ORONO, Maine — When the Maine Sea Grant program began its work in 1980, Jimmy Carter was president, Pac Man was putting pinball machines in mothballs, a 24-hour television news service called CNN began broadcasting and it cost 15 cents to mail a letter to Congress to complain about the high price of gas — $1.25 a gallon.
On Tuesday, about 75 people attended an event at the Buchanan Alumni House at the University of Maine to mark the program’s 30-year partnership with UMaine, the state Department of Marine Resources and local organizations committed to balancing coastal development with the preservation and management of coastal and marine resources.
In greeting the former and currents students, staff and representatives of local organizations, Maine Sea Grant Director Paul Anderson reminded attendees of what was happening in the United States when the program began its work.
Then and now, the two major prongs of Maine Sea Grant are research and outreach education, he said. The program is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the state of Maine.
The program, according to information in its strategic plan, provides:
– Formal and informal learning opportunities to engage stakeholders in marine and coastal issues.
– Support to help facilitate effective participation of stakeholders in natural resource management, and to integrate science and multiple perspectives into the dialogues that lead to new management strategies.
– High-quality scientific information that is used to understand, develop and implement policies for sustainable uses of coastal natural resources.
The two-year budget for the program is nearly $3.5 million, according to information at www.seagrant.umaine.edu.