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Restoration and Exploration Week
SDC: Bangor High School
Educators: Ted Taylor and Jen Page

Through a partnership with the Bangor School Department, COSEE-OS, and Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory (MDIBL), students and teachers from Bangor High School have participated in a week-long science and research program specifically targeting the restoration of eelgrass in Frenchman Bay for the past two years. This program is the first of its kind where high school students and teachers from the same inland school are the sole investigators supporting the on-going research and restoration program directed by Dr. Jane Disney of MDIBL.

June 2012
Teachers Ted Taylor and Jen Page and their students Mary Bourque, Helen Zhang, Clarissa Hillman, and Patrick Lee completed a sucessful "Restoration and Exploration Week" at MDIBL June 25th-29th, 2012 as part of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and COSEE-OS funded effort to bring inland schools to the coast and engage them in monitoring and stewardship activities. This is the second year that Bangor has participated in the program (see below for 2011 activities). The teachers and students have established their own study site near Thomas Island in Frenchman Bay and intend to make a long-term commitment to the restoration of eelgrass habitat in this area.

Prepping eelgrass grids  
This year, the Bangor team tackled questions related to marine sediment composition and benthic organisms in established and proposed eelgrass restoration areas, while the MDIBL team worked on questions related to maximizing eelgrass growth. The teams came together to harvest and transplant eelgrass, then devoted an afternoon to sharing research findings and brainstorming next steps. According to Jane Disney, director of the Community Environmental Health Laboratory at MDI Biological Laboratory, "This unique collaboration between MDI Biological Laboratory and Bangor High School is providing an opportunity for students to move from the periphery to the center of an important habitat restoration effort in Frenchman Bay. Everyone is gaining from each other's experience, insight, and perspective."

Ted Taylor has B.S. and M.S. degrees in geology and Jen Page has a Ph.D. in marine biology. Their combined backgrounds and expertise dovetail well with the experience of MDIBL researchers and student interns working on strategies to restore eelgrass in upper Frenchman Bay.

August 2011
In August 2011, teachers Ted Taylor and Jen Page and students Victoria Ashton, Matthew Bush, Clarissa Hillman, and Leah Jones worked hand-in-hand with Dr. Disney and her team of undergraduate and graduate students as they: (1) collected scientific data to investigate reasons for the disappearance of eelgrass from the Bay over the past two decades, and (2) used proven and novel measures to restore eelgrass to local sediments within the Bay. The week-long project culminated with the Bangor High School team receiving "ownership" of a plot of the Bay adjacent to Thomas Island for which these students and teachers will continue to study and restore eelgrass for the foreseeable future. This collaborative project was designed to bring real scientific research and long-term environmental restoration opportunities into the high school setting.

Activities in which the students and teachers participated included the following:
  • Water quality monitoring at several locations throughout the bay. This included conducing dissolved oxygen tests by the Winker Titration method, water transparency tests by Secci disk, temperature, and nitrogen sampling.
  • Plankton species identification under a dissecting microscope.
  • Biodiversity assessments of organisms affixed to eelgrass.
  • Sediment sampling and sieve analysis to assess physical properties.
  • Constructing biodegradable planting grids on which to secure eelgrass for transplant.
  • Harvesting eelgrass from one area and tying the grass to both metal wire and twine grids.
  • Placing the harvested eelgrass in Bangor High School’s designated location off Thomas Island.
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