The founder of Idexx Laboratories in Westbrook is giving $1 million to help explore and expand the links between science and Acadia National Park.

The gift from David Shaw will help launch the “Second Century Stewardship” initiative, which will underwrite programs involving the National Park Service, Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and other institutions.

Shaw announced the gift and the initiative Saturday on Park Science Day at Sieur de Monts in Acadia National Park.

“Modern science provides us with unprecedented ability to be wise stewards of these special places and cultural treasures, for the benefit of future generations,” Shaw said. “And parks offer exceptional opportunities for important scientific research and inspirational education.”

Shaw is a director of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a trustee of the National Park Foundation, so the gift helps bring together those interests. He also served as executive producer of the film “Second Century,” which premiered at Acadia on Saturday. The film is subtitled “Science Behind the Scenery at Acadia National Park.”

Shaw said the science-based initiative will focus on projects at Acadia National Park at the start and then spread to other national parks.

“I’m thrilled to be able to do something like this in my own backyard,” Shaw, who lives in Scarborough, said in a telephone interview Saturday. “But all the parks can benefit from this.”

The program will connect scientists and their research with educators, students and the public to support a greater understanding of science, an appreciation of the natural world and park stewardship.

Science is an often underappreciated aspect of the national parks, said Kevin Schneider, the superintendent of Acadia National Park.

“Our National Parks have always been perceived as a place for recreation, but now we need to communicate to the public that parks are places for science, a place to inform science literacy in our nation,” Kevin Schneider said.

And science is important to assessing how well the parks are operating, Shaw said.

“It’s important to engage science to know what good management looks like,” he said.

Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park is a nonprofit partner of the National Park Service and helps advance a vision for Acadia as a destination for science and inspiration.

Both the National Park Service and Acadia National Park are celebrating their centennials this year.

In addition to founding Idexx, which makes veterinary diagnostic equipment, provides laboratory services and develops tests for dairies and water systems, Shaw is managing partner of Black Point Group, which has investments in technology companies and public service. He has been involved in companies such as Ikaria, Curiosity Stream, Ironwood, Physion, Vets First Choice, and Modern Meadow. He also has worked with AAAS, the National Park Foundation, The Jackson Laboratory, the Sargasso Sea Alliance, Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Maine Medical Center, Hurricane Island Outward Bound, the U.S.-Israel Science and Technology Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, Service Nation and other groups.

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