Diversifying the local fishing economy is a critical need in many island communities – and the people who will power that future economy are in island and coastal classrooms today. Through hands-on, place-based learning opportunities in aquaculture, students gain a broad understanding of the complex marine environment that their communities depend on.

CAPE (Collaborative Aquaculture Project for Education)

Our aquaculture education initiative, called CAPE—Collaborative Aquaculture Project for Education—enhances workforce development and leadership for the future by collaborating with schools and partner organizations to develop and implement place-based, experiential education opportunities for Maine students through aquaculture.  Our goals are to help students become engaged learners, meet learning standards, and be well prepare for careers on the water and/or post-secondary study.

CAPE started in 2015 as a flexible partnership among the Island Institute, Herring Gut Learning Center, Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership and a number of other education organizations and island and coastal schools. 

We deliver professional development trainings for teachers of grades K-12, develop curricular resources and provide technical assistance and connections to industry  and higher education expertise. Since 2015, we have had participation from 15 schools and 32 teachers and have impacted an estimated 200 students.

Previous Professional Development Workshops for Teachers included:
  • September 2016: Grades 6-12 Aquaculture Teacher Retreat on Hurricane Island
  • February 2017: Grades PK-8 Aquaculture Teacher Workshop at Herring Gut Learning Center
  • April 28, 2017: Grades PK-12 Aquaculture Teacher Meet-Up at the Island Institute
  • Spring 2018: Place-based Learning Educators Retreat on Hurricane Island

In addition, we collaborated with local teachers and aquaculture experts (with financial support from SEANET) to produce two valuable aquaculture education resources:

  • The Kelp ME ASAP curriculum guide for grades K-5 is the result of an after school program on Long Island, Maine in the Spring of 2016. The guide was created by Island Fellow Erin Love and Long Island teacher Marci Train and covers a wide range of kelp-related lessons and activities that are suitable for both formal classroom and informal afterschool settings. Download the curriculum guide here:  Kelp ME ASAP Guide
  • The Climate of Change Educator’s Guide was developed by the Island Institute's Rebecca Clark-Uchenna with support from Education Specialist Yvonne Thomas and other experts. It is for grades 6-12 and is based on the Island Institute’s fourth Climate of Change film about aquaculture. The film is accessible here and the accompanying Educator's Guide can be downloaded here:  Climate of Change IV Educators Guide

Grades 6-12 Aquaculture Teacher Retreat on Hurricane Island

Additional Resources

NOAA Climate Stewards - March 2017 Webinar: KELP CAN HELP! Climate Action for Students through Kelp Aquaculture

This webinar, hosted by the Island Institute's Education Director Yvonne Thomas and Marine Programs Associate Rebecca Clark Uchenna, looks at the impacts of climate change on Maine’s ocean environment and the community-based approach the Island Institute takes to support island and coastal schools as they teach students how to plan for and adapt to climate change. 

In this presentation, Yvonne and Rebecca use kelp aquaculture education as a case study, sharing educational resources including information about the Island Institute's A Climate of Change film series, the Future of Aquaculture Educator’s Guide for middle and high school level students, and the Kelp ME ASAP Curriculum guide for elementary level students. They also share resources relevant to educators without local ocean access. 

Aquaculture Educators Network

Interest in aquaculture education is growing in Maine and beyond. This Aquaculture Educators Network has been developed in response to a strongly identified need for a coordinated network and resource sharing platform for the Maine aquaculture education community. 

What it offers:
A place to find and share vetted aquaculture education materials and resources created for and by educators and organizations from Maine and beyond

Who it's for:
Educators (K-adult) in Maine and beyond, interested in formal and informal aquaculture education

How to get involved:
For more information on the Aquaculture Educators Network or to sign up for the ListServ, visit the program website.