WESTBROOK, ME (July 11, 2019) As this past school year drew to a close over 200 fourth graders from Canal, Sacarrapa, and Congin schools were excited by the prospect of taking the customary annual school trip to the Boston Museum of Science.

The excursion was unexpectedly jeopardized when the previous sponsor withdrew support from the program. One of the parent volunteers, when told the trip would not be occurring, decided to take matters into his own hands. “When I was told the transportation funding had been lost I decided to canvass local businesses to solicit support for the trip. I’m so grateful that Artel and two other local businesses helped make it happen.” The trip happened on schedule and the children traveled on charter busses to the museum. By all accounts the kids were thrilled with the many new discoveries and adventures they encountered.

The volunteer went on to say, “Both my son and daughter attend Westbrook schools. I saw first-hand with my son’s class how valuable the experience of going to the museum was for the children. Many of the kids had never been outside of Maine before and had never seen anything like a science museum. It’s a very hands-on, interactive environment and it really opened up a whole new world of ideas for them. Getting kids interested in the sciences at a young age is incredibly beneficial to them and to Maine’s future. I hope a way can be found to continue the trip for future classes.”

Following up on the museum trip, the schools held an end-of-year field day event that included an Artel-themed activity to express thanks for the sponsorship. A “pipetting contest” was held in which the children formed lab-coated teams and used turkey basters to see who could most accurately fill a graduated cylinder with water to a specified target volume. This was not only a lot of fun on a warm day, it also gave each of the participants some perspective on the scientists working with pipettes that are so often pictured in news stories of medical discoveries, biotech, and laboratory science. It was a wonderful way to end the school year, with inspiration and fun for the next generation of scientists right here in our own community.