HANDS AROUND THE BAY has been launched by Friends of Merrymeeting Bay to build community awareness of Merrymeeting Bay. The Bay is an ecological resource of national significance that requires responsible management by area residents. The program recognizes that one of the most effective ways to foster such an awareness is to teach young people about the unique features and characteristics of the Bay and how these resources have been used over time.
Merrymeeting Bay and its coastal habitat play a vital role in the Gulf of Maine, as vividly illustrated in satellite images of the flood of 1987 which show a massive plume of sediment flowing from the mouth of the Kennebec River into the Gulf. Draining a watershed of 9,500 square miles, the Bay is both a conduit and repository for a variety of toxins from industrial, agricultural and domestic sources. As the spawning ground for a variety of anadromous fish it is a critical link in the marine food chain. HANDS AROUND THE BAY will have a substantial impact on the vitality of the Gulf of Maine in two ways: by nurturing an appreciation for the environmental quality of the Bay, and by teaching area residents how to monitor and protect its resources.
HANDS AROUND THE BAY seeks to:
Ä Foster awareness of Merrymeeting Bay and its unique ecological characteristics in communities around the Bay;
Ä Encourage local elementary schools to focus classroom projects on Merrymeeting Bay, using the Bay as an educational resource;
Ä Help students and teachers form working partnerships with students and teachers in other schools around the Bay;
Ä Assist project by providing materials, community resource people, supplies and safe access to the Bay;
Ä Document and communicate classroom projects and their findings in other schools and communities;
Ä Create an informative, interactive Merrymeeting Bay Web site on the Internet;
Ä Expand the body of scientific and cultural information about Merrymeeting Bay;
Ä Promote critical thinking, communication skills and self-expression.
HANDS AROUND THE BAY will assist by providing human, technical and financial resources to:
Ä Create new Merrymeeting Bay-based projects;
Ä Enhance existing Bay-based projects, or shift the focus of other existing projects to Merrymeeting Bay;
Ä Obtain test equipment, lecturers and materials to support classroom projects;
Ä Coordinate field trips or other events;
Ä Identify government and other resources that will assist classroom projects (such as speakers, publications and water testing equipment);
Ä Network between schools (through computer e-mail or traditional newsletter);
Ä Exchange project results through traditional and electronic formats among participants;
Ä Present classroom projects to the public and in surrounding communities.
Ä Obtain support from local residents, school committees and town officials;
Ä Obtain corporate sponsorship and support from local businesses;
Ä Promote awareness of the program through the media;
Ä Compile information for a Merrymeeting Bay Web site on the Internet;
FOMB Executive Director: Betsy Ham, 145 Pork Point Rd., Bowdoinham, ME 04008 (207-666-3376)
FOMB Chairman: Ed Friedman,42 Stevens Rd., Bowdoinham, ME 04008 (207-666-3372)
Beacon School Project: Ann Adjutant (207-725-3108; Fax 207-725-1700)&emdash;Math and Science Enhancement Program
Community of Learner's Network: Jim Moulton, Technical Team (207-729-2959; Fax 207-798-55l5,firstname.lastname@example.org)
Internet Web Site: Betsy Steen, 309 Bay Road, Bowdoinham, ME (207-666-3468 (email@example.com) Bowdoin Central School (207-666-5779)
University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service: Bob Elliott (800-287-14S8; Fax 207-782-0481)