BEALS, Maine. (WABI)- The Downeast Institute in Beals has gotten a makeover.
The institutes’ 6.6 million dollar expansion is finally complete and open to the public.
“It feels like it has finally happened and whether it’s eighteen years or eighteen months, whatever the length of time has been we have persevered, we have not taken no for an answer and it’s here.”
They celebrated their grand opening on Saturday with members of the community.
The day kicked off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony then continued throughout the afternoon with the 10th Annual Shellfish Field Day which offers fun activities for all ages.
Student younger and older visit the Institute and spend their time learning about marine ecology.
It also serves as the Marine Science Field Station for the University of Maine at Machias.
“This is a legacy for the future and we hope that students whether they are K-12 or K-16 and other learners take advantage of what we have built and how we go forward.”
Many different kinds of marine life are raised at the institute.
“We raise a lot of commercially imported shellfish such as soft-shell clams, co-hogs, razor clams, scallops. So these are all really important for the state of Maine moving forward.”
It is the largest marine research laboratory and education center in the U.S.
“Marine Economy along the coast of Maine is who we are, it supplies tens and tens of thousands of jobs and a way of life that we have had in Maine for generations.”
One of their goals is to continue to improve the marine economy in the state.
“We work with the coastal communities to understand, using the scientific method what’s happening so that we can improve our marine economy and our access to seafood in this state.”