Ocean Classroom Foundation, University of Maine Pair Up for Semester at Sea

CONTACT: Susan L. Hodder, Ocean Classroom Foundation (207) 633-2750 ext. 102
Joe Carr, University of Maine (207) 581-3571

Note to editors: Representatives from UMaine and the Ocean Classroom Foundation will be available on Friday Oct. 30 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in Rockland harbor to discuss this program and give tours of the schooner Harvey Gamage, one of the vessles the Ocean Classroom Foundation uses for its programming at sea.  Capt. J.B. Smith will be present on Friday, along with representatives of the foundation and the University of Maine.  Directions to the location in Rockland are at the bottom of this release.

BOOTHBAY HARBOR AND ORONO, Me. — Ocean Classroom Foundation (OCF) and the University of Maine will collaborate to offer a Spring 2010 semester at sea experience for students aboard a 19th century-style schooner.

Known as SEAmester, the program is managed by the Ocean Classroom Foundation, a leader in experiential education at sea.  UMaine has approved the curriculum through its Division of Lifelong Learning and will grant credits to students who successfully complete the courses.

SEAmester will feature a four-course, 12-credit science and humanities curriculum integrated with the journey and ports of call throughout the Eastern Seaboard, Caribbean Islands and Central America.  Students will also stand watches and assume increasing responsibilities in sailing the traditionally rigged schooner, acquiring skills and confidence along the way.

UMaine’s School of Marine Sciences (SMS), one of the top programs of its kind in the U.S., is involved in developing the program.  Marine science studies on the SEAmester voyage will include lab work in oceanography and marine biology, species surveys, environmental impact studies and marine weather observations. Other coursework will feature maritime history, literature, geocultural studies and creative writing.  Students will also benefit from leadership training, cultural immersion and a service project in the Dominican Republic.

“We are excited by the synergy between the SMS and SEAmester curricula. Students within the University of Maine system, and from other colleges around the country, will have an opportunity to expand their knowledge beyond the classroom”, says William Ellis, associate director of UMaine’s School of Marine Science. “Any student who is interested in exploring the natural world, who is excited by physical or mental challenges, or who is looking to take their education to the next level, should look seriously at the SEAmester program.”

According to Peter Neill, executive director of Ocean Classroom Foundation, the sea demands decisiveness, independence, cooperation, and communication.

“At sea, leadership is developed through working side by side with a knowledgeable captain and crew, learning through observation and
emulation, and then being accountable for their successful application,” Neill says. “Lessons are unforgettable when taught from within in a self-reliant community, in a dynamic natural environment.”

SEAmester was first offered by Ocean Classroom in 1997, originally accredited by Long Island University and later by the University of
Massachusetts, Dartmouth. An alternative to the traditional college academic semester abroad it is next available to qualified college students in spring 2010. SEAmester may be of particular interest to students majoring in any aspect of marine science, environmental or ecological studies, oceanography, geocultural studies, history, or literature.

The Ocean Classroom Foundation is a non-profit educational organization with a mission to build the next generation of ocean stewards through education under sail. Accredited and non-traditional programs vary from days, to weeks, to semester long voyages for high school and college students; custom programs for middle and high schools, youth and community organizations; and continuing education for humanities and science teachers. Programs are offered aboard three USCG certified schooners: Harvey Gamage, Westward, and Spirit of Massachusetts; sailing along the Atlantic seaboard from the Canadian Maritimes to the Caribbean.

Ocean Classroom Foundation is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization whose programs are offered without regard to race, gender, religion, or national origin.

DIRECTIONS TO THE LOCATION WHERE THE HARVEY GAMAGE WILL BE DOCKED ON FRIDAY: The ship will be at Larriman’s Cove in Rockland, which is behind the Rockland Water Treatment plant, and across from Hamilton marine. (from Maine Street in Rockland, go right on Tilson Ave., then left after the Water Treatment plant.)