FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ron Hall, Executive Director, Maine Summer Camps
Thousands of youngsters flock to Maine to attend summer camp, and for a second straight year they will have the chance to celebrate their own unique Earth Day. This summer’s event, scheduled for July 15 and 16, will focus on the theme of “Eat Local.” The brainchild of Maine Summer Camps, which represents more than 130 Maine camps, this Earth Day gives camps yet another chance to incorporate environmental sustainability into their programming, organizers say.
“We want to do two things,” said Ron Hall, executive director of Maine Summer Camps, “support local farms and raise awareness of using wholesome, natural foods.”
As part of the planning, Maine Summer Camps has reached out to the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, as well as the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets, to encourage collaboration between camps and farmers.
Hall said Maine Summer Camps began the Earth Day activity last summer to recognize “the importance of taking care of our world.”
“We feel so committed to protecting our earth,” Hall said.
A number of Maine camps already collaborate with local farms in their food service programs, Hall said. “They are ahead of the game.”
One of those camps is Camp Nashoba North, in Raymond. Director Sarah Seaward said the camp has long sought to include locally sourced food in its offerings, and this year has partnered with nearby Mulberry Farms in some of its efforts.
Seaward said Maine camps are already leaders in “green” initiatives. Summer Earth Day’s focus on local food sourcing adds to those efforts, she said.
“We’re really trying to do as much as we can to save the earth and help the planet,” she said.
In addition, Summer Earth Day, in conjunction with other camps’ other sustainability efforts, offers campers education that they can take home, Seaward said.
That may include promoting families’ trips to farmers’ markets, widening the reach of local sourcing endeavors.
Leigh Hallett, executive director of the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets said campers can be ambassadors for those markets.
“What I see at markets are kids excited about food.” Hallett said. “At a farmers’ market there will be countless choices in a range of colors, and the novelty and diversity appeals to young eaters.”
It’s a “win-win” plan, Hall said. With thousands of youngsters dining at camps throughout Maine this summer – camps committed to fostering a healthier planet – Maine Summer Camps’ Summer Earth Day will give campers, staff, and farmers a valuable chance to benefit from each other.