Lighthouse Education & Nautical Studies (LENS) is a non-profit, 501(c)3, whose mission is to research, retrieve, and record our nation’s maritime history in order to provide educational materials, programs, and services focused on lighthouses and our maritime history.
Sharing Maritime History with Students, Teachers and the Public
Training & Presentations On-site or in the Field
Lessons for Students of All Ages
Experiential Learning on Land and on the Water
Serving the Public
Since 2004, informational kiosks at Bass Harbor and Owl’s Head Lighthouses provide thousands of visitors with information about each station’s history, beacon, fog signal, important events, keepers who served, and more. Besides these exhibits, our organization shares results from its extensive research about Maine’s Lights and the state’s maritime history on this website.
LENS provides instruction to educators in the classroom, at lighthouse stations, and on the water. Our experiential, learning opportunities create awareness and understanding about the marine environment, lighthouses and life-saving stations, and our nation’s maritime heritage. Lessons learned from our programs are transferable during fieldtrips or in classroom settings.
Serving School Children
Through our hands-on lessons, students immerse themselves in the subject at hand by partaking in activities about exploration, maritime history, lighthouses, marine life, ocean habitats and more. Our approach to learning promotes team-work, increases engagement, leads to critical thinking, and results in higher retention rate of the subject matter.
Our Board of Directors
Lighthouse Education & Nautical Studies’ five board of directors come from all walks of life with each person bringing their own personal, professional and life experiences to the organization.
President Elaine Jones
Former public school teacher and retired Education Director for the Maine Dept. of Marine Resources, she built the Maine State Aquarium and acquired and restored the Burnt Island Lighthouse for the public’s educational and recreational enjoyment.
Vice President Hal Marden
After retiring from his engineering position with Dupont Corp., he returned to his native state as a summer resident in Boothbay Harbor. As captain of sailing and power vessels, he fell in love with lighthouses while plying the waters of coastal Maine since childhood.
Secretary/Treasurer Terri Kelsea
As a retired bank employee, she served in a variety of management capacities that included overseeing tellers, loan officer, and assistant vice president at Mechanics Savings Bank.
Director Carolyn Nichols
As a high school biology teacher and department chair in the Bath school system, her multifaceted talents, interests and skills have served her well as instructor, artist, gardener, bee-keeper, and lighthouse-lover.
Director Jean McKay
A retired teacher and founder of the nonprofit Keepers of the Burnt Island Light, she was instrumental in developing and overseeing its living history program and fundraising campaign for the Bicentennial Restoration Project.
Awards & Testimonials
Governor’s Commendation – “The people of Maine are grateful for Elaine Jones’ commitment to preserving this enduring symbol of our state’s strong and vital maritime heritage. Ms. Jones has protected the future of this historic site for the education and enjoyment of generations to come.”
Teacher Sailing Excursion – Teachers will bring back to the classroom a sense of adventure, a love of sailing, new knowledge and appreciation of our coast and the maritime history of our state, and the desire to make nautical studies a part of their teaching.
Maine Science Teacher’s Association
The Philip Marcoux Award in 2017 for non-formal science education professionals who work outside the formal classroom setting and who make continuous and enduring contributions to science education.
Coast Guard Challenge Coin Recipient
A “Challenge Coin” by Rear Admiral Thomas G. Allan Jr. was awarded in honor of service beyond the call of duty for Lighthouse Preservation.
Keeper of the Light Award – 2019
“Elaine Jones has pursued and fulfilled a dream – one that has breathed new life into an abandoned historic site, and done so without the use of taxpayer’s dollars. She credits family, friends, former keepers, volunteers, teachers, school children, local businesses and generous donors who have championed for her cause. Their generosity to “keep the light burning” truly represents Maine’s culture and its “way of life.”
Maine Preservation Award – 2022
The annual Maine Preservation Honor Award recognizes excellence in historic preservation. Burnt Island Light Station celebrated its Bicentennial in 2021 as a beautifully restored historic site for the people of Maine. It is now a place of learning for students, teachers, and members of the public; and will continue to be a recreational site for boaters and a navigational aid for mariners.
Women of the Working Waterfront Award- 2022
The Friends of Windjammer Days recognized Elaine Jones as a female role model in Boothbay Harbor’s maritime community who presently inspire young girls and future maritime generations to come.
Gulf of Maine Visionary Award- 2016
The Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment’s Visionary Award recognized innovation, creativity, and commitment to protecting the marine environment through strategies that included public awareness and grassroots action.
Maine Lighthouse Trust Grant – 2022
Lighthouse Education & Nautical Studies was awarded a grant funded by proceeds from Maine’s first lighthouse specialty license plate. The award is in recognition of the organization’s services to foster public awareness of Maine’s historic lighthouses through education.
Sign up for our Newsletter
Be first to hear about new maritime topics and events