Searching for Micro-Plastics in Camden Harbor

February 8, 2021

Pen Bay Pilot article Saturday, February 6, 2021

CAMDEN — Students thrive on discovery. And it’s through some of those discoveries that local elementary, middle and high school students are today preparing for a future filled with possibilities and opportunities.

With support of the Stewardship Education Alliance (S.E.A.) – a year-old nonprofit with the mission of increasing community awareness of ways to be better stewards of local watersheds – students, teachers and communities are benefitting from grants for special projects, activities and professional development. The 501 (c)(3) nonprofit has been supporting public and private school educators and after-school programs in Camden and Rockport since 2020, and in January expanded its support to also include public and independent schools in Appleton, Hope and Lincolnville.

“The past year has been very challenging because of COVID-19 restrictions,” said Camden author and educator Barbara Lawrence, S.E.A. founder and board president, in a news release. “We had to revise our original plans and cancel events such as last spring’s S.E.A. Fair at Camden Harbor. Still, we’ve been able to continue funding grants and to sponsor events such as the popular Poetry on Windows in downtown Camden.” Past projects include funding for a mobile marine touch tank on display at the Camden Public Library’s World Oceans Day, and on the boardwalk at Camden Harbor, as well as for professional development courses for local teachers held at the Herring Gut Learning Center in Port Clyde.

One recent example of S.E.A.-funded projects was a study of harmful micro-plastics in Camden Harbor by 7th grade science students at Camden-Rockport Middle School. Funding for the study enabled science teacher John Dietter to purchase trawl nets and other supplies and equipment needed for the micro-plastic study, as well as cover the cost of a boat trip for his class.

The Camden Public Library has also been the beneficiary from S.E.A. donations of books and Discovery Bags containing microscopes, trawl nets and notebooks to be used by borrowers studying local waters.

Planned S.E.A. events in upcoming months include underwater exploration of Camden Harbor in April with students from Watershed School, S.E.A. Fair and Poetry on Windows (POW!) in late May and June, the unveiling of a new mobile marine tank, and S.E.A.’s 2021 grant competition.

Completed grant applications are due by February 22, and awards will be announced March 15.

For more information, and grant applications, visit All public, private and independent schools in Camden, Rockport, Hope, Appleton and Lincolnville are eligible to apply.