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News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, September 27, 2018 and Island Ad-Vantages, September 27, 2018 and The Weekly Packet, September 27, 2018
Skippers Program continues to grow

The Eastern Maine Skippers Program has launched its seventh school year. The program will serve nearly 120 students this year, up from just 40 students when the Skippers started in 2012, according to a news release from Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries.

Sumner Memorial High School in Sullivan is the latest school to acquire the program. Sumner brings the total number of high schools participating to nine and broadens the reach to 52 communities. The Eastern Maine Skippers Program works with eastern Maine high schools to enhance the next generation’s ability to shape and grow the future of fishing communities. Students learn on the water skills, how to have a voice in fisheries management and research, and run successful businesses.

Each school year, the program focuses on a different project. The 2018-19 project asks students how technology can contribute to a safe, healthy, and sustainable fishing industry. New World Encyclopedia defines technology as “anything that helps us produce things faster, better or cheaper.” Students will identify a challenge and engage in a rapid prototyping process to design a technological solution. They’ll be required to test, refine, and communicate the effectiveness of their solution. The Skippers Program provides opportunities for students to experience lesson plans, take field trips, engage with industry experts, and work cross-functionally with other high school students in the region.

The first cross-functional event, or cohort day, was Wednesday, September 26, at Schoodic Institute. The nearly 120 high school students, as well as their teachers, gathered in Winter Harbor to kick off the new year. During the full-day event, students heard from industry members about aquaculture initiatives, fishing gear and regulations, personal flotation devices and safety, and different technologies used for research, to spark potential project ideas.