Many thanks, Lili!

The University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center recognized Annelissa “Lili” Pugh for her commitment to marine science education as she leaves the position of DMC K-12 Education Coordinator in late November.

“We are very grateful to Lili Pugh for her dedication and many contributions to the Center,” said Heather Leslie, Director of the DMC.

Pugh has been the heart and soul of the DMC’s K-12 program for six years. Each year she welcomed hundreds of students from the Pemaquid Peninsula and beyond to the DMC for hands-on learning experiences.

“The greatest compliments I have received,” Pugh said,” are when students tell me that they want to become a marine scientist when they are older.  Then I know the experience has sparked some new understanding and appreciation for the ocean.”

In addition to her on-site programs focusing on marine biology and aquaculture, Pugh and a host of undergraduate and graduate students brought touch tanks to popular community events like the annual Oyster, Alewife, and Pumpkin Festivals.

Pugh and Sarah Gladu, Director of Education and Environmental Monitoring at the Damariscotta River Association, developed the Damariscotta Estuarine Education Program (DEEP), which combined classroom sessions with field trips to the DMC for 6-8th graders.

“Working with Lili has been an absolute pleasure,” said Gladu. “We have a mutual belief that it is imperative that the next generation understands the scientific method, has knowledge about the estuarine environment and develops a deep love for this place.”

Despite Pugh’s departure, these are exciting times for the DMC. Construction will start soon on a new pier, along with major renovations to the DMC Flowing Seawater Lab, thanks to a $1.5M award from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and matching funds from UMaine and State marine bond funds.

During the construction, the DMC will not be taking reservations for K-12 field trips. However, if you have ideas for future marine education programs at the DMC, please forward your comments to Linda Healy at