The University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center recognized Annelissa “Lili” Pugh for her commitment to marine science education as she leaves the position of the center’s K-12 education coordinator in late November.
“We are very grateful to Lili Pugh for her dedication and many contributions to the center,” said Darling Marine Center Director Heather Leslie.
Pugh has been the heart and soul of the marine center’s K-12 program for six years. Each year, she welcomed hundreds of students from the Pemaquid Peninsula and beyond to the Darling Marine Center for hands-on learning experiences.
“The greatest compliments I have received are when students tell me that they want to become a marine scientist when they are older,” Pugh said. “Then I know the experience has sparked some new understanding and appreciation for the ocean.”
In addition to her on-site programs focusing on marine biology and aquaculture, Pugh and a host of undergraduate and graduate students brought touch tanks to popular community events such as the annual oyster, alewife, and pumpkin festivals in the area.
Pugh and Damariscotta River Association Director of Education and Environmental Monitoring Sarah Gladu developed the Damariscotta Estuarine Education Program, which combined classroom sessions with field trips to the Darling Marine Center for sixth- through eighth-graders.
“Working with Lili has been an absolute pleasure,” said Gladu. “We have a mutual belief that it is imperative that the next generation understands the scientific method, has knowledge about the estuarine environment, and develops a deep love for this place.”
Despite Pugh’s departure, these are exciting times for the Darling Marine Center. Construction will start soon on a new pier, along with major renovations to the center’s Flowing Seawater Lab, thanks to a $1.5 million award from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and matching funds from UMaine and state marine-bond funds.
During the construction, the Darling Marine Center will not be taking reservations for K-12 field trips. However, those who have ideas for future marine education programs at the center are asked to please forward their comments to Linda Healy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded in 1965, the Darling Marine Center is the University of Maine marine laboratory. Its mission is to connect people to the ocean. The center’s researchers, staff, and students work alongside fishermen, aquaculture entrepreneurs, marine industry professionals, and other members of the community in Maine and around the world. More information is available at dmc.umaine.edu.