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Maine Forest Collaborative February Newsletter

Welcome On Board Belfast! 

Dave Thomas's Fish & Wildlife class just started at the end of January and students are on a roll! They have decided to pursue fish passage as their challenge and are in the process of researching and understanding what this problem is all about, what it means, and where locally it is an issue. We are in the process of getting our design team set up and starting to plan field trips to get out to some rivers. 

Nanocellulose & MFC! 

Marchelle Simms from the UMaine Process Development Center came and visited Buckfield and Greenville (with Piscataquis students in attendance too!) for a hands on lesson on nanocellulose last month. Students learned about all of the current research and new products being developing surrounding this plant fiber extracted from pulp wood. We learned that it is now being tested in combination with seaweed for biodegradable and grease resistant paper plate products, it is being used to replace bone

in surgeries, as a nontoxic additive to paint, and is beginning to replace toxic chemicals in fire extinguishers! Students got the opportunity to experience the creative art side of the product and made some unique creations!

In the News

Predatory beetles unleashed to fight tree killing insect in Brunswick 

The hemlock woolly adelgid, which attacks hemlock trees, has been spreading up Maine's coast and farther inland.

Employee housing proposed for Dixfield sawmill 

Irving Forest Products Sawmill plans to install four, four-bedroom mobile homes, each with two baths and a common-area kitchen.

Forest industry trends and forecasts 2024 

The increased focus on products with a low (or even negative) carbon footprint, coupled with an increased recognition that manufacturing in the U.S. has benefits, presents a perfect opportunity.

Engagement Opportunities

Forest Related Experience with Professional Logging Contractors

Donald Burr from PLC offers workshops for high school students on the following topics. He also will do a plug for the MLOFT Program, which is Mechanized Logging Operations & Forest Trucking). Let Sara know if this is something you want to schedule!

  • Mapping: Reading, and understanding topographic maps

  • GPS Coordinates & GIS Mapping: Taking coordinates in the field and plugging them in online to create digital maps

  • Hydraulic Fitting: Hands on about how to fix machine parts

  • Radio Communication: Understanding the importance of clear spoken direction (hands on with Legos and directions)

Maple Sugaring in a Warming Climate 

How are changing weather patterns affecting the flow of sap?

What does this mean for maple syrup producers in the Northeast and how can they prepare? 

Check out GMRI's new module that focuses specifically on the impacts of changing weather patterns on the production of maple syrup in Northern New England using region-specific climate data. We recommend pairing this study with units focused on energy, matter and photosynthesis, the causes, effects and possible responses to climate change, and other existing curriculum related to maple sugar, including in-class maple syrup production. Extensions and pairing ideas are included in the Teacher's Guide.  

For Students

Maine Local Living School Apprenticeship Program 

The Maine Local Living School Apprenticeship is training for the transition. Energy downshift, climate resilience, bioregionalism, community living, reciprocity with the living world; these are all frameworks that undergird our daily work. The day to day revolves around building skills and tending the systems that reflect these big ideas -- and sharing this with others. We want apprentices to leave here with knowledge and skills to build the world they want to live in.

  • 8+ week experience, May to June or mid-September to mid-November 2024

  • Free/work exchange

  • 18 years or older

  • Substance free community living

  • 2-5 apprentices accepted on a rolling basis for each season

Sara's Scholarship (another Sara!) 

If you know a Maine high school freshman who is interested in a FREE summer backpacking or kayaking trip with Chewonki or Rippleffect, have them apply to Sara's Scholarship. The application process is simple and the rewards are life-changing! Applications will be accepted through March 7. 

To learn more about Sara's Scholarship or to read the stories of past winners, visit here

For Teachers

Forests of Maine Teacher Tours

Join the Forests of Maine Teachers' Tours, one of Maine TREE's most popular programs, to immerse yourself in a four-day educational experience focusing on the growth, harvest, and processing of wood products in Maine.

Fort Kent: July 9 to 12

Poland Spring: July 23 to 26This experience prepares classroom teachers, Scout leaders, conservation organization staff, and other educators with new ideas and approaches to implement forest-based education activities with your students, colleagues, and communities.During the tour, you will:

  • Engage in Project Learning Tree standards-aligned curriculum and  activities

  • Learn from professionals working in the woods

  • Develop innovative ideas for bringing the forest to the classroom or the classroom to the forest.

Earn up to 30 contact hours toward your continuing education requirement for teacher certification renewal. Apply here!

Climate & Equity Education: A Summer Institute for Learning & Teaching 

TERC, in partnership with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, invites high school teachers to apply for a one-week, all-expenses-paid intensive on the beautiful coast of Maine, Sun 21-Sat 27 July 2024 

Teachers will: 

  • explore the inequitable impacts of climate change -

  • be inspired by sharing best practices for teaching climate equity

  • build community

  • converse with scientists 

  • enjoy the tranquility of Maine woods and seashore

  • leave with a renewed sense of hope and purpose about making a difference Application deadline: March 4th 2024 

Reuse & Refill Toolkit 

This comprehensive resource created by Sustainable Maine staff empowers communities to advocate for and implement reuse policies by providing model ordinances, fact sheets, and reports. From launching reuse programs in schools and restaurants to engaging retailers and forming local coalitions, the toolkit will equip you and your community with the tools needed to make a meaningful impact on plastic waste! View the toolkit here.

MSTA Science for All Conference 

Save the date - Saturday, April 27th

Situated on wild and beautiful Tenants Harbor, Blueberry Cove affords opportunities for outdoor learning and fieldwork sessions on the property’s extensive beach, salt marsh, forests, and meadow. Space for more traditional break-out sessions will be available at the neighboring St. George School.

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