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by Bill Zoellick

The Town of Gouldsboro has begun work on its Shellfish Resilience Laboratory and will have it operational by this spring. Located in Bunkers Harbor, the Resilience Lab is not only a key element in Gouldsboro’s program to restore clam flats to productivity and sustainability, but will also serve as a hub for data collection and know-how that other Maine communities can use to manage municipal shellfish operations as Maine’s climate changes.

Students have been at the center of the Shellfish Resilience program from the outset. Students were deeply involved in early design work for the nursery trays and other work connected to the new laboratory. While COVID-19 has changed the available options for direct student engagement in building the lab and in fieldwork this coming spring, we are hopeful that will change sooner rather than later.

For many of the shellfish harvesters in Gouldsboro, involving the students is nearly as important as figuring out how to overwinter clams. They often tell us that they wish they had been able learn science while getting outdoors and doing work that matters. They also see bringing young people out on the flats and into the fishery as essential to sustaining it.

Consequently, having a place for students to work and learn has been central to our plans for the Shellfish Lab from the beginning. In the short term, we have funding to support students in building and programming the micro-controller systems that we will need to monitor the systems in the lab. That is work that we should be able to do remotely. Over the longer term, we hope to involve students in much of the operation of the lab.