April 13, 2020
Presented By Syma Ebbin, Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics and Connecticut Sea Grant, UConn and Colleen Franks, Dept. of Marine Sciences, UConn
The Blue Heritage Trail (BHT) project, supported by the University of Connecticut Office of Public Engagement, National Park Service and Connecticut Sea Grant seeks to raise public awareness of the critical importance of the marine environment and maritime economy and culture in Connecticut and, indeed, everywhere. Connecticut’s maritime heritage is long and varied, encompassing the relationship of indigenous peoples to the marine environment, the development in the early decades of the United States and continuation of maritime commerce, as well as the many significant individuals and events that played a role in transforming this region. Public awareness and appreciation of this is critical in developing a holistic understanding of the value of the marine environment and maritime heritage in CT and the US. Most learning that occurs over the course of a person’s life occurs outside the boundaries of formal instructional settings, in informal situations, often outside of educational institutions. The BHT is designed to target life-long learners engaged in this type of free-choice learning. The trail is comprised of walking, car and boat tours, augmented by physical signage and virtual content hosted on our website and on the IZI travel app. We have assembled a BHT Advisory Board, partnered with the Thames River Heritage Park and continue to incorporate this project into UConn classes via service-learning, internships and independent projects. The BHT project aims to provide learning opportunities for residents and visitors, allowing them to locate, visit and enrich their understanding of maritime-themed attractions and events.