Young Environmental Leaders Program at MDIBL - 06.30.2012

 Measuring eelgrass
April Break 2012 was a productive time for teachers and students from Waterville and Bangor Schools. Tracy Vassiliev, middle school science teacher from James F. Doughty School, brought six students, and Jon Ramgren and Wendy Serbent, educators from Waterville High School brought 5 students to participate in a week-long “Young Environmental Leaders” program at MDI Biological Laboratory (MDIBL). This is the second year of the program, which is supported with funds from COSEE-OS.

Three students who had participated in the program in 2011 returned as “mentors” for the program, including one from Bangor High School and two from Waterville High School. In all the 14 students engaged in on-going documentation of a naturally occurring eelgrass site, used as a “control” in terms of understanding the recovery of restored eelgrass areas in Frenchman Bay. They de-lineated the site by taking coordinates with GPS units and created maps using open source QGIS software. They documented that eelgrass in this control area had decreased significantly since they had mapped the area in 2011. They collected water quality data, which was comparable to data they had collected in 2011. In addition, the students and teachers helped set the stage for the up-coming eelgrass restoration season by devoting an afternoon to making biodegradable grids out of wood and twine. (During a restoration project, transplants are tied to the grids, which are transported to the sub –tidal area where the plants take root and grow.) At the culmination of the program, students presented their findings to parents and members of the MDIBL scientific community. The mentors presented their ideas for a conservation plan for Frenchman Bay, which were well-received by all.

This summer, science teacher Jon Ramgren will return with a team of Waterville students for a “Restoration and Exploration Week” during which they will establish a long-term study site for Waterville High School. Ted Taylor, a Bangor High School teacher who has brought students to MDIBL for similar work over the last two summers, will return to mentor the Waterville team.

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