GMGI: 2020: A Year in Review

It was a year that had everything — there were incredible successes and accomplishments, alongside unrivaled challenges and unplanned obstacles. Goals were achieved, expectations were exceeded, but we would be remiss to not acknowledge that 2020 was fraught with difficulties.

Through the good and the hard, we are grateful for the positivity we experienced. Our Academy team changed the lives of two full classes of young adults, and the research team made incredible advances in their work that has direct impact on two very important areas – our oceans and human health. 

Your unflagging support, whether reacting to our monthly updates, tuning in to our virtual Science Hour lectures, sending notes of encouragement or providing generous financial support, has meant so much to us at GMGI. THANK YOU. 

As 2020 comes to a close, please join us for a short look back at some of our favorite moments in a year that will undoubtedly go down as memorable.
From all of us here at GMGI, we wish you and your families a healthy and happy New Year.
See you in 2021,

Chris Bolzan, Executive Director2020: A Year in Review 

Grant announcements, research publications and so many Zoom calls – this was 2020!  Click here to check out the full timeline. 2020 Year in Review

A few days left to help the Sawyer Free Library reach its year-end goal!

Before we turn the page on 2020 (not a second too soon), please consider giving to the Sawyer Free Library Annual Fund!

Your support empowers individuals, strengthens families and makes our community a better place to live. 

Sawyer Free Library is more than a place to find books; it is a place to connect, learn and grow, both within the walls of our building and beyond to your home, office or on the go. The Library provides resources for job seekers, support for language learners, early literacy programs for young children and their families, assistance with new technology, and help to navigate the increasingly complex world of online information.

Support Gloucester’s Sawyer Free Library

If you haven’t yet please donate today and help ensure that the Library continues to evolve to meet the needs of our community in the new year and beyond. 

You can help the library grow by making a tax-deductible donation online today to the

2020 Sawyer Free Library Annual Appeal!

The Gloucester Lyceum presents WINTER TALES: Stories for all ages

HOW TO VIEW THE STORIES: Stories will be posted at 6pm on the date listed. To access the stories, visit our Facebook page or YouTube channel on or after that date. 
Click to view Winter Tales on Facebook
Click to view Winter Tales on YouTube

Please note: Sawyer Free Library’s Holiday Hours

  • December 23 10am – 5pm
  • December 24 – 27 Closed
  • December 28 10am – 5pm
  • December 29 10am – 5pm
  • December 30 10am – 5pm
  • December 31 10am – 5pm
  • January 1 Closed
  • January 2 10am – 5pm

For more information visit

Deck the Docks – Final Weekend!

Deck the Docks is coming to a close this weekend! Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm, Harbor Loop is the perfect spot for any last minute gifts! Deck the Docks is our annual event that supports local artists and brings Maritime Gloucester cheer!

Our Holiday By The Sea Gift Shop is full swing with great items from great local artisans including 

Hold Fast, Offcuts by Giacalone Contracting, FishPrintLady, Glass by Kristine, Melissa Cox Photography, Lanes Creek Pottery, Paintings by Audi Souza, and the Maritime Gloucester Gift Shop.

(shhh….Don’t forget to stop by our 50% off “outlet section” for great gifts for under your tree)

While you are there, pick up your map of Winter Lights! on Cape Ann. Tour the light displays at all 150 participating businesses! Start your discovery at Maritime Gloucester and see the lights on our pier and on Harbor Loop!

AND…make sure to check out the Deck the Docks Virtual Art Show 2020, hosted by seArts and Maritime Gloucester! Browse the catalog here and get some art to deck your walls! Contact for more information.

Shop Local, Support Local Artists and Artisans! A percentage of all sales will support the mission of Maritime Gloucester. See you this weekend.

Shop for a cause – new discounts in Backyard Growers Holiday Shop

All curated gift sets are now 15% off in the Backyard Growers Online Holiday Pop-Up Shop! Shop pre-made gift sets for a one-stop shop for stocking stuffers for kiddos and delightful goodies for the gardener in your life.

Plus, don’t miss out on our custom coffee blend Brew Good, Do Good, brewed with our pals (and neighbors) at Breakwater Roasters.

The shop will be open until midnight on Tuesday, 12/22, for a Wednesday, 12/23, contactless pick-up. Proceeds support our school, community, and backyard garden programs.

Message from the Sawyer Free Library

What a year it has been, but through it all, YOU have been there for US!  THANK YOU!  

The SAWYER FREE LIBRARY is fortunate to have supporters that understand the Library’s value and the service it provides to the community!  

Please view this short video from the President of the Library’s Board of Trustees who shares the important role YOU play in helping to make our work at the Sawyer Free Library possible.

Your support of our Annual Appeal allows us to continue to provide the unprecedented services the community expects, no matter the circumstances. With your help, we promise to be here for all our patrons, to continue to adapt and evolve in service to our incredible and resilient community!


Virtual Workshop: DIY Edible Gifts

Join Backyard Growers on Zoom for a hands-on demo of a seasonal simple syrup and festive snacks that are perfect for last-minute foodie holiday gifts, or just a tasty treat for you!

When: Thursday, December 17, 5:30-6:15pm
Where: Zoom
Tickets: $15 general admission / $7.50 for 2019 & 2020 participants in Backyard Growers’ backyard and community garden programs

At this interactive virtual workshop, attendees will learn how to whip up:

🍹 a cranberry-spiced syrup for use in a festive margarita, seasonal cider, or a holiday limeade,

✨ cinnamon citrus sugar salt for a margarita or mocktail glass rim, or a topping for popcorn,

🎁 delicious savory homemade cheese crackers

Ticket purchasers will receive ingredient lists, recipes, and gift-wrap recommendations ahead of time in case they want to prepare gifts and cook together during the workshop – or, just join us to be merry and enjoy a fun evening together, with the chance to ask questions.

Proceeds support Backyard Growers’ work connecting kids, seniors, and families to the resources they need to grow their own food at schools, in backyards, and at community gardens.

The workshop will be led by Cecily McAndrews, editor and food writer with experience writing for outlets including Food Network Magazine, Rachael Ray In Season, and Pioneer Woman Magazine. She has degrees from the Institute for Culinary Education and Mount Holyoke College. Currently, she edits cookbooks at Callisto Media, bakes whenever she can, and contemplates what to make for dinner.

Dogtown 5-mile Trail Run

Cape Ann Trail Stewards (CATS) is having their annual Dogtown 5-mile Trail Run and it is VIRTUAL.  Run the loop on historic trails through Rockport and Gloucester between  December 11-13 (Friday – Sunday) from 7AM Friday until 4PM Sunday. Your entry fee covers a 1-year CATS membership, race goodies and a beanie. There will be prizes for the top finishers.  Electronic and mail-in registration information can be found under Events at .   The trail map is posted on the CATS Facebook page, Profits from the race go to the maintenance and repair of trails on Cape Ann. Grab your shoes and come for a run in Dogtown.

On The Waterfront with GMGI: November Updates

2020 will be remembered as the year that saw a complete upheaval of daily life. Everyone needed to pivot and adjust — quickly — to a new normal.  

Here at GMGI, it was no exception. With the stay-at-home order implemented in the Spring, our research team lost valuable time in the Institute’s laboratories. Our Academy internships were cut short due to closings, and the graduation was both delayed and scaled down. 

Despite these obstacles and disappointments, the past eleven months have produced some incredible outcomes.

•    The Academy graduated its fourth class (with an impressive 78% graduation rate) and enrolled a full fifth class, which has maintained in-person learning without any positive COVID-19 cases to date.
•    We began the expansion of our Academy to create a new biomanufacturing learning environment, made possible by a grant from Governor Baker’s Workforce Development Cabinet. 
•    Our Science team continued its innovative research, cracking the lobster genome, understanding population genetics of North Atlantic Cod, and investigating genetic diversity of the tiny microorganisms that are vital to sustaining a healthy marine ecosystem. 
•    The GMGI Science Hour was introduced virtually as a way to bring our community together and bring world-class, innovative science safely to you at home. 

We are proud of these accomplishments. And we are equally proud of the dedicated, motivated GMGI staff. They’ve showed that, thanks to a focused determination, the GMGI mission is stronger than ever.  

We hope our performance within the most challenging environment in recent memory gives you the confidence to support GMGI as the year draws to a close. Your tax-deductible donation will fortify our efforts to address the critical challenges facing our oceans, human health and the environment. 

In gratitude,

Chris Bolzan, Executive DirectorDONATE TODAY TO SUPPORT OUR MISSIONGMGI Science Hour Talks Continue 
 Up next on the GMGI Science Hour: our own Donald G. Comb Science Director, Dr. Andrea Bodnar!  Following on the heels of the inspiring talk two weeks ago from Nobel Laureate William G. Kaelin Jr., M.D. – which drew a record setting audience – Dr. Bodnar joins us THIS Thursday December 3rd at 7:30pm via Zoom to discuss her groundbreaking work on the long-lived red sea urchin, and its potential to help scientists understand healthy aging in humans. Register for the talk here.

As always, you can view previous Science Hour talks and learn more about our upcoming speakers on our website.Academy Starts Second Semester
 The Academy’s first semester wrapped up in mid-November, with students completing a final practical exam that consisted of different ‘stations’ set up in the teaching lab, designed to test students’ knowledge and application of different technical laboratory skills.   All students completed their exams – and the semester – successfully, with high praise from their instructors. Teaching Assistant Rebecca Barnard reports that in addition to fulfilling the requirements of semester one, this class had some of the cleanest DNA sequencing results seen in recent years. 

We are also happy to report there were zero cases of COVID-19 within the Academy’s in-person learning model. This accomplishment is a testament to the commitment to safety that students and instructors practiced over the past 12 weeks. 

This morning, students returned to the Academy to begin their second semester.  Using what they learned in semester one on how to extract fish DNA for sequencing, semester two will guide students through the process of extracting protein from fish samples.  There will also be an introduction to mammalian cell culture – the growth and passaging of cells derived from animal tissue.  Additionally, this class will be the first to end semester two with four weeks of biomanufacturing – a brief introduction to what will soon be a permanent addition to the Academy curriculum in 2021. You can read more about the new biomanufacturing curriculum and lab, and the grant that enabled it, here.GMGI research associates  Dylan Comb and  Tim O’Donnell stop at Corliss Landing on a sampling trip in late November, collecting water samples for an ongoing eDNA project analyzing the local cod population.GMGI’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

During the summer months, GMGI created an internal Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee. Since its formation, the committee has met on a regular basis to address issues of inclusion and equity in the workplace, develop staff training and growth opportunities, and foster an environment free of bias and judgment. The committee has developed this statement of commitment:
 In addition to researching diversity in our oceans, GMGI is committed to supporting diversity in our workforce and classrooms. We know that having varied backgrounds and experiences stimulates discussion and new ideas. We are taking action on diversity, equity, and inclusion by providing substantial training opportunities to increase self-awareness as an organization, and building a team of staff and students from uniquely different backgrounds.The GMGI Science Minute

As you enjoyed your second (or third) helping of Thanksgiving dinner, GMGI Scientist Matt Harke, PhD hopes you remembered to thank your gut microbiome.