CAMDEN — Forty friends of S.E.A. enjoyed a sunset cruise aboard Schooner Appledore as a fund and awareness raising event.

And what a ride it was!

“The evening on the water aboard Schooner Appledore offered the ideal environment for sharing ideas and raising both awareness of the S.E.A. mission and funds to support the work.  And, everyone talked about how much fun they had,” said S.E.A. President Barbara Lawrence. “For that opportunity, and a perfect cruise with a glorious sunset, we are deeply grateful.”

“We limited the number of people so everyone would be able to move around the deck easily,” said Lead organizer and Board Member Joee Patterson, who also serves S.E.A Secretary. “There were such interesting people on board – and we were really pleased to see them sharing ideas and stories.”

Schooner Appledore donated the cruise and beer, wine and other drinks, as well as four pairs of tickets for any Appledore cruise next season, and Appledore tee-shirts raffled off during the trip. Blaze, The Camden Deli, French & Brawn Marketplace, and The Red Barn Market Place and Bakery contributed appetizers and desserts. Captain of the Appledore, Shawn Griffith, helped make the trip very comfortable and enjoyable.

The total raised was $3,000 for S.E.A. The $3,000 raised will help fund the next grant cycle and allow S.E.A. to develop new programs, possibly including an aquarium to support the S.E.A. mobile marine tank, an oyster project, and others.

The cruise brought together old friends who have been working towards a better environment, including Keri Kaczor from Maine Sea Grant; Jennifer Matthews from Hurricane Island Center for Science  and Leadership; Will Galloway from Watershed School; Jay Burnett and friends, State Representative Vicki Doudera and her husband Ed; along with daughter-in-law Sarah Doudera, S.E.A. Board member and marine biologist; her husband Matt and their two young sons.

Some of S.E.A.’s strongest supporters were there as well including Niki Jaczura, Necole Quinn, and Michelle Curtis from First National Bank, which has donated money to build the mobile marine tank and will sponsor S.E.A. FAIR ’22.

New friends including Peter Garrett, coordinator of the Maine Citizens’ Climate Lobby, and Elizabeth Halpren, Andy Lebarge and Adam Obst, joined the cruise.

All members of the S.E.A. Board were present including new members Lynn Rutter, a specialist in outdoor education, and Dave St. Laurent, Camden’s director of public works.

Three members of the new Advisory Board including Esperanza Stancioff, climate change lead for UMaine extension and ME Sea Grant, Helen Bass, experienced in conservation business management, and Jeff Runge, professor of oceanography who teaches for the University of Maine and the Gulf of Maine Research Center, were also on board.

Advisory Board members Jesse Bifulco , who donated the legal work to create the non-profit, and Des FitzGerald could not attend. FitzGerald donated copies of “Best Seashore Nature Sites,” which he co-authored, given to attendees.

S.E.A. was created to help award granst to teachers in all schools in the five towns for programs, equipment, and professional development that would help them engage their students in stewardship of local watersheds.

Last year alone, S.E.A. awarded grants to four teachers to attend Herring Gut Learning Center’s course on aquaponics.

“It’s the best professional development I’ve ever experienced“ said Kisha Marsh and Deb McSweyn, both teachers at Camden-Rockport Middle School.

In addition, S.E.A. funded supplies and plants to start a nature trail at Hope Elementary School; equipment for night amphibian walks at Sweetland School; a salmon study program at Appleton Village School and Grunden gear so students at PeoplePlace could go outside in any weather.

S.E.A. also hosts community events including Poetry on Windows, created by board member Elphie Owen, who teaches at CRMS, ROVing Day with Oceanswide, and S.E.A FAIR.

S.E.A. is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that serves 11 schools and the communities of Appleton, Camden, Hope, Lincolnville, and Rockport. S.E.A.’s mission is to increase community awareness of ways to be better stewards of our local watersheds, and its vision is an educated and engaged community, preserving and improving the local watersheds.

Perhaps the best news is that Rod Veal, co-owner of the Appledore, who offered S.E.A. this opportunity, has invited the organization to do this again next year.

For more information visit StewardshipEducationAlliance.org.