DMC Appreciates Local Support of Marine Education

In 2016, the Edward A. Myers Marine Conservation Fund donated $2,000 to the K-12 education program at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center in Walpole.

The funds, which were raised through proceeds from the annual Pemaquid Oyster Festival in Damariscotta, provide teaching resources and classroom supplies for students who visit the center, and help to defray field trip costs for schools within the Damariscotta River watershed.

“We appreciate that the Edward Myers Fund has continued to support the DMC’s education programs,” said Anneliese “Lili” Pugh, the center’s K-12 education coordinator. Pugh works with local schools to enhance their marine science curriculum through field trips and other outreach programs.

“Community engagement, including our active K-12 program, is a vital part of the DMC’s mission,” notes Director Dr. Heather Leslie. “Thank you to the organizers and volunteers of the Pemaquid Oyster Festival for helping to support these local programs.”

The festival’s support of marine education has been a long-term endeavor. “In the 15 years since its inception in 2001, the oyster festival has raised over $125,000, all of which has been donated to local schools and environmental organizations for marine education,” said Chris Davis, an Edward Myers Fund board member.

Last year’s gift from the Ed Myers Fund helped the DMC host more than 900 visits from local students. The center also supplied educational marine touch tanks to many area festivals.

Aquaculture is also an important part of the K-12 program, according to Pugh. “We have aquaculture programs for all ages,” she said. “This past year we had third graders growing oysters, homeschoolers cultivating kelp, and high school students studying water quality and its importance for aquaculture.”

She pointed out that’s an important connection considering that the conservation fund was named after Ed Myers. Known as the “grandfather” of oyster growers on the Damariscotta River, Myers was a shellfish aquaculture pioneer whose many achievements included being the first holder of an aquaculture lease in Maine, the first commercial grower of rope-grown mussels in the United States, and the first to come up with the idea of sending live lobsters to long-distance markets by airmail.