On Dec. 14, the St. George School in Tenants Harbor received a 55-gallon refrigerated saltwater aquarium in order to expand its marine education program. Phyllis Wyeth, president of the Herring Gut Learning Center in Port Clyde, and Elaine Jones, education director for the Department of Marine Resources, arranged for the donation. The support for the $3,000 system comes from the Officer S.A.L.T.Y. (Sea Animal Life for Tomorrow’s Youth) Grant, which was funded by the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund. The tank in the classroom will help students understand the need to protect and conserve marine resources, while they serve as stewards of their own mini-ocean.

Science teacher Allison England and Nate Howe of the Herring Gut Learning Center will work together to provide students with new hands-on learning opportunities, using the aquarium. “The students are mesmerized and active in observing and maintaining the environment,” England said. “An eighth grade class has already partnered up with a fourth grade class. No doubt, many more good things will happen.” Because the refrigerated system is on wheels, the school has the opportunity to include it in every classroom and integrate its use into a variety of subjects. Students will maintain the system and also bring in “legal” marine life that will enhance their tank and improve their learning experiences. Currently, there are lobsters, horseshoe crabs, a moon snail, clams, anemones, sea stars, mussels, oysters, a scallop and more. All of these creatures are indigenous to the Muscongus Bay area.

The Herring Gut Learning Center is expanding its existing partnership with the St. George School. The local students who attend the Herring Gut Learning Center for instruction will assist their classmates in maintaining this system.

The Herring Gut Learning Center is a non-profit educational facility with the goal of promoting marine science by bringing science education and its real world application together. More information can be found at: www.herringgut.org, www.maine.gov/dmr, or by contacting the St. George School.