Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences recently hosted 16 high school students from around the state during its 18th annual Keller–BLOOM Program, May 20-24. Students enjoyed a five-day research experience at the Laboratory's facilities in West Boothbay Harbor. On Monday May 21st, they went up the Sheepscot River by boat and took water samples and collected data at 4 stations along the river. Working with Bigelow scientists in their labs, they examined the samples taken on the research cruise and identified the species of plankton and zooplankton. They also determined the range of nutrients and salinity that were factors affecting the plankton populations. On the final day of the program, students made presentations to parents, Bigelow staff and invited guests, sharing what they observed and learned during the activities.
The Keller BLOOM Program is designed to encourage careers in marine science and to further enhance students' interest in science in general. It was initiated in 1990 at the suggestion of Jim McLoughlin of Harpswell, who was on the Bigelow Board of Trustees. In 1999, the program was renamed in memory of Maureen Keller, a Bigelow scientist who directed the program for several years and was keenly interested in promoting science education. Students who qualify for the program must be juniors in high school, have excellent science and math backgrounds, answer an essay question and provide letters of reference. The 2007 BLOOM Program was made possible by major donations from the Sylvester Foster Foundation, The First Bank, and TSB Asset Management Group, as well as individual donations.
Program Coordinator, Dr. Nicole Poulton, stated, “This year's Keller BLOOM group bonded immediately although none of the students knew each other previously. They had a wonderful time both in the Lab activities and during their free time. The Bigelow staff enjoyed working with them, and we all were pleased to have such a cooperative group of students.”
Sarah Ahern, Ellsworth - Ellsworth High School
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