Learn how Island Institute supported Krista Tripp to start an oyster farming business, and realize her dream of powering the business with clean energy.

Over four decades, Island Institute has honed a simple and impactful approach that works: listen carefully, deliver what you promise, and be the best at what you do.

Thanks to the ongoing support from our members, together we’re having a lasting impact and providing new opportunities in some of Maine’s hardest-to-reach communities. From the youngest islanders in our programs for the smallest and most remote schools, to adults learning a new trade, people of all ages are finding new ways to work and thrive in these extraordinarily special communities.



Enduring Impact: Krista Tripp of Aphrodite Oysters

Krista Tripp of Aphrodite Oysters on the Weskeag River in South Thomaston, Maine.

In 2018, South Thomaston lobsterwoman, Krista Tripp decided to bolster her business by diversifying into farming oysters. Krista turned to Island Institute to help get started in aquaculture. She enrolled in our aquaculture business development program and learned the core elements of the trade by attending training courses, networking with industry leaders, and studying the ins-and-outs of shellfish farming. Today, Krista’s business, Aphrodite Oysters employs several full-time employees, and her oysters are found on the menus of oyster bars all around the state of Maine.

The Institute’s support for Aphrodite Oysters endures. This year, Island Institute awarded Krista a grant to help fund a solar array for her onshore facility. Following the grant, our staff helped her acquire additional government funding for the project—drastically reducing the direct cost to her business. Now Krista can count on sustainable and affordable energy for her operations: one less worry for her business, one more step towards decarbonizing Maine’s marine economy—win-win! With your help, we empower entrepreneurs like Krista through training, financial aid, and technical assistance, driving smart innovations in Maine’s marine economy.

“Having an oyster business powered by clean energy has been a dream of mine. Island Institute was with me every step of the way and gave me the tools, knowledge and resources I needed to make it happen.” – Krista Tripp

Join us in supporting the people
who embody the dynamic future of our coast.


Hear from Joe Sanchez-Flores, co-owner of Beal & Bunker Ferry Service,
about the critical role Island Institute played in his education and development.

Deep Island Roots: Joe Sanchez-Flores of Beal & Bunker Ferry Service

Joe Sanchez-Flores of Beal & Bunker Ferry Service on his ferry vessel near the Cranberry Isles, Maine.

Joe grew up on Little Cranberry Island, one of Maine’s year-round “outer islands.” Growing up on an island can be lonely for young students with very few peers of the same age or grade level, and Joe recalls his life being positively impacted by his participation in Island Institute’s Outer Islands Teaching & Learning Collaborative (TLC), a teacher-led group that provides a virtual community for the smallest island schools where students and teachers can access an inter-island peer network. Recognizing the importance of collaboration and socialization for student development, Island Institute started TLC creating a lifeline of support for students and teachers to sustain Maine’s one- and two-room island schools. Joe is paying it forward by serving the Islands he loves with the Beal and Bunker Ferry Service.

We know that without a school or opportunities for the next generation to live where they work, Maine’s most rural and island communities will not thrive. The TLC demonstrates our commitment to providing additional support to the smallest, most remote islands so that kids like Joe, who exemplify commitment to their community, can grow up to take over critical small businesses serving our coast. As a member of the very first cohort, Joe’s memories of his experience with the TLC illustrate how community connections make an enduring impact.

“Going from an outer island school to a large high school is a very hard transition for a lot of students, and I think that the TLC really helps make that a little bit easier. The TLC helped me advance to be the person I am today.” – Joe Sanchez-Flores

From the first annual meeting on Hurricane Island 40 years ago to the launching of our first, climate-friendly electric boat this summer, Island Institute has focused on the lives and livelihoods of Maine’s island and coastal communities. Be a part of Island Institute’s enduring impact, for another 40 years.

When you join or renew your membership, YOUR GIFT WILL:

  • Identify pathways to prosperity for the communities most dependent on the marine economy,
  • Spark the innovation and entrepreneurship that helps coastal businesses grow,
  • Continue our award-winning Island Institute Fellows program, and
  • Help rural, coastal communities transition to climate-friendly, clean energy solutions.

With your support, future generations—no matter where they live—will look to the Gulf of Maine for inspiration, because, together, we have taken great care to steward the bounty we have cultivated.