January 2018- Winter Summit
A small group of teachers, administrators, industry and postsecondary representatives met at the University of Maine, Orono to explore the following questions:
Is there a link between natural resource-based educational opportunities within rural schools/communities and the success of a diverse forest economy?
How could a collaboration between natural resource community leaders, postsecondary institutions, teachers and students contribute to a successful natural resource-based economy in Maine?
YES! There is a link between opportunities and the success of Maine's forest economy!
YES! Collaboration is the key to developing an engaged, informed, and innovative future workforce!
May 2018- Spring Summit
We brought the team back to investigate how innovation is playing a role in our future natural resource economy, to explore what the Maine Forest Collaborative could look like in rural schools, and to select a collaborative project question for the January 2019 MFC 1.0 Launch. Participants toured the Wheatland Lab, Foster Center for Student Innovation, Advanced Structures and Composites Center, Forest Bio-products Research Institute, and the Old Town Canoe factory. FINDINGS?A successful and diverse natural resource economy will depend on a future workforce with a developed innovation mindset!
MFC 1.0 Collaborative Project Question:"How can we use forest resources to positively impact local communities?"
Imagine a heterogeneous group of rural students, from counties stretching across Maine, collaborating with University students and professors to find innovative and lucrative ways to process slash left from a selective forest harvest. Imagine students working with community leaders to develop management plans for small woodlot owners. Imagine students collaborating with businesses and local organizations to design a community event that highlights the natural assets of a region, bringing tourism and recreation to the area. Imagine students partnering with local entrepreneurs to develop business plans utilizing forest resources.
In the Forest Collaborative, some of those students work with one teacher, from one school, for one period a day. They are invested in seeing a future for Maine’s forest industry. Some schools have groups of students that identify themselves as future leaders in Maine’s forest economy. These students might work within a carefully designed Career Pathway to master core content standards with an emphasis on Maine’s forest communities; past, present, and future. Some students work with a community advisor, after school, to expand their skills or explore an area of interest.
All Maine Forest Collaborative students are experiencing real-world, relevant learning opportunities, bringing them closer to understanding the careers available in our rural forest-based communities, and developing the skills necessary for success in those careers.
MFC students work towards becoming knowledgeable and innovative problem solvers who understand Maine’s natural resources as well as their own aspirations; in addition, they embrace their role as citizens and stewards of Maine’s rural places. Students work directly with businesses, community, and organizational leaders developing creative solutions for a thriving and diverse forest economy.