In August, educators from throughout Maine and across the eastern seaboard joined aquaculture researchers and industry partners for a three-day seaweed boot camp hosted by Maine EPSCoR at the University of Maine, in partnership with Ocean’s Balance and the Aquaculture Research Institute.
The workshop’s innovative model was built to allow participants the opportunity to learn about ongoing research, curriculum development, and the many ways in which seaweed can be incorporated into our lives, whether in the kitchen or in the classroom.
“We wanted all educators participating in this camp to gain a broad understanding of sea-to-table aquaculture and the vital role that seaweed can play in Maine’s economic future,” says Laurie Bragg, Maine EPSCoR program and outreach manager.
Over three days, participants visited researchers in their labs at UMaine, traveled to southern Maine to visit field sites with seaweed farmers, sampled seaweed products with producers, and learned cooking and preparation techniques with industry insiders.
Participants left the workshop with a better understanding of this burgeoning new industry and the tools with which to develop STEM curriculum around ongoing science and research.
Plans are being developed for a follow-up workshop and the experience is being leveraged in communities throughout the state.
“The seaweed boot camp was a big success,” Bragg says. “As a result of the workshop, we now have an active network of teachers sharing curriculum ideas and implementing what they learned in classrooms from Old Orchard Beach to Machias. It’s an exciting time for aquaculture education.”