Campbell “Buzz” Scott (center) instructs students in the engineering and capabilities of ROVs, remotely operated underwater vehicles. PHOTO COURTESY OF OCEANSWIDE

Plenty of “Buzz” this summer at Schoodic Marine Center

WINTER HARBOR — Campbell “Buzz” Scott’s fascination has always been about what is below the surface of the water.

Since he isn’t a fish, he settled for the next best thing — scuba diving and operating a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) where he can “swim” alongside the marine life.

ROVs are unoccupied and highly maneuverable and are tethered to a vessel and operated by a crew onboard.

ROVs have been used to locate many historic shipwrecks, such as the Titanic.

Scott shares his enthusiasm for the underwater world in camps that his nonprofit organization, OceansWide, offers in the summer.

This year, there are three camp sessions available out of the new Schoodic Marine Center LLC at the former Winter Harbor Marina on Sargent Street.

One camp has already taken place in May for marine science and engineering students.

The Schoodic Marine Center is an arm of the Schoodic Institute, a private-public nonprofit organization that encourages education and research within Acadia National Park on the Schoodic Peninsula.

“We want people to come down and see this facility down here, which for a community this small is amazing,” Scott said.

Oceanswide summer camps for older students include scuba diving lessons with the first introduction in a swimming pool. PHOTO COURTESY OF OCEANSWIDE
Oceanswide summer camps for older students include scuba diving lessons with the first introduction in a swimming pool.

He said the Gulf of Maine is generating a great deal of interest within scientific circles because the Gulf of Maine is warming faster than almost any other body of water in the world.

Scott said the promising notion underlying the summer camps is that students’ eyes will be opened to some of the big environmental questions facing their generation.

The camps also acquaint young people with what has been and what is new in monitoring the underwater world.

“It’s a mix of technology and tradition,” he said.

OceansWide is offering a summer camp for students in grades 9-12 from July 24 to Aug. 6 and for grades 5-9, Aug. 7-20.

The curriculums are similar — science at sea; working with scientists in Acadia National Park; the engineering design of ROVs along with their sampling device; lab and field life sciences; examining intertidal flora and fauna, plankton and algal diversity; coastal geology; studying weather, tides and waves, as well as navigation and local maritime history.

Older students also are taught to scuba dive.

Scott began his adventures on the sea as a young fisherman on Matinicus Island, where his parents provided him with his first boat at 12.

The small, double-ended peapod came with 25 wooden traps.

Scott said he first rowed the boat around Matinicus Island, exploring coves, beaches and ledges, and then fished for lobsters, cod, mackerel and flounder for nearly two decades.

“I remember seeing halibut the size of barn doors, 300 to 400 pounds,” he said. “I remember fishing on scallop boats that would get so full they would have to stop fishing.”

By 1987, the lobster catch had dropped off and cod, halibut and groundfish were disappearing.

Scott left the island to study fishing and the fisheries industry in search of knowledge that might help him try to keep the fishing industry alive.

He graduated from the University of Maine and then went to work for the U.S. Antarctica Program in 1994.

For four years, Scott sailed on the Nathaniel B. Parker, a research vessel and ice breaker ship, helping visiting scientists conduct their research.

Scott then joined the team at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California, where he became an ROV pilot.

He operated ROVs for, among others, oceanographer Robert Ballard.

“We studied science, engineering, history,” Scott said. “The people onboard were scientists, writers, filmmakers and educators.”

Scott decided he wanted to take what he had learned and share it with students, hence OceansWide.

For those students who cannot afford the $3,600 tuition for each two-week camp, internships are possible, he said.

Jacqueline Weaver

Jacqueline Weaver

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
Jacqueline's beat covers the eastern Hancock County towns of Lamoine through Gouldsboro as well as Steuben in Washington County. She was a reporter for the New York Times, United Press International and Reuters before moving to Maine. She also publicized medical research at Yale School of Medicine and scientific findings at Yale University for nine years.[email protected]
Jacqueline Weaver

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