Highlights from 30+ Years of Maine Sea Grant’s Education & Stewardship Programming

In 1977, Maine Sea Grant collaborated with the University of Maine College of Education to launch the Northern New England Marine Education Project, which produced some of the region’s earliest K-12 teachers’ resource guides on marine science and maritime heritage, and provided professional development opportunities for teachers in Maine and New Hampshire.

The National Sea Grant Program established the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship in 1979 for graduate students who have an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resource policy. Nine fellows from Maine have completed this prestigious program since our first Knauss fellow in 1998. 

Between 1988 and 2008, the Marine Extension Team trained over 1,000 volunteer monitors and provided support to 40+ groups collectively known as the Maine Shore Stewards. Their work assisted the DMR in opening and maintaining open status on hundreds of acres of clam flats for harvesting, protected public health by monitoring harmful algal blooms, and enhanced awareness of ecosystem health in the Gulf of Maine.

The National Ocean Sciences Bowl was created in 1998 in honor of the International Year of the Ocean. Since its inception, the competition has grown to include 25 regional competition locations with 300 schools and over 2,000 students participating annually. Maine Sea Grant collaborates with the University of Maine School of Marine Sciences, the University of New England, and the University of New Hampshire to host the Nor’Easter Bowl, the regional competition for teams competing from high schools in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

The number of beaches monitored in the Marine Extension Team-coordinated Maine Healthy Beaches Program, with funding from the EPA, increased from three in 2002 to 60 in 2009. Program staff, with Maine Department of Environmental Protection, have trained up to 200 people each year to monitor and assess water quality on beaches and coastal rivers. Participating towns have made improvements to stormwater management and water quality, keeping beaches open for public use and enjoyment.