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Environmental Education
Environmental Education

EducationPWA's education program brings nature into the classroom and the classroom into nature in area elementary and middle schools. Through teacher orientation, classroom mentoring and extracurricular activities, program volunteers instill within students an ethic of stewardship for the local environment. Ongoing projects include a gardening initiative and nature trail renovation.

Maine Apprentice Gardener Program: In the spring of 2000 at Great Salt Bay School (GSBS) in Damariscotta, what would become the Maine Apprentice Gardener (MAG) curriculum was launched as a cooperative pilot project between the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Pemaquid Watershed Association. Since then over 300 children have participated in the MAG program.
    The seed for MAG was planted in 1995 when PWA's environmental education program first conducted gardening activities in local schools to increase young people's understanding of and respect for the environment and for nature and biology of plants. It was in 2000 that Doris Balant of Newcastle, a long-time member of PWA and a Master Gardener, connected with Knox-Lincoln Cooperative Extension to explore development of a curriculum for youngsters to parallel the Master Gardener course offered to adults by UMaine Extension.
Kids Digging at GSBS    For several years, a dedicated group of Master Gardeners worked with GSBS teacher Rachel Richardson Zoller to develop the Maine Apprentice Gardener Program. They designed it to parallel the Master Gardener program and also to fully align with Maine Learning Results. Working in close cooperation with Extension Educator Mark Hutchinson, the program was able to get a 4-H Youth Development Grant for classroom equipment, including, most notably, a light stand for growing plants indoors. In 2007 UMaine Extension published the curriculum, making it available throughout the State. In addition to its use at GSBS, the curriculum has been used since 2009 at Bristol Consolidated School (BCS), since 2007 at Warren Community School, and at other schools and youth programs across New England. Hundreds of copies of the print and CD versions have been sold. There also has been great interest in the MAG program with home school and public school groups at the Common Ground Fair, through the Maine School Garden Network, and Maine Ag in the Classroom.
Planting at GSBSTesting Soil at GSBS    The goal of the MAG Curriculum is to connect young people with the natural world and with the source of their food. The 32-lesson MAG curriculum is geared for third and fourth graders and includes study of botany, insects, soil conservation, water, conservation, and the planning and planting of a garden. Over the summer, the students weed, water, and harvest from their garden at the school. In addition, Apprentice Gardeners perform a community service project, which is analogous to the volunteer time given to the community by adult Master Gardeners. MAG lessons are taught by volunteer Master Gardeners working with the classroom teacher. Master Gardeners at GSBS over the years include Doris Balant, Karen Kleinkopf, Carol Krajnik, Mary Bausch, Connie Bright, and Tom Quaranto, with the support of science teacher, Dan Hupp. The BCS program is conducted by Bonnie Potter and Elizabeth Henson, working with fourth grade teacher, Judy Cotton.
Judy Cotton's Fourth Graders Raised Bed Garden    Funding for the raised beds and soil at BCS was provided by Knox-Lincoln Extension Home Horti-culture funds. The Old Bristol Garden Club also made donations to both schools, providing support for a watering system at BCS and a light stand for GSBS. A PWA MAG-dedicated fund provides the other supplies needed for the program. Donations to the MAG Fund are welcome. For information about the MAG curriculum, contact Liz Stanley, Horticulture Coordinator at Knox-Lincoln Extension at elizabeth.stanley@maine.edu. To make a tax-deductible donation in support of MAG, mail a check payable to PWA with "MAG" in the memo to PO Box 552, Damariscotta, ME, 04543.
    PWA is grateful to the principal Master Gardeners responsible for the
development and implementation of the MAG program: Lonnie Anderson, Doris Balant, Connie Bright, Carolyn Hardman, Bernie McAlice, Bonnie Potter, and Tom Quaranto, as well as the invaluable program support from UMaine Extension staff, Mark Hutchinson and Liz Stanley.

Hauschka Scholarship Fund: Every child deserves wonderful outdoor camp experiences. In that spirit, PWA established the Hauschka Scholarship Fund in 2001 in honor of the family that spearheaded the rganization's grassroots origins. Ted and Elsa Hauschka were the primary founders of the Biscay Pond Association in 1966, which became PWA in 1973. Their namesake scholarship fund continues their legacy and dedication to sharing the wonders of, teaching respect for and educating our youth about the natural world around us and serves as a lasting reminder of the important contributions the Hauschkas made towards
preserving the natural beauty of our region. From 2001 to 2011, PWA has distributed $16,810 in scholarships to 108 children to attend summer camp, including Tanglewood 4-H Camp in Lincolnville, Morris Farm Day Camp in Wiscasset, Wavus-By-Day in Jefferson. This fund relies on private donations to keep it going. Please donate to the scholarship fund today.
   You can donate now online via Network for Good – click on the icon below. Your donation can benefit PWA's general operations, or you can designate Hauschka Scholarship. Thank You!.

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Clean Water Learning Activities Developed

Peter Arnold, Coordinator of the Pathways to a Sustainable Future Program at The Chewonki Foundation, invited PWA to contract with Chewonki to develop a curriculum to complement their newly published Clean Water Poster. The vision was to have hands-on learning activities that directly taught the messages on the poster. After 7 months of collaboration, the vision has come to fruition, and this “kit” of teaching tools is now available online at

The goal of the lessons is to promote awareness, apprecia-tion, understanding, and stewardship of water resources. The five activities included in this curriculum correspond to each of the five contextual areas highlighted on the Clean Water poster: Less Lawn, Green Buffers, Waste and Recycling, Energy Choices, and Transportation. Additionally, the activities
were designed around behavioral learning objectives to pro-mote critical thinking and problem-solving skills related to the pollution dimensions listed across the bottom of the poster (Sediment, Chemicals, Oxygen Depletion, Metals, Biological).

The lessons are geared towards upper-elementary-age through middle-school-age children in science classrooms and informal teaching contexts. They were developed and field-tested by Tenley Wilder, PWA Education Coordinator, and reviewed by midcoast Maine educators. Each lesson includes a Navigation Bar that outlines the target audience of the activity, the time frame needed to complete the activity, and suggestions for other complementary lessons to be conducted before or after the activity. These extension activities offer service-learning opportunities to integrate meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the
learning experience, teach civic responsibility, encourage lifelong civic engagement, and strengthen communities for the common good.

PWA extends gratitude to Peter Arnold and his Program Assistant, Brendan Kober, and project advisors, Tracy Harkins of KIDS Consortium and Christine Smith of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The Pathways to a Sustainable Future poster series project was funded by Poland Spring Water Company in recognition of their continued interest in the health of our natural resources.


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