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How can we use natural resources to positively impact local communities?

MFC 5.0 - School Year 2022/2023

Students from Buckfield, Piscataquis, Schenck, Telstar, Greenville, Dirigo, and Forest Hills are participating our second full-year collaborative project.  Buckfield and Forest Hills begin working on their project in September, while the remainder of the schools begin in January.

Students had their first cohort day in November in Skowhegan where they took a walking tour of the riverfront, learned about the new white water features being installed in the river, viewed a mural depicting Skowhegan's unique history, toured Maine Grains Grainery, and heard from a panel of community members about how all of these initiatives got started. 

Our next cohort day with all of the schools will be in March, stay tuned!

Buckfield High School

Students in Buckfield Jr./Sr. High School's Maine Forest Collaborative class created a poster highlighting their area.

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Buckfield 10th and 11th grade students in Mr. McNaughton's class did an exploration in their area. They realized that there is no mountain bike park in their area, though their school has mountain bikes available for students to use.

Their school sits on 25 acres, much of which is underutilized and already has some natural features that can be used in a mountain bike park. This year, students worked on designing and learning how to build a mountain bike park. They researched bike parks and bike park designs and worked with numerous community partners to help them get feedback on and iterate their plans. After drafting maps, models, a budget, and a plan, students received permission from the school board to move forward with their project. The class applied for and received a Community Building grant from the Northern Forest Center to pay for the excavation of the site. 

Check out their final presentation below!

Forest Hills Consolidated School

Forest Hills High School's Environmental Science class created a poster providing a snapshot of Jackman.

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Forest Hills 11-12th grade students in Evan Worster's class explored the Sunday hunting law. They saw the recent bill that was proposed regarding changing the law and took a look at the survey conducted by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. They realized that many major landowners and small business owners were not included in the survey.

They started gathering their own information and reached out to and surveying local business owners and large landowners in the area to ask them about their views on Sunday hunting. Students looked
 at what has been done already in regard to Sunday hunting both in this state and beyond to learn more about the issue. They connecting with various experts in this area to get their opinions and to be part of the design team to help them work through possible solutions. Students also met with Representative Faulkingham, visited the State House and wrote a testimony to support one of the bills aimed at allowing some form of Sunday hunting. 

Check out their complete final presentation below!

Greenville Consolidated School

Greenville Consolidated School's 11 &12th grade environmental science class created a poster to highlight their area and the assets around them.

Their project worked on increasing public access to Moosehead Lake. Despite it being Maine's largest lake, Red Cross Beach is the only public access on Moosehead. Their challenge statement was, "how can we secure funding and offer ideas to the restoration committee of red cross beach so that its more attractive for visitors?"

Students worked with local community members to help raise funds that would support a larger parking area, revitalize some of the old and outdated features on the shore, and add recreational trails in the forested area. Students also worked on getting long term solutions into play ranging from donation jars, to school-wide clean up days and walk-a-thons. 

View their final presentation below!
Schenck High School

Students in Schenck High School's Science class explored their community and created a poster of the East Millinocket area.
Through their exploration of the region, they realized that as much as the area had to offer, many people still did not know about it all, or have an easy way to access it. They crafted a challenge statement to begin to work through the issue asking, "How can we communicate to visitors what our Mt Katahdin area offers, so that their stay is provided with every recreational option, along with every necessity they may need during their stay?" 

They ended up creating a website to better advertise their place and connect all of the isolated websites and met with various community members to get feedback on their design resulting in them increasing the audience of the website to include locals, as well as those interested in moving to the area. 

Check out their website to date (still in progress) and their final presentation here! 
Dirigo High School

Students in Dirigo High School's Alternative Education Science class created a poster to share with other MFC students and to get a sense of what their area has to offer. 

Through their exploration of the area, students realized that there was not a lot of access to fresh produce, no community gardens in the area and no farmer's markets in town. They decided to pursue a challenge that sought to find a solution to this issue by asking, "How can we build a garden for the community so that we have access to fresh produce?" 

Students ended up designing and building a garden and starting seeds for a garden on school property that would grow fresh vegetables and herbs, as well as flowers. Students presented their work in class to the MFC coordinator highlighting what they learned about the plants they grew, and the process it took to get plants in the ground. 
Piscataquis Community Secondary School

Piscataquis Community Secondary School's Maine Forest Collaborative class started the year by examining their area and looking at what is there.

Students used the design process to brainstorm and them identify a challenge in their area. They ended working toward the following challenge, "How can we upgrade and maintain our communities river walk so that people to can continue to access the beauty of our outdoors?" 

While working through this solution, students met with the town manager to find out what they could do, and who they needed to work with to do it. They also worked with Eric Topper of Maine Audubon to plant native species along the River Walk that should have been there but were not (see this article for more about this portion of the project!) 

Check out student's final presentation below!

Belfast Area High School
Belfast Area High School students in the Fish & Wildlife class did a deep dive of their area to identify potential challenges.

Students ended up looking close to home for their project and decided to focus their energy on the following challenge, "How can we renovate the outdoor classroom space at BAHS so that students can engage in more outdoor learning and connect to the natural environment?" Students met with local professionals to determine best ways to increase accessibility, collaborated with other classes and utilized various aspects of technology and creativity to work through their solution. They worked with administration as well and were even able to access grant funds to improve their outdoor classroom space. 

View their final presentation below!

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