BAR HARBOR — The Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory (MDIBL) has been awarded an $84,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to expand its environmental education programs, programs that will allow teachers and students from inland locations in Maine to study the role marine habitats play in combating climate change.
Under the direction of MDIBL scientist Jane Disney, teachers and students from Waterville and Bangor will gain hands-on experience in restoring and conserving eelgrass beds in Frenchman Bay.
For several years, Dr. Disney, director of MDIBL’s community environmental health laboratory, has been pursuing this research with middle school and high school students from Mount Desert Island during the academic year and in summer with the Young Environmental Leaders group, a group that draws middle school students from all five MDI schools and Lamoine, said Dr. Disney. Last spring, a group of students from Andi Newby’s seventh-grade class at Tremont School studied eelgrass near Bar Island with MDIBL interns. In addition to removing carbon from the atmosphere, eel-grass beds provide critical nursery habitat for many economically important species of fish and shellfish.
MDIBL was one of 74 organizations in New England to apply for this funding, and is one of only four to actually receive funding.