The Ecology School Receives Donation to Support Saco and Biddeford School Curriculum Partnerships

Saco, Maine (May 31, 2018) — The Ecology School received a donation from the York County Children’s Aid Society Fund of the Maine Community Foundation in support of expanding current ecology curriculum. New curricular elements will be inspired by the School’s transition to a sustainable residential environmental education center to be built at River Bend Farm, a 105-acre historic located along the Saco River. A partnership, including Saco and Biddeford school stakeholders, will collaborate on the development of The Ecology School’s enhanced environmental science curriculum to ensure compliance with school standards.

“Our new roots at River Bend Farm will cultivate a diverse curriculum of environmental education. In addition to the current ecosystems lessons we teach, we’ll introduce fresh water ecosystems and expand programming to examine integrated human ecology and agroecology, the practice of ecology through the lens of sustainable agriculture. York County Children’s Aid Society Fund of the Maine Community Foundation’s support is integral in developing curriculum partnerships among local educational stakeholders and enhancing the educational impact to Saco and Biddeford students,” Drew Dumsch, President and CEO of The Ecology School.

About The Ecology School
Founded in 1998 in Saco, Maine, The Ecology School has brought outdoor science, environmental and sustainability education to more than 170,000 students and teachers from throughout Maine and New England. Through hands-on, experiential programming, students learn to become stewards of their environment as they explore local forests, coastal ecosystems, and food systems. We deliver our mission through single-day and residential programs for elementary and middle school students; workshops and presentations in schools; professional development for teachers; community engagement events; and distributing original field and curriculum guides. www.TheEcologySchool.com

For more information, please contact:
Caitlin Brooke
Community Relations Coordinator
caitlin@theecologyschool.org
(207) 283-9951

The Ecology School Receives Donation of $1,500 from Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution

Saco, Maine (May 21, 2018) — The Ecology School has received a donation of $1,500 from Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution. Funding will support innovative outdoor science and environmental education for thousands of students and teachers in local Maine schools and throughout New England. Each year thousands of students from Saco and Biddeford participate in hands-on, experiential programming where they learn to become stewards of the environment as they explore local forests and coastal ecosystems.

About The Ecology School
Founded in 1998 in Saco, Maine, The Ecology School has brought outdoor science, environmental and sustainability education to more than 170,000 students and teachers from throughout Maine and New England. Through hands-on, experiential programming, students learn to become stewards of their environment as they explore local forests, coastal ecosystems, and food systems. We deliver our mission through single-day and residential programs for elementary and middle school students; workshops and presentations in schools; professional development for teachers; community engagement events; and distributing original field and curriculum guides. www.TheEcologySchool.org

For more information, please contact:
Caitlin Brooke
Community Relations Coordinator
caitlin@theecologyschool.org
(207) 283-9951

The Ecology School Receives Donation of $10,000 from Onion Foundation

Saco, Maine (May 10, 2018) — The Ecology School has received a generous donation of $10,000 from Onion Foundation in support of the school’s Residential Environmental Education Program.

In 2017, more than 3,000 students participated in The Ecology School’s unique and fully immersive Residential Environmental Education Program for entire grade levels, with more than 6 hours of daily outdoor conservation lessons for 3 - 5 days. Students live and learn together, cooperatively studying coastal and forested environments while entirely unplugged from personal electronics. Participants and staff also share daily meals, giving students the chance to understand where their food comes from, how environmental health impacts the quality of their food, and what humans can do to improve the health of the environment and food systems.

“Providing the opportunity for kids to explore acts of conservation and stewardship through playful engagement results in deep-seeded connections to the world around them and an understanding of their role in protecting it. We’re grateful to Onion Foundation’s support of our innovative approach to teaching that is educating the next generation of environmental stewards.” Drew Dumsch, President and CEO of The Ecology School.

About The Ecology School
Founded in 1998 in Saco, Maine, The Ecology School has brought outdoor science, environmental and sustainability education to more than 170,000 students and teachers from throughout Maine and New England. Through hands-on, experiential programming, students learn to become stewards of their environment as they explore local forests, coastal ecosystems, and food systems. We deliver our mission through single-day and residential programs for elementary and middle school students; workshops and presentations in schools; professional development for teachers; community engagement events; and distributing original field and curriculum guides. www.TheEcologySchool.org

For more information, please contact:
Caitlin Brooke
Community Relations Coordinator
caitlin@theecologyschool.org
(207) 283-9951

Tom Merrill Joins The Ecology School’s Board of Directors

Saco, Maine (May 7, 2018) — The Ecology School welcomes Tom Merrill to its Board of Directors. Merrill’s connection is deep-seeded as a long-time friend and supporter of the organization. In November 2017, The Ecology School purchased the 105-acre historic River Bend Farm located in Saco along the Saco River from Merrill and his wife Polly. River Bend Farm is the future home of the innovative programming and experiential environmental education taught by The Ecology School to thousands of students every year. Merrill's aunt, Mary Merrill, purchased the property in 1959 and put it under conservation easement the year that The Ecology School was founded in 1998. A long-time supporter of community education programs, Mary bequeathed the property to Merrill upon her passing in 2005. “River Bend Farm [will] become a place of community and sharing, and of instilling in new generations a love of nature and a sense of responsibility for the environment, the food we eat, and each other. We cannot imagine a more perfect use for this beautiful place,” Merrill says.

Merrill practiced law in Boston for 30 years, specializing in tax-exempt financings with a focus on non-profit entities such as schools, colleges, hospitals and nursing homes throughout New England. He was a board member for several years at the Charles River School in Dover, Massachusetts.

“Having Tom on our Board connects the past of River Bend Farm with its future as The Ecology School’s incredible new home. We’re grateful for his commitment to our mission and his drive to empower the organization as we move forward into our next phase.” Drew Dumsch, President and CEO of The Ecology School.

About The Ecology School Founded in 1998 in Saco, Maine, The Ecology School has brought outdoor science, environmental and sustainability education to more than 170,000 students and teachers from throughout Maine and New England. Through hands-on, experiential programming, students learn to become stewards of their environment as they explore local forests, coastal ecosystems, and food systems. We deliver our mission through single-day and residential programs for elementary and middle school students; workshops and presentations in schools; professional development for teachers; community engagement events; and distributing original field and curriculum guides. www.TheEcologySchool.org

For more information, please contact:
Caitlin Brooke
Community Relations Coordinator
caitlin@theecologyschool.org
(207) 283-9951

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The Ecology School Receives Donation of $2,000 from Bangor Savings Bank

Saco, Maine (May 7, 2018) — The Ecology School has received a generous donation of $2,000 from Bangor Savings Bank Foundation in support of educational materials including The Ecology School Field Guide: An Ecological Tour of New England's Coastal Ecosystems and The Ecology School Teaching Guide.

Developed by The Ecology School, the publications are used as guides in fully-immersive educational residential programs in which thousands of students explore coastal Maine ecosystems each year. The Ecology School Field Guide: An Ecological Tour of New England's Coastal Ecosystems is a 120-page field guide organized by ecosystem and includes the most common species found in each. It encourages students to take a closer look at plant species and learn to identify the organisms that exist in the environment around them. Created from the field experience of The Ecology School staff, The Ecology School Teaching Guide provides classroom teachers, home school educators, naturalists and nature center volunteers with 230 pages of illustrated ecology-based activities, worksheets, and lesson plans.

About The Ecology School
Founded in 1998 in Saco, Maine, The Ecology School has brought outdoor science, environmental and sustainability education to more than 170,000 students and teachers from throughout Maine and New England. Through hands-on, experiential programming, students learn to become stewards of their environment as they explore local forests, coastal ecosystems, and food systems. We deliver our mission through single-day and residential programs for elementary and middle school students; workshops and presentations in schools; professional development for teachers; community engagement events; and distributing original field and curriculum guides. www.TheEcologySchool.org

For more information, please contact:
Caitlin Brooke
Community Relations Coordinator
caitlin@theecologyschool.org
(207) 283-9951

The Ecology School Receives Donation of $12,000 from Poland Spring

Saco, Maine (April 26, 2018) — The Ecology School has received a donation of $12,000 from Poland Spring Bottling Co. in support of Maine RSU 16’s (Poland, Minot, and Mechanic Falls) participation in EcosySTEMTM, a multi-year environmental education program. Poland Spring has been supporting The Ecology School’s programs with RSU 16 since 2002.

“The generosity of Poland Spring has given the next generation of environmental stewards— students from local Maine schools—opportunities to create meaningful connections to natural resources through experiential learning,” says Drew Dumsch, President and CEO of The Ecology School.

The EcosySTEM program is a curriculum designed for elementary and middle school students and classroom teachers focusing on scientific field experiences grounded in hands-on, real-world learning opportunities, providing inquiry-based opportunities for learning. Students begin in Kindergarten and attend outdoor exploration classes each year, culminating in a residential capstone experience and graduation in 7th or 8th grade. EcosySTEM programs use ecology as an integrating context for E-STEM instruction (environment, science, technology, engineering and math), in particular utilizing the outdoor learning environments as a venue for applying E-STEM skills— hands-on activities and lessons that utilize content knowledge and skills application through authentic field experiences.

About The Ecology School Founded in 1998 in Saco, Maine, The Ecology School has brought outdoor science, environmental and sustainability education to more than 170,000 students and teachers from throughout Maine and New England. Through hands-on, experiential programming, students learn to become stewards of their environment as they explore local forests, coastal ecosystems, and food systems. We deliver our mission through single-day and residential programs for elementary and middle school students; workshops and presentations in schools; professional development for teachers; community engagement events; and distributing original field and curriculum guides. www.TheEcologySchool.org

For more information, please contact:
Caitlin Brooke
Community Relations Coordinator
caitlin@theecologyschool.org
(207) 283.9951

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The Ecology School Presents Site Plans for New Home at River Bend Farm

Saco, Maine (April 3, 2018) — The Ecology School will host a presentation to the community on Tuesday, April 10 to introduce the Site Plans for their new residential environmental learning center at River Bend Farm (184 Simpson Rd., Saco, Maine). The presentation will take place in the Saco City Hall Auditorium from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. with refreshments and an informal viewing of site plans beginning at 6:00 p.m. Craig Freshley, Owner of Good Group Decisions, will moderate the meeting. This is an opportunity, prior to the Planning Board Meeting on April 17, for all interested parties to review the plans, ask questions, and discuss concerns directly with The Ecology School as well as the Site Plan’s architects and landscape designers. It is free and open to the public.

For more information or to request a copy of the evening’s agenda please contact Caitlin Brooke, Community Relations Coordinator for The Ecology School, at (207) 283-9951 or caitlin@theecologyschool.org.

About The Ecology School
Founded in 1998 in Saco, Maine, The Ecology School has brought outdoor science, environmental and sustainability education to more than 170,000 students and teachers from throughout Maine and New England. Through hands-on, experiential programming, students learn to become stewards of their environment as they explore local forests, coastal ecosystems, and food systems. We deliver our mission through single-day and residential programs for elementary and middle school students; workshops and presentations in schools; professional development for teachers; community engagement events; and distributing original field and curriculum guides. www.TheEcologySchool.org

For more information, please contact:
Caitlin Brooke
Community Relations Coordinator
caitlin@theecologyschool.org
(207) 283.9951

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The Ecology School Receives Gift from Kennebunk Savings Bank

Saco, Maine (February 12, 2018) — The Ecology School received a generous gift from Kennebunk Savings Bank in support of its 2018 EcosySTEM™ program for all 1,600 K-7th graders in Biddeford Schools and all 1,800 K-8th graders in Saco Schools. EcosySTEM™ is a multi-year environmental education initiative that teaches thousands of local students STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) skills through outreach, field trips, and residential overnights starting in Kindergarten all the way through to their 8th grade year.

“We’re grateful for the continued support of Kennebunk Savings Bank,” says Drew Dumsch, Executive Director of The Ecology School. “Their demonstrated commitment provides students at Saco and Biddeford schools the opportunity to explore environmental education in fresh new ways to excite and inspire a connection to nature.”

About The Ecology School
Founded in 1998 in Saco, Maine, The Ecology School has brought outdoor science, environmental and sustainability education to more than 170,000 students and teachers from throughout Maine and New England. Through hands-on, experiential programming, students learn to become stewards of their environment as they explore local forests, coastal ecosystems, and food systems. We deliver our mission through single-day and residential programs for elementary and middle school students; workshops and presentations in schools; professional development for teachers; community engagement events; and distributing original field and curriculum guides. www.TheEcologySchool.org

For more information, please contact:
Caitlin Brooke
Community Relations Coordinator
caitlin@theecologyschool.org
(207) 283.9951

The Ecology School Receives Gift of $5,000 from Fund for Maine Land Conservation

SACO — The Ecology School has received a generous gift of $5,000 from the Fund for Maine Land Conservation, a component of the Maine Community Foundation. The gift will support the School’s efforts to establish a longterm study of how human activities impact the overall environmental health of its recently purchased River Bend Farm (RBF) property in Saco. 

The School will work in partnership with local ecologists at the University of New England Department of Environmental Science to conduct the longterm environmental monitoring study, and will also partner with Maine Farmland Trust (the easement holders of the property) and the Maine Land Trust Network to lay the groundwork of the study. 

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The Ecology School Receives Generous Gift of $20,000 From Quimby Family Foundation to Support New 105-Acre Organic Farm

SACO — The Ecology School has received a generous gift of $20,000 from the Quimby Family Foundation, which will support the School’s development of a full-scale educational farm on its recently purchased property at River Bend Farm in Saco.

The Ecology School’s mission is to foster stewardship of the environment through immersive lessons in ecology, sustainability and food systems. The School plans to transition all of its programs to the 105-acre River Bend Farm property by 2019, with a longterm vision of establishing a full-scale organic farm with crops and livestock.

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The Ecology School Purchases River Bend Farm Property, Begins Transition to New Campus

SACO — The Ecology School has closed on its purchase of River Bend Farm in Saco, and will begin the transition from its rental property at Ferry Beach to this new campus over the next several years. 

“We are pleased and excited to have completed the purchase of this outstanding property, which will be the perfect new home for The Ecology School,” says Executive Director Drew Dumsch. 
 

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New Site - River Bend Farm

New Site - River Bend Farm

SACO — When Drew Dumsch stepped onto River Bend Farm, he knew instantly it was the perfect new home for The Ecology School.

Nestled along the Saco River in a rural corner of Saco, the 105-acre farm has a mix of farmland, forest and ponds, plus a half-mile of river frontage. It includes a farmhouse built in 1794 and a barn from the 1840s.

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