ELLSWORTH — Students from the eight schools participating in the Eastern Maine Skippers Program will make their final project presentations on Thursday, May 24, at The Grand in Ellsworth. The program will begin at 5 p.m.
This year, about 100 students will take part in the presentation, according to Christina Fifeld, Eastern Maine Skippers Program coordinator. They represent schools located all over Downeast Maine, including: Ellsworth High School; George Stevens Academy; Deer Isle-Stonington High School; Mount Desert Island High School; North Haven High School; Narraguagus High School; and Jonesport-Beals High School.
According to Fifeld, all eight schools will make presentations before a panel of judges including educators and representatives of the fishing industry. Some schools may have “multiple presentations,” she said.
The Eastern Maine Skippers Program uses a project-based approach to learning, in which 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?”
Among the issues the students will discuss are “the relationship between fishing and summer communities”; alternative lobster bait; restoring Maine’s sea urchin fishery; and giving Bar Harbor’s commercial fishermen “a voice” in town affairs.
The Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries based in Stonington supports the Eastern Maine Skippers Program in partnership with the Rural Aspirations Project. Throughout the school year, the center facilitates program-wide “meet-ups” at which students can interact and learn from one another.
The events also provide access to scientists, fishermen, regulators, and industry professionals so students can work collaboratively on the challenging questions they are studying. Program teachers attend group training and professional development days to better assist their coastal high school students both inside and outside of the classroom.