Ethel Wilkerson

Senior Program Manager

For more than five years, Manomet has been working with the Holt-Muench family, represented primarily by John A. “Jay” Holt, in Georgetown, Maine. Thanks to their commitment to a more sustainable future, the family’s property serves as an outdoor laboratory and classroom where scientists (professional and citizen), shellfish harvesters, students, teachers, and other community members come together to learn more about clams, an integral part of their community’s economy and culture.

The Holt-Muench family purchased property in Georgetown over 80 years ago and continue to have deep roots in the community to this day. Jay Holt’s work to support the health of local shellfish goes back more than 25 years through his work with the Georgetown Shellfish Conservation Committee. This committee is responsible for overseeing the clam resources throughout the town, including setting harvesting policies and spearheading conservation projects.

Just over five years ago, Jay and his siblings, Peter and Elizabeth, welcomed scientific researchers, elementary students, and citizen scientists to their property to learn about clams, invasive green crabs, and to test new aquaculture techniques for growing soft-shell clams. Manomet, with support from a local shellfish harvester, installed an experimental soft-shell clam farm on the property to see if putting nets over baby clams could protect them from being eaten by green crabs. On over 90 research plots over two acres of mud flats, scientists are working with local shellfish harvesters to study clam survival and growth rates to help determine if clam farming is economically viable.