Coastal Ecology Kayak Expedition

A grant-funded, 3-week kayak adventure for Maine Students!

July 21 – August 12

For Grades 9-12

The application period for this program is now closed! Applicants will be notifed of their selection status on May 14, 2023. Please email for more information.

The Coastal Ecology Kayak Expedition is a no-cost three-week summer program designed for ten participants in grades 9-12, with an interest in coastal ecology, conservation, marine science, or a marine services career. 

This program is a chance for Maine teenagers to explore the opportunities along our coast, and gain valuable hands-on experience traveling and living off the grid in the marine environment. Participants will gain experience handling small watercraft, practicing navigation, learning about wind, weather, and tides, identifying common plant and animal species, and building their marine exploration and survival skills. 

Let's go explore the coast of Maine!

Dates and Details:

Program Dates: 
July 21 – August 12
Length: 3 Weeks
Eligible Grades: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Group Size: 10 students and 2 instructors
Location: Wiscasset Maine
Cost: 100% Grant-funded! No cost to participants!

Our Itinerary:

Starting from our home base on Chewonki Neck in Wiscasset, our participants spend the first few days in “paddle school” in and around Hockomock Bay, learning expeditionary sea kayaking skills, including paddling strokes, wet exits, rescue, group travel, and weather reading. As our trip progresses, students acquire expertise in map and compass navigation and saltwater camping, and in turn, each will take on a leadership role, planning and directing the activity of the group.

Each night, we camp in tents at a different island along our route, taking note of the local ecology and recording the different plant and animal species we encounter along the way in our field journals. Our sea kayaks can ply waters where bigger sailing or fishing boats may not venture, and we often enjoy wonderful, more intimate, interactions with sea life.

Application Details:

This program is 100% free to participating students, thanks to generous grant funding provided by the State of Maine Department of Education “Summer 2023 Coastal Science & Marine Trades” initiative.

Program Dates: July 21 – August 12
Length: 3 Weeks
Eligible Grades: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Location: We start and end at Chewonki, 485 Chewonki Neck Rd, Wiscasset Maine 04578

Timeline to apply:

  • Application Deadline: May 7, 2023
  • Notification Deadline: May 14, 2023
  • Program Start Date: July 21, 2023
  • Program End Date: August 12, 2023

Requirements and Selection Process:

Each application will be evaluated by a selection committee using a 100-point rubric. The top 20% of applications will go through a second round of review to determine the ten highest-scoring submissions, and the top ten selections will be offered a place in the program. Should candidates withdraw or decline, we will proceed, in order, to the next highest-scoring candidate.

The Scoring System:

  1. (10 points) Must be a full-time Maine resident
  2. (10 points) Must attend grade 9-12
  3. (10 points) Must belong to a household with a combined annual income of less than $100,000. 
  4. (1-20 points) Must have limited access* to the ocean or marine environment (*limited access may mean economic, geographic, cultural, or other barriers) 
  5. (1-25 points) A statement explaining your interest in a coastal ecology, marine science, or a marine career
  6. (1-25 points) A supporting letter of recommendation from a teacher or mentor

So many things to see and do!

To broaden our understanding of the historic, current, and future state of Maine’s marine economy and ecology, we also make time to visit at least five leading business/education institutions focused on:

● Maine Fisheries
● Marine Research
● Maritime Construction
● Coastal Ecology and Conservation
● Maritime-related government agencies such as Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Coast Guard, and the Maine Marine Patrol

While the specific itinerary for each trip is governed by the weather and tides, examples of partner sites we have visited in the past include;
the local aquariums, Marine service centers, Oyster farm in Mid-Coast Maine, Wooden boatbuilding facilities, Maritime history museums,
Maine Island Trail Association, Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership, Gulf of Maine Research Institute and many more!

Questions? Contact Us!

Please reach out to Leslie Hunter, Associate Director of Admissions

  • Email:
  • Direct Line: (207) 656-1065
  • Camp Office: (207) 656-1170
  • Camp Office Email: 

Looking for different Chewonki summer adventure??

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