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Beacon School News, April 21, 2011

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Day camp

DAMARISCOTTA — Pemaquid Watershed Association invites families to send a child to camp for free. For the past decade, the association has supported children’s participation in

summer camp at little or no cost to the camper’s family, thanks to the Hauschka Scholarship Fund, created in honor of the family that spearheaded the organization’s grass-roots origins. The fund makes summer camp experiences and lasting memories possible for kids who otherwise might not be able to attend such programs. Due to a recent influx of donations to the fund, the association announced that there is scholarship money available to defray the cost of camp in July for five to eight children.

The cost for a five-day camp session is $175, which can be defrayed by either a full or partial scholarship, depending on the needs of the family. The application process for a scholarship involves providing two references for the camper and a statement from the camper about why she or he wants to attend to camp. The camp and scholarship preregistration deadline is Monday, May 2.

Scholarships can be used for either of the two sessions of association’s Watershed Kids Nature Day Camp. The Explorers camp for 6- to 8-year-olds is July 4-8. The Naturalist Camp for 9- to 12-year-olds is July 11-15. Camp runs 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day and takes place for four days at the Doyle Preserve in Damariscotta and one day at the Rachel Carson Salt Pond Preserve in New Harbor.

For a downloadable camp brochure with registration form, visit www.pemaquidwatershed.org/education.html. For more information or to request a camp scholarship application, call Camp Director Megan Welch at 563-2196, email pwalearn@pemaquidwatershed.org or stop in at the association’s office at 15 Courtyard St. in Damariscotta.

Scholarship campaign

CAMDEN — The Camden Conference announced the launch of its second annual Scholarship Fundraising Campaign to support two goals: to bring student participation at future conferences up to approximately 20 percent of all attendees and to encourage more high school teachers to attend the conference with their students by offering them reduced ticket prices at some conference venues when they do.

Student attendance at the Camden Conference in February set a record for the second year in a row, with 104 students from various New England (mostly Maine) high schools and colleges coming to conference venues in Camden, Rockland and Belfast for the three-day event, organizers said.

Conference board President Bob Hirsch said this is an important development for the organization, pointing out that in its early years, the Camden Conference often was jokingly referred to as “a small group of experts speaking to a small group of experts.” This perception, he said, is no longer true. “Today’s conference is best described as a broad, expanding educational program, one that brings our signature February conference and its expertise to a much wider public through a number of special programs. None of these is more successful than our student scholarship program.”

This scholarship program supports growing, subsidized conference participation by college and secondary school students from Maine and New England. The 104 students who attended the conference were a diverse group, Hirsch said. Seventy-eight were from various New England colleges, of which 62 came through in-school programs built around the conference theme. Twenty-nine other students came from regional secondary schools, and several were natives of the region being discussed. All benefited from scholarships or discounted student rates, and their conference experience was enriched through a special program organized by the conference. The total cost of this student program was $13,768, offset by about $11,000 in scholarship donations from a number of individuals and businesses.

Those who wish to donate to the student scholarship fund may either go directly to the conference website Support a Student page or contact the conference office at 236-1034 or email info@camdenconference.org.

Energy Fair

ROCKLAND — At the Island Institute’s first-ever Energy Fair on April 8, 110 students, teachers and community members from North Haven, Vinalhaven, Camden, Islesboro, Deer Isle-Stonington and Mount Desert Island got together to learn about renewable energy and energy efficiency through presentations and hands-on workshops. Schools in these communities are participating in the institute’s Energy for ME project for students in grades six through 12 and their families. The project is a year-round educational effort designed to help them better understand their communities’ energy consumption habits and implications as well as to develop effective strategies to increase energy efficiency. The project is funded by Time Warner Cable’s “Connect a Million Minds” initiative to increase science, technology, engineering and math competencies across the United States and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Similar events were held across the country during the week of April 4-8. The daylong event was held at the University of Maine’s Hutchinson Center in Belfast.

With cardboard, wood, plastic, cooking oil, pinwheels, mirrors and other everyday items, students explored energy auditing, learned how to make biodiesel fuel, built interior storm windows, constructed miniature floating wind turbines, discovered their own carbon footprints and tested designs for passive solar houses outside in the sunshine.  Presenters included Richard Burbank of Evergreen Home Performance, Susan Therio of the University of Maine Chemistry Department, Island Institute Fellows Birgitta Polson and James Westhafer, Seth Swanberg from DeepCwind, Beth Otto from the Maine Energy Education Program and Peter Arnold from the Chewonki Sustainability Program.

For more information on the Energy for ME project, call Ruth Kermish-Allen, Island Institute director of education, at 594-9209, ext. 117, email rallen@islandinstitute.org or visit www.islandinstitute.org.


Hutchinson Center oceanography course

BELFAST — The UMaine Hutchinson Center announced that it will offer the lecture and lab course Concepts in Oceanography (SMS 110 and SMS 111) May 9 through Aug. 19 at the center. The class will meet weekly. The instructor will be School of Marine Sciences professor Dr. William Ellis.

Participants will learn about physical, chemical and biological aspects of oceanography, how these components interact to function as an ocean system, how ocean systems change through time, and the science behind current issues related to the Gulf of Maine and global oceans.

Laboratories will include field measurements and local water sampling in Belfast Bay, studies of intertidal and marine organisms from the Gulf of Maine, and current issues related to oceans and local marine ecosystems. Students will have the opportunity to develop their computer skills by investigating Gulf of Maine buoy data. The laboratory also will include a daylong Saturday field trip to the Darling Marine Center in Bristol, with a half-day voyage aboard the research vessel Ira C to learn how scientists study marine ecosystems.

This course is open to students, teachers, fishermen, naturalists and those who want to understand the science of Earth’s oceans and, in particular, the Gulf of Maine system. For more information, call the center at 338-8000.

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