Outdoor Education

Flying through Fly-Tying

Flying through Fly-Tying

It is hard to believe that just a short year ago MOS and Downeast Salmon Federation (DSF) were setting out to provide 30 fly-tying workshop across Washington and Hancock counties all based on a small pilot event which showed promising interest. The goal of this workshop series was to engage the local community in fisheries conservation through the traditional handcraft of fly-tying. As of the writing of this article, we delivered 27 fly-tying workshops and anticipate wrapping up this series with four more before the end of July 2019.

Great Wass Shore Cleanup with Beals Elementary, Volunteers, and The Nature Conservancy

Great Wass Shore Cleanup with Beals Elementary, Volunteers, and The Nature Conservancy

When the weather becomes warmer and the ice melts from hiking trails, we find that schools start itching to get their students moving outdoors. When Beals Elementary School principal Chris Crowley reached out to us this spring asking for a hiking-focused field trip for his 5th-8th graders, we thought we could incorporate a service project at the same time. The Great Wass Island Preserve, managed by The Nature Conservancy, has a beautiful shoreline that, unfortunately, becomes strewn with trash that washes in from the ocean (primarily bleach and beverage bottles and fishing gear). Given that this preserve is located quite close to Beals Elementary School, it provided an ideal place to get moving outdoors and make it cleaner for the next time people hike there.

Milbridge 3rd-Graders Write a Radio Show!

Milbridge 3rd-Graders Write a Radio Show!

3rd-graders practiced their observation, writing, and reading skills outdoors all spring and on May 9th we sat under a spruce tree together behind their school where I recorded them sharing their writing. Their 5-minute radio feature aired on WERU-FM on Saturday, June 15th, 2019. You can find a link to listen to the episode and read the transcript here.

Jonesport 3rd-Graders Explore Spring Living Things

Jonesport 3rd-Graders Explore Spring Living Things

A question we often ask our students is: “Who lives here?” This open question encourages students of any age to observe their surroundings closely to figure out as many different living things they share their school yard with as they can. The question results in a different program each time depending on the location, season, and interests of the students involved. The 3rd-graders at Jonesport Elementary School explored this very question for 5 weeks of Forest Fridays this spring.

MOS Presents at the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage

MOS Presents at the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage

As entrepreneurs of a young organization, it’s a pretty special moment when someone from well outside your service area finds you on the internet and invites you to present at an event three states away! That’s exactly what happened when we heard from an organizer of the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage in New York last fall asking if we would be the speakers for their “Big Tent Talk” on Saturday night of the event.

Milbridge 5th Graders Design their Own Learning

Milbridge 5th Graders Design their Own Learning

With ice still covering much of the forest floor in early April, Milbridge 5th-graders hunkered down onto the dry and warm “sit-upons” we always carry with us and reviewed their learning and experiences during Thursday Forays over the school year. They more than filled a chalkboard with their reflections on the educational games they played, the places they explored, the wildlife they saw, and the fun they’d had.

All Harrington Students Get Outside with MOS for the 3rd Time!

All Harrington Students Get Outside with MOS for the 3rd Time!

For the third year in a row, all students at Harrington Elementary School got outside with Maine Outdoor School this spring. Each grade experienced a little over an hour outside exploring their nature trails and experiencing classroom content in a hands-on, place-based way.

Jonesport Grades 1-2 Use Math to Learn about Nature

Jonesport Grades 1-2 Use Math to Learn about Nature

If you’ve been anywhere in the northeast this spring, you know that it has been cool and rainy! The 1st and 2nd-graders at Jonesport Elementary School, however, hardly seemed to notice. They spent five Friday afternoons from late March to early May 2019 learning about “Nature’s Numbers: How can math teach us about nature?”

Microadventures with Jonesport Teachers

Microadventures with Jonesport Teachers

On the teacher workshop day that fell the day before April vacation, all Jonesport teachers experienced a professional development workshop with MOS aimed at giving teachers a tangible activity they could use with students in any grade or subject to encourage outdoor learning and self-reflection with a flavor of adventure.

Adapting to Winter during Thursday Forays in Milbridge

Adapting to Winter during Thursday Forays in Milbridge

When the weather turns cold, some Maine critters hibernate, others take shelter and never leave home, and still others leave outright during an annual migration. In icy, snowy, rainy, and windy conditions of the winter of 2018-19, the intrepid Milbridge elementary school 3rd and 5th grade students spent time outside each week figuring out how other species adapt to winter.

A Landscape of Leadership with Jonesport Grades 6-8

A Landscape of Leadership with Jonesport Grades 6-8

On five wintry afternoons from mid-December until early February, a group of Jonesport Elementary School 6th-8th graders tested their leadership skills while learning about the components of the local landscape in a Forest Friday program series designed by Maine Outdoor School in collaboration with Cobscook Community Learning Center’s Transforming Rural Experience in Education (TREE) program.

Fall 2018 Thursday Forays at Milbridge Elementary School

Fall 2018 Thursday Forays at Milbridge Elementary School

Starting in early September 2018, all 3rd and 5th-graders at Milbridge Elementary have been enjoying weekly Thursday Forays with Maine Outdoor School in collaboration with the Transforming Rural Experience in Education (TREE) program. Students in each grade spend one hour per week outside exploring and learning from nature and each other around their school. Every fourth week, the 3rd and 5th-graders combine for a two-hour experience, usually a field trip, to share their experiences with each other and learn from a different ecosystem.

Jonesport Pre-K and Kindergarteners Discover Nature

Jonesport Pre-K and Kindergarteners Discover Nature

During late fall 2018, the Pre-K and Kindergarten students at Jonesport Elementary School spent an hour a week outside exploring and learning about nature during a collaborative program between Maine Outdoor School and Transforming Rural Experience in Education (TREE). Guided by the core question, “are humans part of nature?” students spent each week observing seasonal changes, exploring nature around their school, and making discoveries about how humans interact with the environment.

Jonesport 4th and 5th Graders Figure out “Who Lives Here?”

Jonesport 4th and 5th Graders Figure out “Who Lives Here?”

During early fall 2018, the 4th and 5th-graders at Jonesport Elementary School spent an hour per week each week figuring out “who lives here?” Maine Outdoor School, in collaboration with Transforming Rural Experience in Education (TREE), provided this five-week Forest Friday program series to meet both teacher and student goals. For inspiration, students referenced Island Readers and Writers book Look Up! by Annette LeBlanc Cate, a fun book about observing birds and keeping a sketchbook.

Beals Pre-K and Kindergarten Students Explore their Local Ecosystem

Beals Pre-K and Kindergarten Students Explore their Local Ecosystem

On an idyllic, misty, and warm early October morning along the shore of Beals Island, Beals Elementary School’s Pre-K and Kindergarten students went outside to learn about who lives in their local ecosystem.

Beals Students in Grades 1-8 Visit Ingersoll Point Preserve

Beals Students in Grades 1-8 Visit Ingersoll Point Preserve

In an effort to both help students learn about the flora and fauna in their home ecosystem as well as a local preserve they can explore and hike with their families, Beals Elementary School students visited the Ingersoll Point Preserve, owned by the Downeast Coastal Conservancy, in early October 2018.

Jonesport Students Get Outside Weekly During “Forest Fridays”

Jonesport Students Get Outside Weekly During “Forest Fridays”

For five weeks, Jonesport Elementary School students in grades 4 and 5 have been getting outside this fall for at least one hour per week during our “Forest Friday” program series. Due in large part to our partnership with Cobscook Community Learning Center’s Transforming Rural Experience in Education (TREE) program, which helps weave student voice into the academic goals of the classroom, even more Jonesport students will have a chance to get outside during Forest Fridays as the academic year goes on.

Thursday Forays Begin at Milbridge Elementary School

Thursday Forays Begin at Milbridge Elementary School

3rd and 5th-graders at Milbridge Elementary School know all about “phenology” and the living things they can find in their local ecosystem--do you? Due to a lovely partnership with Cobscook Community Learning Center’s Transforming Rural Experience in Education (TREE) program, Maine Outdoor School has been able to provide weekly one-hour outdoor programs to the 3rd and 5th-graders at Milbridge Elementary School.

Making a Student’s Dream Come True with TREE in Milbridge

Making a Student’s Dream Come True with TREE in Milbridge

If a child came to you with a dream about “someday,” wouldn’t you want to help make that dream come true? Cobscook Community Learning Center’s Transforming Rural Experience in Education (TREE) program is working on accomplishing just that by listening to local students and helping weave their voices into the academic goals of their classrooms through their “Somedays” project. TREE realized when a Milbridge Elementary School 3rd-grader announced her wish for an outdoor shelter at school that Maine Outdoor School could help make that dream come true, so TREE provided the funding for Maine Outdoor School to lead a two-part program for her whole class of  Milbridge 3rd-graders.