sea Grant. These lectures and discussions covered the identification of invasive species, their economic and environmental impacts, and an analysis of case studies.

Participants then took their knowledge into the field for a variety of hands-on activities at coastal locations , including Bailey Island, Biddeford Pool, Two Lights State Park, and the Coastal Studies Center Marine Lab.

In the classroom, participants explored various software programs, films and Websites to use as classroom resources, and were given the opportunity to brainstorm curricular ideas for both coastal and inland projects.

CSC-group.jpg
Pairs of science teachers came from around the state to participate in the Bowdoin College Coastal Science Institute for Middle School Educators

"The overall goal of the program is to provide teachers with a professional development opportunity that helps translate hands-on coastal science into the classroom." said Coastal Studies Center (CSC) Director Anne Henshaw. "We're very pleased with the results of this year's program, and hope to work with our partners to take this program forward."

The Institute was organized by a collaborative team that included: the CSC; Bowdoin faculty members Chuck Dorn, Suzanne Aldridge, and Marney Pratt; Bowdoin Lab Instructors Pam Bryer and David Guay; area science teachers Sue Lamdin and Peter Hills; and representatives from Maine Sea Grant, the University of Maine, and Gulf of Maine Research Institute.

Institute participants earned contact hours, were given equipment, and received a modest stipend for taking part in the program. Participating schools were : Bonny Eagle, Fort Fairfield, Winthrop, and York Middle Schools.

The Institute was funded by grants from the Libra Foundation, the Alison Wrigley Rusack Family Foundation, and Geoff Rusack '78.

Story by Rose Teng '07

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