Students in after-school programs at Searsport, Frankfort and Stockton Springs elementary schools learned about Maine’s commercial fisheries from Penobscot Marine Museum educators during the school year just ended. Now their final projects — posters that explain the concept of sustainability — are on display at the museum.

“Sustainability is a complex issue which our students in grades one through five mastered,” said Betty Schopmeyer, the museum’s education director. Presented as a series of “messages” throughout the year, concepts of sustainability were introduced gradually and reinforced by hands-on activities, reading, writing, vocabulary instruction and games. Students’ posters illustrate messages such as “If there are lots of fish available, then many fishermen can make a living, more boats can go out fishing, and fishermen can afford to buy bigger fishing boats and more equipment,” and “If too many boats are catching fish, then it is hard for the fish stock to keep up its numbers.” The final message defines sustainability as “finding a balance between catching fish and allowing enough fish to continue to live and breed in the ocean.”

The posters are on display through Oct. 24 in the Gone Fishing exhibit in the museum’s Old Town Hall and in the Marine Science Lab in the Old Vestry building.

Learning about fisheries is part of Penobscot Marine Museum’s Maritime History and Literacy Curriculum, which is taught weekly in after-school programs in RSU 20. The after-school program supports students who are at risk for academic difficulty by offering tutoring, cultural enrichment, physical education and nutrition four days a week. PMM’s curriculum supports both the academic and cultural enrichment requirements of the program by integrating literacy activities with topics in maritime history.

Penobscot Marine Museum is Maine’s oldest maritime museum and home to the state’s largest display of historic boats and outstanding collections of marine art and artifacts, ship models and historic photography. Admission is free to Searsport residents.

Penobscot Marine Museum is on US Rte. 1 in Searsport, between Camden, Bangor, and Mt. Desert Island. More information is at www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org or call 548-2529.