With the first annual Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District Teen Conservation Camp starting in just a few weeks, the Dover-Dexter STEM Hub is pleased to announce a partnership with the district to provide scholarships for youth ages 13-18 to attend the camp. Youth who are already registered in the Dover-Dexter STEM Hub, or youth who register by August 1st, are eligible for scholarships to partially offset the summer camp fees.
The Dover-Dexter STEM Hub is one of the first hubs in the State of Maine that was formed by the Reach Center to connect learners in rural communities with resources that are already available and provide ways to explore STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). The Lead Guide for the Dexter-Dover STEM Hub, Alyson Saunders, is thrilled to partner with the conservation district to provide youth an opportunity to attend the summer camp. “As a Reach staff member and former teacher in the Dexter schools, I think the summer camp is a wonderful opportunity to significantly increase access to informal (out of school) STEM resources. The Teen Conservation Camp is a great way for youth to learn about science, technology, engineering and math as they relate to our natural ecology and working family farms.”
The Conservation District’s Executive Director, Joanna Tarrazi, noted that “it is important for our youth to experience and learn about our land, waters, wildlife and air that all contribute to maintaining a healthy, sustainable ecosystem. Through the adventure-based camp, teens will go on exciting field trips, and participate in engaging hands-on activities to learn about our natural sciences. The new summer camp is possible because of all of the community support we have, such as the scholarships available through the Dover-Dexter STEM Hub and a generous grant from the Maine Community Foundation’s Piscataquis County Fund to start the camp this summer, as well as Foxcroft Academy serving as the host site.”
The summer camp starts Monday, August 5th and runs for two weeks, Monday – Friday through August 16th. The camp’s full day sessions, from 9:00AM to 4:00PM, may be attended by the week or by the two week period. Each day has a different STEM theme to increase the youths’ knowledge about how productive farmland and forests, clean air and drinking water, are all important for a healthy natural ecosystem that benefits our community. Youth will explore our rich natural resource heritage by participating in fun activities and going on field trips to learn about the forest products industry, watersheds and water quality, renewable energy, wildlife species and their habitats that contribute to our region’s biodiversity, and other related conservation biology topics.
Activities during Natural Resource Ecology Week, the first camp week, include a guided hike on Borestone Mountain with Alexandra Bennett, learning about Forestry at the Moosehead Historical Society’s Lumberman’s Museum and at Pleasant River Lumber, studying Agroforestry with Will Vandermast at his family’s farm, learning about Energy with Stefany Gregoire of the Maine Energy Education Partnership, discovering Aquatic Insects and learning about Water Quality and with Dan Kusnierz, Penobscot Nation Water Resources Manager, and exploring Wildlife and Natural Resource Management with the Maine Warden Service at the Williamsburg Demonstration Forest.
Youth will get to visit a variety of local farms during Agriculture Week, the second camp week, including Ripley Farm to learn about Organic Farming, High Tunnels and Perennials, caring for Small Animals and making Ice Cream and Homemade Bread at Happynest Farm, learning about Innovative Farming and Local Farm to Table Initiatives at Stutzman’s Farm and Hands on Horse Experiences at Northern Maine Riding. Additional activities include visits to the Blacksmith Shop Museum to learn about our Agricultural Heritage, the Dover Cove Farmers’ Market to gain and understanding of Agricultural Marketing and studying Beekeeping with Ana Bonstedt and Food Preservation with Felicia Dumont, both of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. The integrated curriculum will also include learning about agricultural entrepreneurship, sustainable agriculture and technological innovations.
To register for the Dover-Dexter STEM Hub and apply for a summer camp scholarship, contact Alyson Saunders by emailing Alyson at email@example.com or by calling the Reach Center at 626-3230, Extension 119. To register for summer camp, contact the Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 564-2321, Extension 3. “Find us on Facebook” at www.facebook.com/PCSWCD.
About The Reach Center and The Dover-Dexter STEM Hub: The Reach Center, a project of the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance (MMSA), is located at the MMSA offices in Augusta. Created and launched in 2011 by founding partners MMSA and the Maine School of Science and Mathematics (MSSM). The Center developed and piloted STEM Intensive programs for students in 2012, and now has developed a STEM Hubs initiative that finds and showcases the STEM resources, skills, and expertise of an entire community. The Dover-Dexter STEM Hub connects 10 to 18 year olds and their families with STEM resources to support their active participation and growth in STEM fields. The STEM Hub is a collaborative project, so the Reach Center is partnering with organizations like 4-H, Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District, The University of Maine, libraries, and Scouts as well as working with schools and homeschoolers to identify youth who could benefit from increased access to informal STEM opportunities. The Reach Center’s Resource Bank showcases local STEM opportunities at www.reachcenter.me, then click on “find a connection”. If you would like more information about the Reach Center and the Dover-Dexter STEM Hub, please contact Alyson Saunders, Lead STEM Guide for the Dover-Dexter STEM Hub at Alyson.Saunders@reachcenter.me.
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