Outreach & Participation

Making Connections -  This project is about communities in two different ways. We are trying to learn more about the community of pioneer settlers who lived around Merrymeeting Bay in the 17th and 18th centuries, but we are also interested in making connections between those pioneers and members of the present-day communities around the bay.

Merrymeeting Bay, as we know it today, is a product of its natural and human history. All of the people who have called the area home over the millennia have left their mark in diverse ways, helping to shape our present-day culture and society as well as the area's ecology.

We believe that learning more about the area's past will foster a greater level of interest and appreciation among community members in their rich cultural and natural heritage, while also preparing them to make better planning decisions that affect that heritage.

To develop a heightened sense of appreciation and "ownership" of this heritage, we want to stress community education and participation.

As you can see in the Objectives and Progress page of this website, we have already been actively making connections with the community as part of our education and outreach effort, and we plan to continue to do so, including finding new ways that community members can become involved in our project.

Educational Outreach - As our project progresses, we are acquiring more data and test results and making this information available to the community through our website, public presentations, sharing data and imagery with other organizations, consulting with professional and avocational researchers, creating detailed site testing and excavation reports to be archived for research purposes, etc.

We will also be looking at other ways to educate the community about our project. For example, as the project progresses and we build a larger repertoire of sites, data, and artifacts, we may give tours of sites (with owner permission) or arrange public exhibits at appropriate venues.

Direct Participation - We are interested in directly involving other individuals in our project in a variety of ways and at different levels of participation. Some examples include:

  • Fieldwork - Volunteer fieldwork opportunities will almost certainly present themselves as the project moves forward. Fieldwork may include assisting with field survey work, excavating test units, cleaning/photographing/recording artifacts, taking soil samples, etc. We plan to post these opportunities on this website as they develop.
  • School Projects - We have already worked with school faculty to arrange opportunities for student participation in the project, and we would like to continue this approach.
  • School/College Credit - This is a potential option that we plan to explore.
  • Research - There may be opportunities to carry out archival/documentary research on a range of topics related to the project, including possible interviews with experts in various disciplines.
  • Consulting or Direct Involvement - As the project grows, we welcome input from experts in fields related to the project and its goals, including historians, archaeologists, geologists, biologists, and other experts who can offer knowledge and insight.
  • Landowner Participation - Most properties in the Merrymeeting Bay area are privately owned, and we welcome landowner interest and participation. Some property owners may prefer to just watch and listen, while others may enjoy taking part in the actual survey or excavation work.

*Note to Landowners: Landowners retain full control of their property, and no project activities can take place without their full understanding and permission. Landowners also retain ownership of artifacts found on their property. We may recommend that important materials be donated to an appropriate repository, such as the Maine State Museum, but any such donation would be at the landowner’s discretion. The excavation would be filled or otherwise secured after work ceases, and the landowner will receive a report of the findings that pertain to his/her property. The project also carries its own liability insurance coverage.

Current Activities and Opportunities - A list of upcoming outreach activities and currently available opportunities for participating in the project are listed below.

Volunteer, opportunities should arise in the spring after the ground has thawed and dried to a reasonable extent.

Volunteer opportunities for field work should be upcoming as the project progresses.

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