Meet Our Staff

Herring Gut Learning Center does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, nationality, political affiliation, age, or religious beliefs in the administration of its programs.

Sam Belknap

Executive Director

Sam Belknap grew up in Midcoast Maine in the towns of Damariscotta and Bristol. He learned to lobster from his grandfather and father and grew up on the waters of Muscongus Bay. After graduating from Lincoln Academy in 2000, Sam succumbed to a youthful wanderlust and left Maine for Arizona and the west coast. Thankfully the salt water in his blood drew him back to Maine to pursue BA in Anthropology at the University of Maine. After graduating summa cum laude in 2007, Sam started the Masters program at UMaine’s renowned Climate Change Institute. After obtaining his masters and holding various jobs, including running his family’s lobster wharf in Round Pond Maine, Sam returned to pursue a PhD at UMaine as a National Science Foundation Research Fellow. He is currently finishing his doctoral work on the role of leadership in the success of Maine’s iconic lobster fishery.

Sam’s passion has always been Maine’s coastal communities, especially those where many people rely on the sea to make a living. He is incredibly excited to join the team at Herring Gut Learning Center, where he sees people helping the children who are at the core of these coastal communities. “Herring Gut has a special place in my heart,” Sam says, “Having struggled in traditional classroom settings, especially in High School, I know firsthand the difference that experiential learning and one on one time with exceptional educators can make. That’s why I am thrilled to support the great work that the staff at Herring Gut is doing here for this region’s students”.

Sam sees aquaculture as playing a key role in the future of Maine’s coastal economy, and the work on aquaculture and aquaponics that provides the core of Herring Gut’s curriculum will be integral in helping future generations of Maine students.

Sam, his wife Christina, and two boys, Henry and Wesley are thrilled to move back to Midcoast Maine and once again join the communities that they love so much. In fact, Wesley, who is four years old, has already told his parents that he, “will be going to Herring Gut school because of all the really cool things they do”.

Heidi Timmermann

Executive Assistant 

Originally from New York State, Heidi moved to Thomaston at a young age where she was educated through the local school system. Heidi went on to attend both Thomas College and University of Maine systems where she earned a certificate in paralegal studies and an associate degree in liberal arts. 

Growing up, Heidi’s summers were spent picking blueberries, clamming and exploring the beaches in front of her family’s cottage on Maple Juice Cove in Cushing. Heidi’s family cottage was built by hand by her great, great aunt, Annabelle Williams. Annabelle travelled the world with her father, Heidi’s four times great grandfather Herbert Williams who was a captain upon the whaling ship “Frederick Billings."  Several stories and souvenirs from their adventures together have been passed down through generations of her family, sparking Heidi’s interest and love for the sea.

In addition to working at HGLC, Heidi was previously part owner and operator of Thomaston Grocery. Heidi now owns and operates Save Your Thyme Catering based in Rockport. In her free time, Heidi still enjoys exploring Maine’s various beaches, boating, road trips, traveling, cooking, event planning and photography. Heidi has three children and resides with her youngest daughter, Sophia in Rockport.

Liz Bowe

Aquaculture and Marine Science Teacher

Originally from a small town in Western New York, Liz has always had a love of the waterfront, fishing and flipping over rocks in Conesus and Hemlock Lakes. She quickly fell in love with Maine on a family trip, and decided to spend 4 years at the University of New England receiving her B.S. in both Marine Biology and Aquaculture & Aquarium Science with a minor in Mathematics. During her four years at UNE, Liz was able to conduct research in the Ornamental Fishes Aquaculture lab and intern at the Maine State Aquarium. After graduation, Liz spent time in Florida as a camp counselor, but missed the mountains and cold New England waters so she jumped on the opportunity to find herself back in Maine working with the Maine State Aquarium. With a love of the ocean, education, and aquaponics, she was thrilled to accept a position at the Herring Gut Learning Center! Liz loves to travel and in her spare time she can be found hiking, rock climbing and kayaking all around the beautiful coast of Maine!

Katie May Laumann

Aquaculture and Marine Science Teacher

Katie May became interested in marine science in 7th grade when she attended an outdoor science camp at the Catalina Island Marine Institute.  She went on to study biology at Southampton College of Long Island University and later earned a Master’s degree from Columbia University, where she studied seafood sustainability in the restaurant industry.  While working towards a Ph.D. in Marine Science at the College of William and Mary, she taught middle school science as a “scientist in residence” through the National Science Foundation’s GK-12 program.  After completing her dissertation research on sturgeons and earning her doctorate, she worked as a fisheries manager for the state of Virginia.  Katie May is thrilled to re-join the world of education as a member of the Herring Gut Learning Center team. She first fell in love with Maine while visiting on her wedding planning trip, and is excited to relocate with her husband and cat (Berlioz)!  Katie May is eager to explore Maine’s hiking trails, tidepools, and culinary scene.  During her free time, she enjoys travelling, cooking, and jogging.

Heather Richard

Aquaculture and Marine Science Teacher

Heather grew up in Gorham, ME and spent most of her childhood exploring the outdoors and in awe of the natural world. Before joining the team at Herring Gut Learning Center, Heather received a B.A. in biology from Clark University in Worcester, MA studying the evolution of threespine stickleback fish. After a nature interpretation internship through Project Puffin in 2005, she began her career as an experiential science educator, working at outdoor education programs based in New York, West Virginia, Florida and California. In 2016 she received a M.S. degree through San Francisco State University studying plastic pollution in aquatic habitats.

For Heather, returning to her home state of Maine to share and explore the ocean with students and teachers is a dream come true. Her other dreams include playing in a rock band and visiting the ocean’s depths in a submersible- not necessarily at the same time. Heather also enjoys outdoor adventures, traveling, expressing creativity through art and writing, and listening to waves on the shore.



Inspiring a New Generation through Marine Education

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