The Penobscot River Watershed Education Program:
Celebrating and Strengthening Community Connections to the River that Sustains Us
Topic 1: Basic Watershed Hydrology/Ecology
Topic 2: Sea-Run Fish Ecology
Topic 3: Industrial Uses of the Penobscot River/River Resource Management
Topic 4: Oral History
Topic 5: River Restoration, Focusing on the Penobscot River Restoration Project
Faculty and fifth grade students at Old Town Elementary School (OTES) are piloting a new, multidisciplinary education program this fall. The pilot program is called the Penobscot River Watershed Education Program, and it is funded by the U.S. Geological Survey/University of Maine Water Resources Research Institute Grants Program, the Maine Sea Grant Program, the University of Maine Senator George J. Mitchell Center, and the Penobscot River Restoration Trust. The program engages students in watershed and river restoration science, sea-run fish ecology, and cultural studies through five classroom and field-based curriculum units, and two community projects. The curriculum units started in September, focusing on: watershed hydrology/ecology; sea-run fish ecology; industrial uses of the river; cultural history/human ecology in the watershed; and current river restoration efforts. The community projects include conducting oral history interviews with Penobscot River watershed community members, and creating a series of educational posters for two permanent public information kiosks along the river. Through the program, the students met with watershed managers and fisheries biologists, local industry professionals, and river restoration and cultural history professionals working throughout the Penobscot River watershed. They also interviewed family and community members, explored historical documents and photographs in local museums, and conducted research on the cultural, social, economic, and ecological importance of the Penobscot River. The students are currently compiling information from their oral history interviews, field trips, guest lectures and classroom lessons to create three large educational posters. In the spring of 2008, they will help build two public information kiosks for their posters at waterfront sites in Old Town. When the kiosks are complete, the students will have a chance to show off their hard work to the community in an opening presentation.
Sandy Daniel, 5th Grade Science Teacher, OTES
Kristy St. Peter, 5th Grade Math Teacher, OTES
Cathy Lucas, 5th Grade Social Studies Teacher, OTES
Lynn Mayer, Librarian, OTES
Jeanna Tuell, Principal, OTES
Beth Owen Bisson, Education Coordinator, Maine Sea Grant Program
Ruth Hallsworth, Outreach Manager, George Mitchell Center
Cheryl Daigle, Community Liason/Outreach Coordinator, Penobscot River Restoration Trust
Hannah Webber, Graduate Student, University of Maine
Old Town Elementary fifth graders conducting aquatic invertebrate surveys at Pushaw Lake.
Old Town Elementary fifth graders exploring the Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery visitor center.