DMC welcomes Boothbay Sea and Science Center campers

Children at the Darling Marine CenterBoothbay Sea and Science Center campers capped off their summer program with a recent daylong visit to the University of Maine Darling Marine Center in Walpole.

Nearly 30 campers, ages 5–13, learned about shellfish aquaculture with Lili Pugh, DMC’s K–12 education coordinator.

“To understand aquaculture, one must know the science,” Pugh says. “Understanding water quality, plankton abundance, the life cycle of shellfish, and the estuarine habitat are all very important no matter whether you are an oyster grower, a researcher or enthusiastic consumer of the half-shell delicacies.”

BSSC campers learned how to assess water quality by taking temperature, salinity and turbidity measurements at the DMC dock in Lowes Cove.

They also collected plankton and toured the shellfish hatchery and while hiking the DMC’s nature trails, they learned about land-sea connections that shape the Damariscotta River watershed.

The Edward A. Myers Marine Conservation Fund and the University of Maine supported the program. Conservation fund awards to the DMC and other organizations have made it possible for hundreds of youth in the last 10 years to learn about the ocean, aquaculture and marine science.

All proceeds from the Pemaquid Oyster Festival — which will be held Sept. 24 in Damariscotta — benefit the fund, which is named after Edward Myers, a Walpole resident and Damariscotta River aquaculture pioneer.