September 14, 2015

Cumberland County Soil and Water District begins a six-week program - By Michelle Libby

Cumberland County Soil & Water District, based in South Windham, is starting a 6-week program for home schooled students from ages 11 to 13 all about what’s in the mud and how it gets there.
CCSWD usually hosts one or two day programs in school classrooms. When they were approached by home schoolers to run a longer program, Deb Debiegun, the district educator for CCSWD, put together a program that will run six weeks and will have a field trip to the ocean. 

The classes are to “raise awareness of how our actions effect Casco Bay, even if we’re way up here in Windham,” Debiegun said. 

All programs are science based, hands on programs that will engage students in local environmental issues and empower them to be active stewards, she said. In addition to the Mudflat Mayhem!, CCSWD also has an ocean currents program. 

The Mudflat class will be on Mondays and most will be in the South Windham office conducting experiments. A lot of the work will be science based on work being done by Friends of Casco Bay. The program is supported by the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, Cumberland County Commissioners and the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. 

“It couldn’t be a more timely project,” Debiegun said. With climate change the oceans are becoming more acidic. That makes the mudflats more susceptible to run off from things like soap from washing a car in the driveway, fertilizer, not picking up dog poop, pesticides and salt from the winter, she said. “They all end up in our water system and dumped into Casco Bay. Making the mudflats more ascetic and is suspected to be a cause of many clam flats not being productive,” Debiegun said. The students will learn about the environmental impact, economic impact and the potential loss of a habitat for clams.   

A program like this one will give the student ownership for taking care of the water system and ultimately Casco Bay, Debiegun said. 

The Mudflat Mayhem! program will be capped at 16 participants. For more information or to sign up, call  892-4700, email or visit

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