The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

Let's Find Out

Grant Information
Categories Education , Community , Environment
Location United States
Cycle Year 2020
Organization Information
Organization Name (provided by applicant) Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research and Education
Organization Name (provided by automatic EIN validation)
Contact Information
Contact Name Colleen Haskell
Phone 207-259-5091
PO Box 83
39 Wildflower Lane, Black Duck Cove Road
Additional Information
Used for SURF (Sustain UR Future) is an initiative that will develop a workforce trained in current aquaculture methods and techniques, providing a career pathway for underserved groups in downeast coastal Maine– such as adult learners, youth, Native Americans, women, and other minorities. The workforce will provide the support needed by farmers already participating in a fast-growing Maine aquaculture industry.
Benefits Maine has a need to increase seafood production for the global market. Aquaculture farms are fast moving into position to provide high quality shellfish and sea vegetables for that market. Remove the barriers to expansion into that sector that includes workforce development, and Maine is ready for the emerging aquaculture industry.
Proposal Description History. In 1987, Beals Island Regional Shellfish Hatchery (BIRSH) was created to address soft-shell clam populations. By 1996, BIRSH was a non-profit and Marine Science Field Station for the University of Maine at Machias. In 2000, a new name and broader mission, Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research and Education (DEI) included field research, shellfish production, and education. Now, DEI is described as “the easternmost marine research laboratory and education center in the United States” with the mission to improve “the quality of life for the people of downeast and coastal Maine through marine research, marine science education, and innovations in wild and cultured fisheries”.
Detailed description. SURF (Sustain UR Future) is an initiative that will create linkages between all sectors to increase the capacity to engage in aquaculture for profit:
by developing a workforce trained in current aquaculture methods and techniques, providing a career pathway for underserved groups – such as adult learners, youth, Native Americans, women, and other minorities to become the entrepreneurs/workforce; and
by providing the support needed by farmers already participating in a fast-growing Maine aquaculture industry.
Young adults and youth with the skills and desire to work on the water are often discouraged by the limited lobster license availability and the large capital investment required to participate.
While some have been working towards their lobster licenses for years supported by licensed fishermen or family members, others with no support network will wait years, if ever, to become fully licensed. Those with licenses are not guaranteed the continuation of the excellent fishery their fathers knew. A reliance on this fishery makes the economy particularly vulnerable to any change – regardless of the reason – in climate or regulation.
At the same time, recent studies identify Maine's need to increase seafood production through aquaculture, removing the barriers to expansion into that sector that include workforce development.

SO - connect a need for increasing seafood capacity with a need to promote economic growth in a low income area to a workforce with the necessary knowledge and skills to become effective users, farmers and managers of marine resources AND . . .
Maine is ready for the emerging aquaculture industry.
Basic Issues/opportunities to be addressed, location, description and number of persons served.
Funding will sustain and enhance the scope and impact of DEI through linkages with other institutions to implement comprehensive place-based experiences for youth through young adult in marine science, research literacy, and aquaculture. Interest in the field of aquaculture will be gradually developed by providing a continuum of project and place-based STEM opportunities at DEI's facility on Beals Island, Maine, in the nearby coastal habitat, in existing impoundment areas, at current state - approved lease locations, or virtually by accessible technology to approximately 200 youth/adults in Washington County from public PreK-12 schools and citizens in 12 coastal communities.
Goals in Measurable specific terms.
Measurable Goal #1: Seventy-five youth/young adults will attend two or more marine science sessions at DEI, in marine fieldwork, or virtually that focus on knowledge/skills of shellfish and sea vegetable aquaculture. Baseline #1: New goal. Outcome #1     (at end of year one)
Measurable Goal #2:  Twenty-five (25) youth/adults will participate in professional training provided by DEI staff/aquaculture farmers/professionals. Baseline #1: New goal. Outcome #1     (at end of year one)
Measurable Goal #3:  60% of the youth/adults who participate in at least 6 of the scheduled activities will be able to demonstrate the use of a tool used in the hatchery or in marine science fieldwork. Baseline #1: New goal. Outcome #1     (at end of year one)
Measurable Goal #4: 60% of the participants age 14 and above will understand the requirements that one needs to meet in order to apply for a Limited Purpose Aquaculture License (LPA) Baseline #1: New goal. Outcome #1     (at end of year one)
Specific actions to be taken. For continuity and systemic change in our region, DEI's focus on four key groups of youth/adults will increase an awareness in all constituents of a community from the youngest to the oldest, promoting marine ecology as it relates to shellfish and sea vegetable aquaculture. The primary mission is:
to increase marine science and research literacy in the region's youth;
to help youth/adults embrace aquaculture as a potential source of employment and profit, through hands-on experience, licensing, hatchery or field-based internships, pursuit of professional degrees, and/or sea farm start-up; and
to develop a workforce with the skills to engage in emerging aquaculture.
To that end, DEI will provide a continuum of place-based STEM learning for gradesPreK-16 with a concentration and overlap of skills for continuity and review:
Intertidal exploration, basic research methods, beginning aquaculture/lab skills (PreK-4)
Research projects focusing on the scientific method of inquiry plus build on PreK-4 knowledge and skills ( 4-6)
Junior Internships in the hatchery and field plus build on knowledge and skills of grades PreK-6 ( 6-9)
Provide pathway for age-appropriate youth/adults to obtain a Limited Purpose Aquaculture License (LPA)
Hatchery, fieldwork, lab, and aquaculture related impoundment projects, presented in an internship style to support high school sciences and career education programs. Diverse internships in research and aquaculture to promote ocean ecology, shellfish husbandry, and sea vegetable aquaculture or a combination (9-16/adult learner)
DEI will take additional action:
to improve two existing impoundments (aka lobster pounds) for small scale aquaculture “farms"
to collaborate with a minimum of five researchers/aquaculturists to actively integrate into the PreK-16 program the current research on a variety of commercially important and emerging species (shellfish and sea vegetables)
to complete research already underway with ten pound owners in aquaculture“trials”for DEI.
to incubate student aquaculture projects/mini businesses in tidal impoundment areas or on approved lease sites
to increase opportunities for undergraduate research of commercially important and emerging species and provide students with opportunities to engage in sea farming
to construct a career pipeline through apprenticeships on approved aquaculture lease sites in aquaculture business training; and
to provide free/low cost consultation services and assistance for entrepreneurs looking to start a farm, diversify the species on their current farms, or try new farming techniques.
Involvement of anticipated constituents or beneficiaries of the proposed program in the design of the program. DEI scientists, technicians, and local citizens work together to promote the fisheries, to lead to a better product. The education staff designs projects after consultation with school leaders, teachers, educational technicians and youth.
Other entities involved in issues or project. Requests have been received from a secondary school for delivery assistance with a Career and Technical (CTE) program in aquaculture; and two other schools for help in the development of the overwintering aspect of a community shellfish project. Post secondary schools – UMaine at Machias for assistance in the delivery of an early college certificate program in aquaculture; the UMaine, Maine Maritime Academy, and Washington County Community College for a diverse array of internship experiences for their undergraduates. The Downeast Fisheries Partnership (DFP), which includes DEI, is prepared to invest $100000 to accelerate mussel aquaculture. A local business has offered the use of a four acre site for demonstration purposes. The Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center (MAIC) has developed a program that can provide basic aquaculture techniques upon request.
Greatest challenge your organization faces other than funding. Our greatest challenge is dealing with our ability to expand since a major onsite rebuild. We are enthusiastic – the innovation aspect of our mission drives us to move forward.
Experience of project leader and organizational capacity
The project leader has over 45 years experience in organizational/educational leadership, program development and instruction, as teacher, principal, and superintendent in Maine's public schools and as education director and teacher at DEI.
Following a Strategic Plan, the Board of Directors has taken an active role in oversight, planning, and service to DEI. Currently, an executive director, an associate director, and a director of research organize the function of the organization, research and hatchery processes; an education director delivers a marine outreach program, a plant manager oversees all buildings, and a safety officer keeps compliance. Scientists, hatchery technicians, office staff, and a second teacher, assistants, and interns participate in the daily operation.

Sustainability and Learning. The program is designed to easily scale up and serve more students if funds allow. Expansion will result in youth entering high school with as many as eight years background in marine science, eager to put their skills to work.
DEI has a desire to continue a community approach to its work – helping one person may lead to cross sector involvement and investment for the benefit of the community as a whole. For example, if one downeast lobster pound owner sees another lobster pound owner successfully growing mussels, clams, oysters, scallops, or sea vegetables and realizing success/profit, more pound owners will be willing to try. TRANSLATION – more money and growth in the local economy and species diversification in Washington County.