– Community Impact –

Science Education

Since 2011 DEI has been making science and math resonate with students from all over coastal Maine.

DEI’s marine education program makes relevant scientific exploration part of pre-K to 12 grade education. We provide access to applied and integrated STEM instruction for students in rural Maine. Teaching students how to think critically about the familiar marine resources their families depend on, and how to care for the marine environment, ignites an enthusiasm for learning as well as an understanding of the relevance of STEM to their communities and to their own career aspirations.

Naturally curious, children quickly make observations and ask questions that can inspire an authentic research project. DEI’s unique “Let’s Find Out” engagement method has been used successfully with students of all ages. Its foundation is the principle that research should be reserved for questions to which no one knows the answers. Teachers, scientists, and students embark on the exploration together, and make new discoveries together.

Education Achievements at DEI

Since 2011:
  • Over 16,000 students and teacher visits have been recorded as part of DEI’s educational programming.
  • Over 7,000 students have taken part in DEI’s education activities. This 
    • Ongoing Marine Science Days programs for schools.
    • Since 2010, DEI has coordinated and overseen season-long field 
research projects at fifteen coastal schools stretching from Portland to Cutler. This includes the 250 students and 17 teachers that participated in a 2010 National Science Foundation (NSF) funded research project examining the growth and survival of juvenile soft-shell clams in four coves.
    • Four elementary schools and five high schools participated in DEI’s Lobsters in the Classroom program during the 2016-2017 school year.
    • DEI’s work with students have resulted in student presentations at marine trade shows and local shellfish committees. 
For example, a large-scale field research project to measure the shellfish productivity and green crab recruitment in three coves of Searsport and Stockton Springs with Searsport High School. The results were presented at the 2018 Maine Fishermen’s Forum.
    • Improved test scores:
      • In one school DEI serves, 92% of students scored at or above the state average/expectations in science.
      • At the same school, the percentage of students scoring below state expectations fell by 79% after a year of participating in DEI’s education programming.
      • Our education program increases student engagement and encourages STEM-based career aspirations.
  • Provided training and assistance to 1,200 educators.
  • Since 2001, 400 UMM college students majoring in Marine Biology have utilized UMM’s Marine Science Field Station.
  • Provides workforce development for future marine science professionals.
  • Since 1995 DEI has hosted 77 internships and Americorps volunteers. Interns and AmeriCorps have gone on to become educators, natural resource managers, or are employed by private aquaculture or environmental consulting companies.
  • 75% of the 16 research and hatchery technicians employed at DEI since 2003 were former UMM students.
  • DEI’s Director of Research has supervised three graduate students and has served on 18 graduate student committees at the University of Maine (Orono) and one at Florida Atlantic University. At UMM, he has supervised seven undergraduate theses, and 19 undergraduates for research credits or as co-op students.

Last updated 12/24/19


Our Community Impact:


DEI provides science-based leadership to adapt to a changing marine environment.


DEI has produced hundreds of millions of seed clams for coastal communities.


DEI has assisted fishermen and other entrepreneurs create new aquaculture opportunities.


DEI’s marine education program makes scientific exploration part of pre-K to 12 grade education


Join us August 11th for this annual event and our ribbon-cutting ceremony for our new facility.

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