Session: Dive in! Hands-on activities to inspire coastal engagement

Here’s your chance to participate in a session that will get you out of your seat! Join educators, researchers, and outreach specialists sharing interactive activities on topics ranging from fisheries and green crabs to community resilience and teacher training. You’ll have a chance to rotate through three 20-minute activities of your choosing. This session is ideal for anyone eager to gain new ideas and skills to engage in coastal science.


CSI: Field Expert training

Let’s flip the idea of youth as spectators of science! Join us to discuss SSC’s Field Naturalist Framework strategy for empowering student and community participants with the confidence, field skills and inspiration they need to get outside collecting data and observations. Our field science goals are for participants to: Engage directly with nature in local community (citizen) science research investigations, Think like a scientist (science/engineering practices and inquiry), and practice 3-Dimensional Learning directly in the field. Come ready to practice your field skills and share ideas.

Kate Leavitt, Seacoast Science Center

Kate is the Chief Program Officer at Seacoast Science Center, in Rye, NH, where she works to engage her staff, funders, partners and networks in developing high quality, science-based learning experiences that nurture personal connections with Odiorne Point State Park and the coastal marine environment through first person interaction. Kate holds a B.S. in Marine and Freshwater Biology from University of New Hampshire, and  M.A. in Biology from Miami University.


Discovering the World of Sustainable Fisheries

This workshop will provide experience with hands-on sustainable fisheries exploration through a series of activities designed for grades 3-5. The lessons are based on research currently being conducted by the Maine EPSCoR eDNA project. This curriculum connects students with science research and career exploration. Through experiential activities, students discover new concepts in scientific research, focused on using new methods (environmental DNA) to investigate current and historical fish ecosystems. These activities focus on habitats, DNA, genetics, engineering, and more. These activities present a connection to authentic science and place-based learning for classrooms across Maine. For all schools, they provide an opportunity to develop scientific literacy and an understanding of the role scientific research plays in the preservation and enhancement of our Nation’s food system and economy.  All lessons are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards and include opportunities for learners to develop the ability to engage in science discourse, and connect learning to their everyday worlds. Participants will leave with access to the lessons and ideas for use in their classroom or in informal learning settings. Support for this project is provided through a National Science Foundation award to Maine EPSCoR at the University of Maine.

Gabrielle Brodek, University of Maine

Kristen Thompson, University of Maine

Gabrielle Brodek is a recent graduate from the University of Maine’s Research in STEM Education Masters Program (in Teaching), with a concentration in Life Sciences. During her time in the program, she held a Graduate Assistantship position in the 4-H Cooperative Extension office, developing a curriculum for grades 3-5 related to sustainable fishing and eDNA in the state of Maine. Gabrielle’s STEM education research interests include teaching and learning in formal and informal learning settings, personal significance, and affect.

Kristen Thompson is currently a Graduate Student at the University of Maine in the MST program. She is currently working as part of the Maine EPSCoR eDNA Project through the 4-H Cooperative Extension to develop a curriculum to bring the ideas of harmful and shifting species to 3rd– 5th graders. Kristen has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Maine. 


Training one Teacher Trains many Students: Coastal Science in the Hands of the Next Generation

The Teachers on the Estuary (TOTE) program is a coastal science and field-based national teacher training initiative of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. Learn how one high-school teacher from Hampton, NH went from attending TOTE workshops at the Great Bay Discovery Center focused on climate change impacts to coastal ecosystems, to revising a unit on ecosystems to incorporate the impact of climate change, and the resulting sea level rise, on local salt marshes.

The presentation will include a description of the TOTE workshop, a demonstration of activities used with the teachers, and an overview from the teacher/classroom perspective on how lessons learned in the teacher training were translated to her students in the field.  Topics discussed will include overcoming barriers to taking field trips with high-school students, how to create activities and lessons that are easily integrated into the curriculum and that teachers will actually use.

Kelle Loughlin, Great Bay Discovery Center

Barbara Reid, AP Environmental Science Teacher, Winnicunnet High School

Kelle Loughlin, Education Coordinator of the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Director of the Great Bay Discovery Center for over 23 years. Holds a Master of Education in Environmental Science, Secondary Ed.  

Barbara Reid is the AP Environmental Science Teacher at Winnicunnet High School.  


Green Crab pre-molt sorting 101: the first step to sell soft-shell green crabs

The European green crab (Carcinus maenas) is a harmful invasive species that has been linked to the decline of the soft-shell clam industry in New England, as well as the degradation and loss of critical eelgrass and salt marsh habitat. Compounding these issues is the link between increasing green crab abundance and increasing ocean temperature. Recent green crab mitigation efforts have focused on developing fisheries, markets, and value-added products for this invasive pest. Creating market demand for green crabs is a win-win situation, as it could both aid in controlling population abundance and provide a new economic opportunity for fishermen and coastal communities. The green crab fishery is a lucrative fishery, with fishers receiving upwards of $30/lb for soft-shell product. The entire fishery hinges upon recognizing pre-molt green crabs and caging them until they molt and become soft. In this session, we will do a hands-on demonstration of how to identify pre-molt green crabs and what type of gear is needed to store pre-molt and soft-shell crabs. Participants will gain an understanding of the current green crab fishery and the steps required to harvest green crabs.

Gabriela Bradt, University of New Hampshire

Marissa McMahan, Manomet

Jessica Batchelder, Manomet

For five years, through our roles as a fisheries specialist for NH Sea Grant, Dr. Gabriela Bradt, the director of fisheries at Manomet, Dr. Marissa McMahan, and research technician at Manomet, Jessica Batchelder, we have been working to develop a market and fishery for soft-shell green crabs in Northern New England. We have worked with a variety of industry partners, including chefs to utilize soft-shell crabs in their menu, consumers to build demand and awareness, and fishers to diversify their livelihood and make money off of this invasive species. 

Marissa McMahan is Director of Fisheries at Manomet.

Jessica Batchelder is a Research Technician at Manomet.


“Follow that green crab!” Tracking the movements of an invasive species of crab in a Maine estuary

In this presentation, UNH graduate student Emily Burke will introduce the green crab and discuss ongoing research to understand the movements of this highly invasive species. Emily will share insights about underwater sound and how scientists can use it as a tool to learn about marine animals and the environment. She will introduce acoustic telemetry, a technology using high-frequency sound to track the movements of individual animals in aquatic habitats. In a hands-on setting, audience members can learn how to use a hydrophone to listen for the ‘pings’ of tracking tags attached to animals. Emily will share stories and photos from her research, involving tagging green crabs with these small “tracking backpacks” to understand their movements throughout the Webhannet Estuary (part of the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve) in Wells, Maine. Finally, Emily will share how this research might inform a pilot fishery for soft-shell green crabs (a delicacy in Italy!) and help coastal managers plan to mitigate the negative effects of green crabs on estuaries and salt marshes.

Emily Burke, University of New Hampshire

Jason Goldstein, WNERR

Nathan Furey, University of New Hampshire

Emily Burke is a marine scientist, sailor, and educator who loves exploring coastlines and oceans. She is a graduate student in marine biology at the University of New Hampshire’s Fish and Movement Ecology Lab researching green crabs and their movement patterns in a southern Maine estuary. Her goal is to inform harvesters on where to focus their trapping efforts in developing a novel fishery, and support coastal managers with strategies to reduce the negative impacts of this invasive species.

Jason Goldstein is the Director of Research at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve. Jason leads the Reserve’s ecological research and monitoring programs that advance our knowledge and understanding of coastal ecosystems, communities, and natural resources in the Gulf of Maine. Jason’s area of research focuses on crab and lobster fisheries and the effects of climate change on reproduction, physiology, and movement ecology.

Nathan Furey is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of New Hampshire. He leads the Fish and Movement Ecology Lab that conducts research on species of conservation and management interest across freshwater, estuarine, and marine ecosystems.


Community Resilience Trainings: Putting Community Values at the Heart of Decision-Making

With over 5,000 miles of tidal coastline, and some of the most rural regions in the nation, Maine’s coastal communities face unique challenges in addressing the impacts of climate change. Planning Forward is a learning experience designed to help these rural coastal communities prepare for the complexities surrounding climate planning. Designed as part of a broader Community Resilience Training curriculum to build capacity for climate planning, it can also be used as a stand-alone tool for raising awareness of and engaging communities in a climate planning process.

The learning experience is rooted in Maine-specific challenges and strategies that ground participants in a discussion that feels strongly relevant to the places they call home. Conversations around values and identity help guide the experience and empower participants to confront the difficult reality of our changing climate and consider possible futures through new perspectives.

Experience key components of Planning Forward, get an overview of the Community Resilience Training and learn how to get your community involved. Funded by NOAA’s Environmental Literacy Program, Community Resilience Trainings build climate literacy and capacity for developing coastal resilience plans that benefit the social, environmental, and economic health of the community and align with Maine’s Climate Action Plan.

David Reidmiller