The Sun Journal reported the University of Maine 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond is teaming up with Mahoosuc Pathways, an organization that promotes outdoor adventure and connects communities in the Mahoosuc Mountain range of western Maine and northeastern New Hampshire, to offer leadership training for 10 high school students. A Mahoosuc Pathways employee told the Sun Journal the two organizations are paying students to get leadership training by helping build trails on local public conservation lands in August. The project, called the Oxford County Conservation Corps, began two years ago, after Mahoosuc Pathways began looking for a way to get students involved in building and maintaining local trails.
Tanglewood 4-H Camp and Learning Center in Lincolnville will host an April vacation day camp for children ages 5–10 that celebrates the outdoors. The camp will be held Tuesday, April 22 through Friday, April 25, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Games, art and exploration will encourage personal growth in harmony with nature. Cost is $150 per child. Register online by April 11, 2014. For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, contact Patti Chapman at 207.789.5868 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
National 4-H Council and HughesNet, the nation’s largest satellite internet provider, are joining together to inspire young people in communities across the country to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). HughesNet is giving away a sponsorship for 4-H’s STEM programs. All you have to do is fill out this simple form, and the state with the highest participation rate will win a HughesNet Tech Takeover Day for their local 4-H camp! It literally takes seconds to sign up. The promotion runs from now until May 1, 2014. There is only award being given out, but Maine is a mighty state and we have alums all around the world, so please help spread the word about this promotion!
Image Description: Help your state 4-H camp win a $10,000 science sponsorship from HughesNet
Lincolnville, Maine — Children ages 6-10 are invited to discover the joy of the outdoors at Tanglewood 4-H Camp and Learning Center Feb. 18-21 in Lincolnville.
Learn about animal tracks and how to survive in the snow then drink hot chocolate in a cozy, wood-heated cabin after a day of sledding. This four-day camp during February school vacation week will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Cost is $150 per child.
Register for the day camp by Feb. 7 at http://extension.umaine.edu/
LINCOLNVILLE –– The University of Maine Cooperative Extension 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Tanglewood is sponsoring the 2nd Annual Tanglewood Snowshoe Race at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 16, 2013.
The 5K course starts at the camp’s entrance gate, winds through deep woods and ends at the main lodge where a warm fire, food and beverages will await participants and supporters. Organizers have a special course for children ages 12 and under. A nonrefundable preregistration fee is required; the cost is $25 for adults, and free for children and spectators. To register online, visit the Tanglewood website.
For more information, or to request disability accommodations, call Patti Chapman, 207.789.5868.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension programs at Tanglewood 4-H Camp in Lincolnville turn 30 years old this summer and the camp staff is planning an evening of food and entertainment to celebrate.
A traditional bean hole bean supper, roast pork and a variety of locally sourced vegetarian dishes and appetizers will be served at the event, from 5-10 p.m. August 25, 2012. Local musicians Just Teachers and members of the local Quasimodal Chorus singers will perform. Community members and former campers, staff and volunteers involved with Tanglewood throughout the years are expected to attend the celebration.
Tickets are $30 for adults who register early online or $40 at the door; tickets for children under 12 are $10. An online registration form is available at here.
Proceeds will support camp scholarships.
Extension’s two adventure camps and school programs at Tanglewood and at Blueberry Cove are based on “Earth Connections,” nature discovery that helps youth become creative stewards of an interconnected world. The program mission is to teach Maine youth and adults to be effective and caring stewards of the Earth through affordable environmental education and nature-based experiences.
Contact: Patti Chapman, 207.789.5868, email@example.com
Image Description: camper paddling a canoe
Governor LePage, DEP Commissioner Aho Announce Environmental Excellence Awardees
-Recipients include IDEXX, CLYNK, the George R. Roberts Company, Maine Energy Systems, the Washington County Council of Governments and the Environmental Living & Learning for Maine Students Project-
GORHAM – Governor Paul LePage honored six stewards of sustainability today with the first state-sponsored environmental achievement awards handed out in Maine since 2005.
The Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence, administered by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), were presented by Governor LePage and Maine DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho in a ceremony Thursday at Jøtul North America’s headquarters in Gorham.
Recipients were recognized for voluntarily going beyond regulatory requirements to creatively and collaboratively initiate innovation that was both environmentally and economically sustainable.
More than 100 people –including senior staff from the Governor’s Office and Maine DEP, representatives of each of the winning organizations and many of the nominated entities, members of the Board of Environmental Protection and Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee, and leaders in Maine’s environment and business community attended the awards, which were scheduled in conjunction with Earth Day (April 22) commemorations around the state this week.
“For many Maine employers, Earth Day isn’t just one day a year, but a constant commitment to stewarding our natural resources and ensuring a sustainable economy. These Governor’s Award winners illustrate the interdependence of Maine’s economy and the environment and why the choice between the two should never be ‘either or’ because it must always be ‘both,’” said Governor LePage.
IDEXX, of Westbrook, won in the “Businesses Over 100 Employees” category for committing to considering sustainability in every business decision the company has made since 2008. As a result, their operating costs per square foot are lower than they were five years ago through energy conservation, less than 6 percent of their waste ends up in landfills and their employees have grown hundreds of pounds of produce through a campus gardening program, all of which is donated to local food pantries.
CLYNK, based in South Portland, won in the “Businesses Over 50 Employees” category for their efforts in effectively engaging thousands of Mainers in returning nearly 300 million containers since 2006. Earlier this year, the company released a new service that allows its account holders to track in real time the environmental benefits that result directly from the specific beverage containers they recycle at the nearly 50 partnering Hannaford supermarkets.
George R. Roberts Company, known as “The Step Guys” and located in Alfred, won in the “Business Over 15 Employees” category. A leading manufacturer of precast concrete products –including steps, in 2010 the company switched on the largest solar array in the state, which now provides 90 percent of their power. To date, the 638 U.S. made panels have produced 244,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to power 130,000 light bulbs each year and accounting for a 10,000 ton annual reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
Maine Energy Systems, of Bethel, won in the “Business Under 15 Employees” category for helping Maine homes, public facilities and businesses –including Waterville High School and Mt. Abram Ski Resort– transition to a cleaner fuel, sustainability-harvested from Maine’s forests with the sales of their wood pellets and boilers. This conversion can lower fuel costs for users by about half, while helping to retain and create jobs in Maine’s vibrant forest products industry.
The Washington County Council of Governments won in the “Public Sector” category for its county-wide Brownfields program, which has helped restore environmental vitality to abandoned sites in a region greatly dependent on the health of its natural resources. Through these coordinated efforts over the past three years, environmental assessments have been conducted at 11 sites and there has been redevelopment of five sites, including a former cannery now being used for regional storage by local lobstermen and a former boat building school being overhauled into a shop for construction of tidal power generation units. In total, redevelopment projects presently underway have the potential to create up to 50 new full-time jobs and increase property value by over $4 million.
The Environmental Living & Learning for Maine Students Project, a partnership between the Chewonki Outdoor Classroom for Schools, Ferry Beach Ecology School and the UMaine 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond and at Tanglewood (in Lincolnville), won in the “Nonprofit” category. Launched in 2011, the collaborative creates a financial aid fund that has already subsidized residential environmental education for nearly 2,000 Maine students. Through the fund, schools are able to apply for grants to send their students to any of the four partnering organizations for experiential environmental learning programs that last up to five days, with aid scaled from 25 to 95 percent based on the number of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program in the applicant school.
Commissioner Aho said it was important for the state to start acknowledging Maine’s many environmental leaders who are modeling her department’s vision of a mutually healthy environment and economy.
“Maine has long been a national leader when it comes to environmental excellence and our 2012 Governor’s Awards recipients are carrying on that legacy,” Aho said. “As Maine’s foremost environmental organization, it has great meaning when we respect and recognize these leaders and that the innovation improving our environment and our economy comes directly from Maine employers and people. I want to thank all of the nominees for their commitment of creativity, time and resources toward our shared vision of making Maine a better place to live, work and play for ours and future generations.”
Aho added the awards program is one of the many activities the DEP has advanced under the LePage administration that further the agency’s culture of cooperation with the regulated community. Others include expanded technical assistance, permitting process improvements and pragmatic regulatory reform.
Recipients said being recognized by the State goes a long way.
“Being recognized by the state for this achievement is an honor for IDEXX, especially since IDEXX is headquartered in Maine, and most of our employees live in the surrounding communities,” said IDEXX Maine Operations Manager Matt Haas. “This award validates a lot of work from many, many dedicated people who prove everyday that sustainable business practices are achievable and essential. Sustainability is an on-going journey of continuous improvement, and this recognition validates that we are on the right path to environmental excellence.”
Based on the success of this year’s awards, Maine DEP intends to continue the annual recognition program, with nominations for the 2013 Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence opening in late 2012. More information can be found at www.maine.gov/dep or by contacting Samantha DePoy-Warren at 207.287.5842 or samantha.depoy-warren@maine.
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension has received renewed funding for a 4-H program that has introduced hundreds of middle and high school students to sustainable lifestyle practices and inspired them to positively influence their schools and communities through service-learning activities.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture recently allocated $140,000, the third installment of a five-year, $660,000 grant-funded 4-H project. The grant focuses on “at risk” youth in schools and school districts with high eligibility rates for the National School Lunch program, according to Bryant Pond program director Ryder Scott. The program introduces entire middle and high school classes to service-learning, sustainability and, ultimately, leadership toward those ends.
Since the Maine Sustainable Communities project started three years ago, more than 35 middle and high school classes from throughout Maine have participated at either Bryant Pond 4-H Camp and Learning Center in Western Maine or Tanglewood 4-H Camp and Learning Center in Lincolnville.
Scott has been impressed with the results.
In 2009, Buckfield Middle School students left the five-day residential experience to go home and start a school garden. The students last year decided to raise honeybees to improve garden pollination, Scott says, and the garden won a statewide award this year from Maine Agriculture in the Classroom.
“We teach principles of ecology, environmental studies and principles of sustainability, conservation, recycling and reuse and ecology, and combined with that — and this is the unique part — we have combined it with a service-learning curriculum,” Scott says. “Our intent is to spark an interest in change — making communities and schools more environmentally and ecologically sustainable.”
Students learn, for instance, about organic foods and composting by hauling kitchen and meal scraps to a compost site after camp meals as part of that sustainability package, Scott says. The Maine Sustainable Communities Project civically engages youngsters, who often feel powerless to effect change in an adult world, he says.
During the typical two- to three-day camp experience, 4-H staff and teachers guide students though a facilitated process where they’re asked how they would make life better in their community. Then they create an action plan.
Both Bryant Pond and Tanglewood “have supported lots of successful programs that the students have conceived during their experiences at the 4-H camps,” Scott says.
“I’ve been an outdoor educator for 15 years, and for me, the service-learning component is the biggest success story for us. By integrating service-learning and sustainability into a program, it’s more than a knowledge transfer lesson,” he says.
“The implicit message is we’re all connected and action matters. Student participation is important. You’re exposing them. You’re giving them a true sense of empowerment. I have to believe it’s a life-long lesson.”
The program is one of several overseen by Extension professor Cathy Elliott, a founding member of the National Network for Sustainable Living Education who teaches and conducts research and presentations on sustainability. She and Kristy Ouellette, Extension educator for 4-H Youth and Family Development, in the Lisbon Falls office, are the principal investigators for the grant.
Contact: Ryder Scott, 207.665.2935; Cathy Elliott, 207.581.2902
From the Bangor Daily News: http://bangordailynews.com/2011/10/14/outdoors/ellms-project-raises-290000-for-environmental-education-in-maine/
WISCASSET — Four well-respected Maine non-profits have combined forces to combat the economic challenges facing public schools in Maine and limited access public school students have to environmental education.
Chewonki Outdoor Classroom for Schools (Wiscasset), Ferry Beach Ecology School (Saco), UMaine 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond, and UMaine 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Tanglewood (Lincolnville) have formed a partnership to help provide residential environmental education to Maine public school students: Environmental Living and Learning for Maine Students: The ELLMS Project.
The project has caught the attention of leaders in the field of environmental education and major funders, receiving $290,000 in grants to date. The ELLMS Project will encourage students to develop a lifelong commitment to environmental sustainability and stewardship, outdoor exercise and recreation, good nutrition, community-building, and civic engagement through positive, nature-based activities, lessons, and challenges.
The project will also spur students’ understanding of the connections between natural resources and the economy so that they will be better prepared to participate in the “green economy.”
Ryder Scott, ELLMS Project spokesperson and program director at Bryant Pond, says he is thrilled to be a part of this collaborative effort. “Our four organizations are competitors, but we share the same mission of providing residential environmental education to Maine students, getting them outside and active. All four of our programs provide academic programs that complement schools’ science curricula, and offer students a chance for a ‘camp’ experience — eating with their classmates; sleeping in simple dorms, cabins or tents; being a part of a small community and engaging in outdoor activity and learning,” Scott said in a press release.
Recognizing that school budget cuts and increased transportation costs have prompted many schools to eliminate off-campus enrichment, the ELLMS partners have created a financial aid fund for public schools that need support to give their students residential environmental education. Through the ELLMS fund, public elementary and middle schools in Maine can apply for grants to help send their students to any of the four ELLMS organizations. Schools will apply to the fund online, selecting the program that best fits their curriculum and needs. The ELLMS Project Steering Committee is currently soliciting businesses and foundations for funding for this initiative and with great success.
Five foundations have already contributed for the 2011-2012 school year. The Elmina B. Sewall Foundation granted the ELLMS Project $125,000. Megan Shore of the Sewall Foundation says, “Providing opportunities for Maine’s school children to learn about and connect with the environment is an essential part of strengthening Maine’s communities, economy, and health. The collaborative nature and strong track record of the organizations involved in this program, as well as the potential to reach so many children throughout the state, were very compelling.”
The other foundations who are supporting the ELLMS Project to date are the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation ($5,000), the Sam L. Cohen Foundation ($20,000), the Quimby Family Foundation ($40,000), and Jane’s Trust ($100,000). Cohen Foundation Executive Director Nancy Brain says that her foundation was impressed with the collaborative spirit of the ELLMS Project. “It’s rare that we see competing organizations come together like this for a common goal. The combination of what these non-profits offer collectively is going to make a huge impact on Maine students. We’d love to see more Maine organizations follow this model.”
Ryder Scott says there is still a long way to go to make ELLMS financially sustainable. “We’re working on ways to assure that all Maine students, regardless of family income, have access to residential environmental education. ELLMS will allow us to share best practices and administrative resources; reach a much greater number of public school students, particularly underserved students; and work together to teach a rising generation how to be responsible stewards of their environment, their own health, their communities, and their state.”
Anyone interested in financially supporting the ELLMS Project, is urged to contact Lucy Hull at 207.882.7323 ext. 127 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ORONO — The Maine 4-H Foundation is inviting area businesses to participate in the Maine Clover Promotion October 1-31 as part of its 4-H Month fundraising campaign.
The project raises money for 25,000 youths involved in Maine 4-H. 4-H is the youth development program of University of Maine Cooperative Extension. The foundation calls the campaign a great way for all to contribute to the youth in our state and to identify local businesses as a youth supporter in their communities.
The Maine Clover Promotion enables business customers to buy a “clover” for $1. Some businesses have hung the clovers in their stores and some have chosen to give them to customers making the donation. Seventy percent of the contributions go directly to local county 4-H programs and thirty percent goes to statewide programs such as summer camps and trips.
Last year, more than 50 businesses participated and more than 6,000 people purchased clovers. The Maine 4-H Foundation invites all businesses to help make the 2011 campaign successful one. Contact the Maine 4-H Foundation directly at 207.356.5904 or e-mail Audrey.email@example.com for more information.