About Us

Our Mission

Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation (GOMLF) established the Student Drifter program in 2004 under the direction of Jim Manning (Retired NOAA Oceanographer). Jim and Erin (executive director of GOMLF) have been working together for over 20 years, working on different designs, hosting workshops and helping educate 1000’s of students all over the world. 

The concept of Student Drifters was established in 2004 as a research-based program by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) lab in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. As originally conceived, the program’s primary objectives were to engineer and deploy low-cost, hand-built, ocean drifters. These units are used to track currents via satellite telemetry. The data collected contributes to NOAAs Integrated Ocean Observing System and validates numerical models. 

Drifter Stats

The drifter program has broadened its scope and invited local schools and educators to become involved in drifter building, deployment, and tracking. The drifters have proven to be a very successful educational tool in high school science or STEM classes, after-school programs, summer science schools, and informal educational settings.


Drifters built and deployed


Participating Schools

Contact us

Have any questions or concerns?

Erin Pelletier (Executive Director)