The Outdoor Insider

Maine Outdoor School's Quarterly E-Newsletter

Issue #10
April 2019

Maine Outdoor School exists because we believe that personal and community resilience in rural Maine is essential to the resilience of society as a whole. We believe that resilient, flourishing communities are rooted in the careful study of our history and natural surroundings by lifelong learners of all ages, backgrounds, and occupations.

Knit & Sip koozie from Fogtown Brewing event

Knit & Sip koozie from Fogtown Brewing event

Jonesport 6th-8th-graders building leadership skills

Jonesport 6th-8th-graders building leadership skills

Milbridge 5th & 3rd grader building an animal shelter together

Milbridge 5th & 3rd grader building an animal shelter together

Cherryfield Elementary students tying flies with Joe

Cherryfield Elementary students tying flies with Joe


Co-Founders' Note:

Just two weeks ago we were graced with warm weather that encouraged short sleeves, sunkissed faces, and crocuses opening. The very next day we woke up to inches upon inches of fluffy white snow which continued to fall for the next few days. Despite the minor flips and flops of weather as the seasons progress, it is now undoubtedly spring. As we watch our local poplar buds swell with life and watch ducks return in numbers to our Downeast waters, we are filled with the anticipation of a landscape waking up all around us. 

Though MOS certainly hasn’t been sleeping though this winter of Forest Fridays, Thursday Forays, Knit & Sips, and Fly-Tying workshops, we have been sensing the uptick of program interest and opportunity from our community. Perhaps you, the reader, represent one of those organizations who has recently reached out to us with a program inquiry. If so, thank you. If not, you should reach out--we look forward to collaborating with your organization.

~Hazel and Joe

Tracks by Numbers:

  • Knit and Sips: 38 participants x 3hrs per workshop =114 participant hours

  • Forest Fridays: 47 participants x 1hr per session x 6 sessions = 282 participant hours

  • Thursday Forays: 27 participants x 1hr per session x 7 sessions = 189 participant hours

That’s a total of 1,017 participant hours of hands-on, outdoor, and resilience-focused learning! Put another way, that’s just over 127 eight-hour days of learning put together!

Community Commendations:

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It takes a lot of work and vision to lead an organization, but it takes selflessness and courage to pull together the different players in your community so that efforts are synchronized and collaborative. So this quarter, we honor Pammy Dyer-Stewartof the Women’s Health Resource Library in Milbridge and Wendy Harrington of the Maine Seacoast Mission’s Downeast Campus. Pammy and Wendy brought together a group of representatives of local organizations with social and educational missions because they knew that all of our organizational impacts would be increased if we were all in regular communication, promoting each other's work, and working together when it makes sense to do so. So thank you Pammy and Wendy for your work to enhance our community’s efforts through collaboration! We look forward to being part of this group into the future.


Paddling the Machias River in early May. Photo courtesy of H. Stark.

Paddling the Machias River in early May. Photo courtesy of H. Stark.

With spring upon us, Downeast waterways have finally broken free of most of their ice. The run of smelts from the bays and estuaries into our rivers is already underway and soon will be the runs of salmon and river herring, like alewives, blueback herring, and shad. All these fish rely on cool, oxygenated water to survive, but in order to go on their spawning run and ensure future generations of fish, they require ecosystem connectivity. They need the oceans to be freely connected to their estuaries, they need estuaries to be freely connected to rivers, and they need the length of those river and lake systems to be free of obstruction so they can move up and down as they have done since the dawn of time. 

Similarly, a high functioning human community relies on having high social connectivity in the form of open channels of communication and an adequate support network of family, friends, and community members. This interconnection between all people in a community is what gives it inherent strength and resilience. Only when these connections open can we charge unencumbered upstream from the oceans of childhood into the estuaries of adolescence and eventually the whitewater rivers of adulthood.


Resilience Tip: 
A 3-day weekend in a forest can increase the number of cells that protect you from disease by 50%. Those cell numbers are still elevated by 25% 30 days afterwards. (Learn more about the importance of nature time in this Hidden Brain episode here.)


What's Upstream: 

In addition to our continued Thursday Forays in Milbridge and Forest Fridays in Jonesport, we are in the midst of a 2-part series where Jonesport 2nd-graders are working towards building a living willow shelter. Stay tuned to our News page and social media to learn about that exciting “Someday” project funded by Transforming Rural Experience in Education (TREE). We'll also be taking all Harrington Elementary students outside this spring and lead Beals Elementary 5th-8th graders on a trail clean-up hike.

We were invited to present and lead workshops at the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage  in New York from May 31st-June 2nd. Join us as we nerd out with fellow naturalists from around the country about all the plants and critters around us. You could even attend our geology, phenology, or observation-focused workshops and talks!

On June 13th (stay tuned for exact time) we will be at Cohills Inn in Lubec withDowneast Salmon Federation where we will be leading a fly-tying workshop at a friend-raising event there. Stay tuned on our Events page for other community events.

And speaking of summer, did you know that MOS Co-Founder Hazel is a Registered Maine Guide? Whether you’re a year-rounder in Downeast Maine or a summer visitor, consider a guided exploration of the Maine outdoors with Hazel.  All MOS programs are fully customizable and suit learners of any age. Visit our website or contact us to learn more.

To stay in touch with us and receive more frequent updates, follow us on social media (links below) and visit    our News page   .

To stay in touch with us and receive more frequent updates, follow us on social media (links below) and visit our News page.