The Ecology School Selected to Participate in National Environmental Education Research Partnership

Saco, Maine (September 24, 2018) — The Ecology School was recently selected to participate in the Residential Environmental Education Partnership (REEP) to collaboratively work through the question of how to most effectively incorporate Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) frameworks, research, and preferred practices into residential environmental education programming. SEL is the process through which people acquire and effectively apply the skills to manage their emotions, resolve conflicts, show empathy for others, and make responsible decisions. The Ecology School participants develop these skills by learning together in groups, sharing living space, and eating family-style meals. The nationwide working group has been convened by NatureBridge through its Character Development grant, an initiative of the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation. Nature Bridge is the largest residential education partner of the National Park Services, providing environmental science programs to more than 30,000 students and their teachers within National Parks.

More than 65 organizations expressed interest from across the U.S. and Canada and 10 were selected. Participating REEP organizations were chosen for their geographic reach, organizational capacity, diversity of participants served and unique perspectives on SEL.

Over the next year, REEP organizations will aggregate collective wisdom in the service of establishing common language and developing shared tools related to SEL in the context of residential environmental education. To ensure that this effort is truly collaborative, the working group will be facilitated by Learning for Action, consultants specializing in social sector organizations. The Ecology School is eager to engage with the other residential environmental education organizations to develop such common language and better understand the role of SEL in our field.

“We are both excited and humbled by the opportunity to collaborate and contribute to our sector and we look forward to sharing our collective findings to engage the greater environmental education sector in a meaningful way.” said Estrella Risinger, National Education Manager, Nature Bridge.

About The Ecology School
The Ecology School was established in 1998 as a haven for students of all ages to learn through our natural inclinations engaging all five senses to discover the inner workings of the world around us. Exploration and investigation is conducted in the greatest classroom imaginable, the outdoors. The Ecology School’s mission is to inspire stewardship of and connection to the natural world through experiential learning in ecology, conservation, farming and sustainability through single day and residential programs, workshops, and presentations in schools, professional development for teachers, community outreach events, and publishing original field and curriculum guides. For 20 years TES has brought environmental education to more than 170,000 children and adults through science-based exploration of coastal Maine ecosystems and food systems.

In 2017 The Ecology School purchased River Bend Farm, a 105-acre historic farm located on a scenic bend in the Saco River in Saco, Maine. This property is the future home of the school’s model sustainable residential environmental learning center and progressive agroecology farm.

For more information, please contact:
Caitlin Brooke
Community Relations Coordinator
(207) 571-4007