While some teachers were taking advantage of the summer to relax, Deb Clark, a Gifted and Talented Program teacher at Winslow Elementary, spent the better part of one week volunteering at the Maine State Aquarium in West Boothbay Harbor. The experience provided a chance not only to give back to the aquarium, a place she has been bringing her students for years, but to grow personally and professionally.
Clark was joined by fellow teachers Jenn Batron, who teaches at Dexter Primary School, Helen Williams, who teaches at Windsor Elementary, Cyn Breare, who is retired from Smith School in Winterport, and Tammy Fereshetian, who is retired from Turner Elementary.
“It was nice to know we were helping the staff at the aquarium,” said Clark. “But we learned a lot as well.”
Clark is no stranger to the aquarium and the learning center on nearby Burnt Island. She has been bringing her students to Burnt Island Lighthouse Education Center on field trips for years. “This will be my eighth year bringing kids to Burnt Island,” said Clark. “I keep coming back because the kids love it.”
Those experiences, plus an appreciation for aquarium’s limited staff resources, made Clark jump at the chance to help when she learned about the need for volunteers from Aquarium Education Director Elaine Jones.
The experience volunteering at the aquarium has not only been personally rewarding, it has informed Clark’s work. “It enriches my teaching experience,” she said. “I can bring this back to the classroom.”
While it might have taken time away from more leisurely pursuits, volunteering at the Maine State Aquarium was a rewarding experience that Clark recommends for her colleagues. “It was worth the time and effort. Teachers make good volunteers,” she explained.
The Maine State Aquarium, located in West Boothbay Harbor and the Burnt Island Lighthouse Education Center provide educational programs and teacher training resources through workshops and courses that offer recertification credits to its participants. For more information on these resources, click here. To learn about volunteer opportunities at the Maine State Aquarium, call 633-9580.