News Feature

Stonington
Originally published in Castine Patriot, May 17, 2018 and Island Ad-Vantages, May 17, 2018 and The Weekly Packet, May 17, 2018
Eastern Maine Skippers to present findings in Ellsworth

The Eastern Maine Skippers Program will wrap up its fifth year on Thursday, May 24, when students conduct their final presentations at The Grand in Ellsworth.

The Skippers Program, which provides aspiring commercial fishermen and fisheries-focused students with the skills to be successful in a time of rapid environmental and regulatory change, reached a historic milestone this year: 100 students enrolled in this year’s cohort, a 150-percent increase in participation since the program’s origination in 2012. The program is now in eight Maine high schools, including Deer Isle-Stonington, Ellsworth, George Stevens Academy, Jonesport-Beals, Mount Desert Island, Narraguagus, North Haven, and Vinalhaven and serves over 37 coastal communities.

Eastern Maine Skippers utilizes a project-based approach to learning, where students explore real-world problems to gain a deeper knowledge and skill set. Each year, students tackle a new project. This year, they’re focused on “How can individuals and communities manage and restore local fisheries?”

Students spend the school year identifying fisheries issues and researching a pathway to possible solutions, then share their findings with an audience during final presentations. The event is a culmination of a school year’s worth of work and an opportunity for students to practice public speaking and how to successfully deliver information.

Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries supports the Eastern Maine Skippers Program in partnership with Rural Aspirations Project. Throughout the school year, the center facilitates program-wide meet-ups, where students can interact and learn from one another. They also provide access to scientists, fishermen, regulators, and industry professionals so students can work collaboratively on the challenging questions at hand. Program teachers attend group training and professional development days to better assist their coastal high school students both inside and outside of the classroom.

Support the skippers by attending their final presentations on Thursday, May 24, at The Grand. The event, which begins at 5 p.m., is free to the public. The eight participating high schools will present to an audience and panel of judges, who will select a winner. To learn more about the Eastern Maine Skippers Program, visit Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries on the web at coastalfisheries.org.