Donation helps Darling Marine Center bring marine science to K-12 students

The Edward A. Myers Marine Conservation Fund’s $2,000 donation to the Darling Marine Center K–12 education program facilitated field trip visits by 900 local students and supplied marine touch tanks to area festivals.

The funds were raised at the annual Pemaquid Oyster Festival in Damariscotta.

“We appreciate that the Edward Myers Fund has continued to support the DMC’s education programs,” says Anneliese “Lili” Pugh, the center’s K–12 education coordinator.

“Community engagement, including our active K–12 program, is a vital part of the DMC’s mission,” says DMC director Heather Leslie.“Thank you to the organizers and volunteers of the Pemaquid Oyster Festival for helping to support these local programs.”

The festival’s support of marine education has been a long-term endeavor.

“In the 15 years since its inception in 2001, the oyster festival has raised over $125,000, all of which has been donated to local schools and environmental organizations for marine education,” says Chris Davis, an Edward Myers Fund board member.

Aquaculture also is an important part of the K–12 program, says Pugh.

“We have aquaculture programs for all ages,” she says. “This past year we had third-graders growing oysters, homeschoolers cultivating kelp, and high school students studying water quality and its importance for aquaculture.”

Pugh says that’s an important connection considering the conservation fund is named after Ed Myers, who’s known as the “grandfather” of oyster growers on the Damariscotta River.

Myers was a shellfish aquaculture pioneer. He was the first holder of an aquaculture lease in Maine and the first commercial grower of rope-grown mussels in the United States. He also pioneered the idea of airmailing live lobsters to long-distance markets.