“Seagrasses in Classes” is an academic year education program in five Mount Desert Island region elementary, and two inland high schools. The program is a school-year extension of the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory’s efforts to restore and study eelgrass (Zostera marina) beds in northern Frenchman Bay. Eelgrass is a native seagrass that grows underwater in thick beds just below low tide in sheltered coastal areas and in river estuaries. Eelgrass is an essential component of the coastal marine ecosystem. It offers protection to small fish and shellfish and buffers the ocean from intrusions of sediment and pollution. Scientists and interns affiliated with MDIBL’s Community Environmental Health Laboratory have established a restoration site near Hadley Point in Bar Harbor, and are studying the efficacy of different methods of eelgrass replanting, the broadcast of eelgrass seeds by currents, and the population genetics of eelgrass communities.
Students from participating schools (listed below), use eelgrass aquaria as the basis for small inquiry-based research projects. Eelgrass researcher Dr. Jane Disney and the Community Environmental Health Laboratory Education and Outreach Coordinator Jordan Bailey visit classrooms on a regular basis, helping students with tank maintenance, and guiding them through the process of scientific inquiry.
Participants gather at the MDI Biological Laboratory for an Eelgrass Summit to share the results of their classroom-based eelgrass projects.
- Tremont Consolidated School
- Pemetic Elementary School
- Mt. Desert Elementary School
- Connors Emerson School
- Lamoine Elementary School
- James F. Doughty School
- Bangor High School
- Waterville Senior High School