Monday, August 22, 2011


If you happen to live in New England their is a phenomenal partnership happening between fisherman and classrooms - the Adopt-a-Boat program. Through this relationships students are able to experience science and technology first hand, in a real life setting through collaborating with a fishing vessel's crew. Not only are the scientific principles such as sampling, data collection, they see first hand what professional collaboration looks like. The benefits don't stop there. Students also see how interconnected the world is: how the number of fish you catch has an effect, not only on the ecosystem, but on the sustainability of a food source and the larger economy.

When teaching back home in Rhode Island for a year, I had the honor of meeting the director of the program. His enthusiasm for the partnership was contagious and the excitement the students, teachers and most of all the fisherman was electric. The fishermen were empowered by sharing their knowledge and being seen as experts. The teachers were thrilled to have such a rich opportunity to teach their students in an integrated context and the students were engaged because they were making real life connections.

This is the description of the program taken from the Adopt-a-Boat's website,

"A collaborative effort between the fishing industry and educators, the Adopt-a-Boat program draws on the expertise and experience of commercial fishermen to help educate K-12 students. By partnering with classrooms, fishermen help educate students about marine ecology, the complexities of marine resource utilization, and the daily life of fishermen. Conceptualized and organized by New England fishermen, the MIT Sea Grant College Program and other cooperating organizations, Adopt-a-Boat works to present a balanced picture of commercial fishing, thereby building a citizenry enlightened about marine resources and the importance of coastal communities.

Adopt-a-Boat focuses on partnering fishermen with individual classrooms/teachers. Thus far, teachers from Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts have participated in the program. Fishermen from Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, with a variety of vessel types, have also participated. Each boat is linked with a partnering classroom that may be in the same geographic region as the vessel's homeport or may be hundreds of miles away! The choice is yours."

1 comment:

  1. It's really nice to know that programs such as these exist to stimulate interests of students with these vital aspects of sustainable food production. In addition, it teaches other academic skills as well. More power to you.

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