BHS MARINE science teacher Andrew McCullough, center, observes algae stocks used to feed a variety of shellfish seeds and larvae. Shown with him are Colleen Haskell, left, an educator at Downeast Institute, and Kyle Pepperman, an aquaculture production and research assistant.

BHS MARINE science teacher Andrew McCullough, center, observes algae stocks used to feed a variety of shellfish seeds and larvae. Shown with him are Colleen Haskell, left, an educator at Downeast Institute, and Kyle Pepperman, an aquaculture production and research assistant.

BRUNSWICK

Brunswick High School students will have the opportunity to conduct marine research thanks to a University of Maine grant in the amount of $35,000.

Community outreach and service learning educator Rick Wilson said the majority of the grant will go to the BHS science department to help fund and start an aquaculture research project.

The grant was part of the university’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, specifically the Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network.

Wilson worked on the grant with Brunswick Marine Resource Officer Dan Devereaux, Susan Olcott of the Tideland Coalition, and Andrew McCullough, marine science teacher at BHS.

“The town of Brunswick Marine Resources Committee through its staff will be locating a suitable intertidal mud flat that will be available and accessible for educational purposes year-round,” Wilson and McCullough said in a statement.

It’s this 50-by-100-foot piece of mud on which Wilson said students will take on experiential science projects.

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With funds from the grant, students will be taking part in applied marine research and data collection on different shellfish species, invasive species such as green crabs, as well as other ecologically important marine species.

McCullough said portions of the grant have already been earmarked for necessary equipment for the science department, including a variety of mud boots and chest waders, data loggers, field download stations, buckets, shovels, shellfish rakes and more.

“This is an amazing opportunity for BHS students to get out in the field for some continuous and meaningful field studies,” McCullough said.

Wilson and McCullough said with continued changes in the ocean environment it will be all that more important to monitor and use young innovative minds to help resolve these complex ecological issues.

Brunswick has 61 miles of coastline and more than 20 miles of river frontage with Brunswick High School located within a mile of Maquoit Bay.

Wilson and McCullough said these types of educational efforts will reach an incredibly broad cross section of the student population, from advanced placement students, to vocational students with a role to play for just about any type of learner.

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“With Brunswick’s vibrant and important marine resources, aquaculture figures to play an important role in the local economy for the foreseeable future,” Wilson and McCullough said. “This grant will provide BHS students with many intriguing opportunities in both education and for future employment.”

McCullough’s marine science and academy students will be able to begin their first data collection in the fall. Wilson said his service learning students will be joining in as the year gets underway.

“We’re going to start out in the fall doing a green crab survey where we’re going to be collecting and measuring and sexing and all by trapping green crabs in the tidal area we’re going to be studying,” McCullough said.

In the spring, McCullough’s class will be setting down nets and seeding the area with clams.

It’s a twist on school calendar versus clamming calendar and the school cannot seed clams in the fall. McCullough is planning on next year’s students to begin in the fall with collecting data on the clams before releasing them into the ocean.

“Next fall we’ll pull the nets in and do a little bit of a species survey of relative clam densities compared to this time now and this time a year ago,” McCullough said.

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The expected result, according to McCullough, will be up to 25,000 more clams going into the ocean to breed, clean up water and “do all the other great things bivalves do.”

Wilson and McCullough recently spent time training at the Downeast Institute for Applied Research and Education on Beal’s Island.

McCullough credited BHS principal Shanna Crofton and superintendent Paul Perzanoski for their support in developing this learning opportunity.

“I am incredibly thankful to our teachers (Wilson and McCullough) for the initiative they took to research and write the grant proposal,” Crofton said. “The opportunities that the funds and resources that this grant will provide to our students are incredible. It will help to enhance our current curriculum by providing an array of hands on real-life learning opportunities that I am confident students will enjoy and welcome.”

[email protected]timesrecord.com

The source

THE $35,000 GRANT was part of the University of Maine’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, specifically the Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network.


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