The Outdoor Insider

Maine Outdoor School's Quarterly E-Newsletter

Issue #9
January 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.

Jonesport student matching colors to nature

Jonesport student matching colors to nature

Fishing fly

Fishing fly

Milbridge 3rd-grader's drawing of a red-breasted merganser

Milbridge 3rd-grader's drawing of a red-breasted merganser

Jonesport student observing a snowshoe hare track

Jonesport student observing a snowshoe hare track


Co-Founders' Note:

While the days are officially getting longer, winter is just settling in. If you’re like us, however, this time of year is one of celebration and reflection on the past year. 2018 began with a series of outdoor after school programs in the area and ended with immersive outdoor programming during the school day. But we aren’t just bound by the confines of school campuses, we also...

“Maine Outdoor School provides students a chance to get hands-on experience with nature. It provided our students with activities to help them better understand the natural world in Maine and their environment downeast.”
— George Crawford, Grades 5-8 teacher at Beals Elementary School, October 2018

Collaboration makes communities strong and we couldn’t have done all this without our strong partners at Downeast Salmon Federation,Cobscook Community Learning Center, and Mano en Mano, to name a few.  Overall, we reached well over 500 students across Washington and Hancock Counties this year, many of whom experienced multiple programs with us, deepening the quality of our impact. We are looking forward to an even busier 2019 full of outdoor exploration, learning, and hands-on fun. We hope to see you out there! 

~Hazel and Joe



Community Commendations:


Typically we devote this section to the  humans we’ve worked with in the past quarter that make this community wonderful. There are times, however, when those outstanding members of our greater ecological community are in fact other species or even non-living things, or "abiotic factors,” as some scientists call them. 

Ice is one such abiotic factor that really pulled its weight over the past quarter to add levity and restorative fun to our community. We have experienced deep freezes paired with gentle thaws over the past few months, making our local ponds, lakes, and streams freeze. Of course these newly frozen waterways make it easier for our four-footed friends to trek across the landscape, but it also gives us humans a chance to skate, play hockey, go ice fishing, free ourselves from the wants and worries of modern day life, and let us play innocently and childlike with goofy grins accentuated by rosy cheeks. So thank you cold, thank you ice, and thank you nature for always being there for us in times of need for recreation, restoration, and relaxation. 



Because winters in northern climates are tough no matter who you are, there is a huge variety of adaptations that different species use to endure winter. Of course, if a species is sufficiently mobile, the most effective winter survival adaptation may be the ability to migrate in order to dodge northern winters altogether. But there are many species that remain year-round residents, regardless of winter. I celebrate the first sticking snow of the season by running in the snow barefoot for a few short seconds. While usually a snowstorm encourages most creatures to hunker down, there I am full of cold-induced energy prancing around in the falling snow full of anticipation for the exciting new nature observations and adventures possible due to the arrival of snow. Over the years, alongside my enthusiastic footprints in the snow have often been the tracks of one other species that seems to similarly revel in snowfall: the ermine, or short-tailed weasel. They move and eat, move and eat, and repeat.

So the next time you’re outside and feeling chilly, you can take a tip from the ermine by staying moving and eating regularly—even just a quick snack will allow your body to metabolize that energy into a little more warmth.

This edition of Biomimicry includes an excerpt from Episode 055 of Hazel and Joe's radio show, The Nature of Phenology, airing 1/26/19 on WERU-FM at 8:30am EST.


Resilience Tip: 
More doctors are prescribing nature time due to its ability to decrease stress, improve cognitive abilities and blood pressure, and more. 
(Read more here.)


What's Upstream: 

In this next quarter, we’ll be continuing our Thursday Forays with Milbridge Elementary’s 3rd and 5th-graders as well as our Forest Fridays at Jonesport Elementary. We will also be continuing to offer free fly-tying workshops in schools and community centers in collaboration with Downeast Salmon Federation. If you want to host one of these workshops, email for more information. Check out our Events page for the next workshop near you.

In our other efforts towards outdoor-based resilience education, we will also be offering a knitting workshop in collaboration with Fogtown Brewing Company in Ellsworth on 1/31/19. Using natural materials and 100% wool yarn, participants will learn how to knit their very own beverage “koozie” and will go home with a pair of MOS-made knitting needles. The workshop cost is $25, which covers the cost of yarn, needles, and instruction, and pre-registration is required here. There’s already a waitlist, but don’t hesitate to sign up in case of cancellations or if we schedule another one!

Does all this exciting outdoor programming get you itching to experience it yourself? We still have some space on the calendar for more programs! Our 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.