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How can we use natural resources to positively impact local communities?
MFC 6.0 - School Year 2023/2024
This year started off jumping right into Maine Forest Collaborative. Or first cohort day was in late September at the YMCA Camp of Maine in Winthrop. Students participated in presenting about their place, teambuilding activities, axe throwing, rapid prototyping and investigating natural resources challenges facing the state of Maine today.
Students used their experience at the cohort day to set the stage for the year, and to expose them to some of the challenges Maine is facing today related to natural resources. From here, students went back to their own communities to determine natural resource challenges their own communities are facing, and are in the process of selecting one challenge to design a solution for this year.
Field trips and partner school visits are already in progress as well as students continue to learn about natural resources in the state! Guilford and Greenville went to AMC's Medawisla Lodge in October to learn about forest ecology and water quality as well as do some rapid prototyping. Buckfield students visited the Education Day at Curtis Homestead and learned about small-scale logging, FERN plots, and got to see some tree felling in action!
Next steps will be meeting with community members to learn more about the challenge, working with partner schools to share the selected challenge and do some joint brainstorming on possible solutions, and then will begin work designing solutions.
Telstar High School
After taking a close look at their community, Telstar students felt that there were some challenges regarding various aspects of sustainability in their area. Students learned what the greater Bethel area is doing (or not doing) in terms of reducing, reusing, and recycling. They explored public trash receptacles, a never reopened donation center at the dump, and other ways to increase sustainability in a heavy tourist/consumption area.
Their final solution landed on an awareness campaign to increase a sustainable mindset for locals and tourists. They created fliers and magnets with a QR code linked to a website that highlights all of the local places that goods can be donated to be hung in a variety of businesses throughout town.
Buckfield High School
Buckfield 10th and 11th grade students in Mr. McNaughton's class did an assessment of their area, looked at underutilized assets and realized the school had a large chunk of forest that was poorly maintained.
Traditionally, a section of forest has been put aside for a yearly fundraiser, and once there was a low ropes course there which is now a hazard. The trail is overgrown, not marked or clear, and is full of trash leftover from fundraisers. They are beginning to explore ways that this stand can be improved and better utilized for the whole school to enjoy.
Greenville Consolidated School
Greenville Consolidated School's 12th grade natural resources science class are working on the challenge of revitalizing their local school trail so that teachers and students will spend more time outdoors. After exploring the area, they noticed the trail had significant obstacles in the way, extremely muddy areas, and largely overgrown sections. Students are beginning to explore ways that they can make the trail more user friendly and accessible while also helping to make it more well known to teachers and the community, and create a maintenance plan so that the trail can continue to be enjoyed.
Ecology Learning Center
I will be meeting with students in Ecology Learning Center's Earth and Climate Science class soon, stay tuned!
Piscataquis Community Secondary School
Piscataquis students are working on the challenge of recreational trail access. They are examining the limited trail access between the towns of Guilford and Dexter. Currently, the only access permitted between the two towns is via a trail that is accessible by snowmobiles in winter or via the road. Students are exploring ways to increase access to the summer months to allow ATVs to travel between the towns.
Belfast Area High School
Belfast Area High School students in the Fish & Wildlife class will be joining for the spring semester, stay tuned!
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