September 8, 2023

Please visit S.E.A. Park at the Camden Public Landing. The aquarium will be full soon, and the planters, benches, and picnic tables are already in place.

What’s there? A 300 gallon marine aquarium full of critters from Camden Harbor, pollinators buzzing about the plants, monarch caterpillars munching milkweed and people enjoying the new mini-park to relax, have a meal, and take in the scenery.  What was black asphalt is now a pocket-sized haven.

Maine Audubon provided text and photographs of birds that frequent Camden Harbor.

Many organizations helped make this possible including an anonymous donor, The Town of Camden, students in The Hatchery program at Camden Five Hills High School under the leadership of Danny Salomon, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Plants Unlimited, Maine Audubon, and Camden Architectural Woodwork.

Brian Lightbody standing next to the Aquariumin S.E.A. PARK he helped create.


The aquarium was designed and built by Wayne Ruesswick, S.E.A. Board Member with guidance from Ed Seidel, who grew up in Camden. Ed is CEO and Founder of Tenji Aquarium Designs (https://www.tenji.com/) that has many installations to its credit including the aquarium at Monterey Bay and the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.

The purpose of the aquarium is to inspire appreciation for the rich diversity of marine life in the harbor and the importance of this interdependent ecosystem that we must preserve.

Little Girl Meets Big Fish
Many people enjoyed S.E.A. PARK including these brothers.
Signs showed visitors the marine organisms from Camden Harbor that lived in the 300-gallon aquarium before being released back into their natural environment.

What’s in the tank:

The aquarium is divided into three sections to protect the animals from each other.  In the section to the far left, there is a small Lobster, Hermit Crabs, Sea Stars, Periwinkles, and Blue Mussels. In the middle section there is a school of Tommy Cod fry that are thriving and noticeably larger than when they first went into the aquarium only a few weeks ago. There is also a pair of Sculpin skulking around the bottom of the aquarium, some Cunners also known as Blue Perch, Rock Gunnels, and many Periwinkles and Hermit Crabs. The third section features several types of crabs including invasive and aggressive Green Crabs, Jonah Crabs, Hermit Crabs, Sea Stars, and Blue Mussels, and another lobster.  We will introduce new species into the aquarium as they become available

S.E.A. Board Member Brian Lightbody and a student from Camden-Rockport Middle School (CRMS) haul a trap with marine organisms from the harbor.
S.E.A. Board member Wayne Ruesswick and CRMS students haul and inspect the pump and its protective cage that has attracted sea squirts and other marine organisms .

How does it work?

Water is continuously recirculated from the bottom of the harbor, this serves 3 important functions:

  1. It keeps the temperature cool.
  2. It eliminates the need for filtration.
  1. It introduces food into the aquarium.

Approximately 3400 gallons of water goes through the tank each day!

Why does it leak intermittently?

We don’t know, but we will correct this for the next season after we close the aquarium in late fall.

Where will the animals and plants go in late fall?

The animals in the aquarium will go back into the harbor and the pollinator plants will be probably be given to a school. The town will move the trees to other areas of the town, and install new ones next spring.


The Town of Camden provided the trees now growing in four planters provided by Lowe’s. Generous support from Plants Unlimited made it possible for S.E.A. to purchase the plants, and the students at The Hatchery built the wooden bench/planters that help frame the park. S.E.A. PARK has attracted many visitors including Monarch butterflies, varieties of bees, and people!  Liz Gioia of CamdenHarbor Cruises took this photograph of a monarch caterpillar in the J-position on the milkweed in one of the planter/benches just before it formed a chrysalis. Please don’t go searching for the chrysalises, however, as the plants are fragile and the hard working pollinating insects are not pleased if disturbed.

Monarch caterpillar feeding on Swamp Milkweed in the S.E.A. Pollinator Garden



Maine Audubon gave S.E.A. photographs and descriptions of 8 birds we are likely to see at the harbor dock. You will find the photographs on a banner on the harbor side of the aquarium. (https://maineaudubon.org/)


Students at The Hatchery also made the picnic tables using wood recycled from the boardwalk that was destroyed in the Christmas storm this year.  Each little sign – marked by a dash of red paint – has a story that we will soon be able to access through a QR code.  The S.E.A. mission is to support stewardship of the watershed and future stewards, so we are particularly pleased to work with the high school students in The Hatchery program to create S.E.A. PARK.


We hope to offer programs about the local environment at S.E.A. PARK.  Please let us know if you are interested in becoming an intern or docent.  Thank you!