Celebration of the Downeast Institute’s $6.6 Million Dollar Expansion to Occur on Saturday, August 11

Beals, ME – The Downeast Institute (DEI), will celebrate the grand opening of its new $6.6 million facility expansion on Saturday, August 11 from 11am-3pm. The expansion built a state- of-the-art shellfish hatchery and creates the easternmost marine research laboratory and education center in the US.

The day kicks off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and continues into the afternoon with 10th Annual Shellfish Field Day festivities offering fun activities for all ages.  These include opportunities for the public to tour the new facility to see where DEI grows algae and shellfish. Kids can have fun learning about Maine’s marine life in DEI’s giant new touch tank, getting their faces painted, and cheering as Dr. Brian Beal takes on professional clam shucker Marie West during the Clam Shucking Showdown. Kids and adults can also learn how to fly clams and compete in the Annual Clam Flying Contest to win prizes.

Scientists and hatchery technicians will be on hand to demonstrate their important work, as well as explain the expanded capacities of the Downeast Institute and how they will benefit Maine’s seafood industry and science education.

DEI’s eight new specialty laboratories include a large ecology/physiology lab with running seawater, a quarantine lab, and a climate-controlled lab. These facilities will assist scientists and entrepreneurs from this region and beyond as they seek to better understand the relationships between marine organisms and their environment. The new residence hall expands access to DEI’s campus and provides accommodations for up to 20 students, interns, and visiting scholars.  DEI serves as the Marine Science Field Station for University of Maine at Machias whose students and faculty will also benefit.

The expansion of the hatchery facility nearly doubles the space available to produce clams, quahogs, oysters, surfclams, lobsters, mussels, and razor clams for fisheries enhancement, research, and development.

The event is free to all. Food, prepared by Checkered Apron Catering of Jonesport, will be available for purchase throughout the day. For a full schedule of events see: http://www.downeastinstitute.org/shellfish-field-days-at-dei.htm.