Maine is a state with a little bit of everything. Whether you prefer to spend your time tucked in a cozy cabin, climbing mountains, strolling along the coast, or enjoying lobster and Maine blueberry pie with friends and family, it’s easy to lose yourself in all Maine has to offer. But what might all those foods and activities have in common? They all depend on conserving and protecting Maine lands and coastlines.
My name is Lily Bailey, and this year I’m interning with the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM). A West Virginia native, I found myself in Maine four years ago when I started my first year at Bowdoin College. At Bowdoin I’m a biology major and anthropology minor, and outside of the classroom I enjoy eating good food, spending time outside, drawing, and am an avid tea drinker. Maine has been a wonderful state to get to know, and during my four years here my passion for the outdoors has only increased because of the beautiful landscapes by which I am surrounded. That passion has extended to a desire to ensure that the Maine wilderness will be available to people who seek it (and perhaps even those that don’t) for years to come. That’s where NRCM comes in.
NRCM is a nonprofit devoted to keeping Maine’s wilderness protected and healthy since 1959. This year, NRCM gave grants to eight middle school educators through the Engaging Maine Middle School Students in Protecting the Nature of Maine grant. These educators will be working with their classrooms for the rest of the school year to provide students with hands-on environmental education that aims to address large-scale topics like healthy waters, forests and wildlife, sustainable Maine, and climate and clean energy. This year’s projects range from composting in the cafeteria to creating local field guides to monitoring invasive plant species.
Throughout my life I have been awed by the beauty of the wilderness, and benefited greatly from science teachers and mentors that taught me the value of protecting special places. Working together with NRCM and these Maine educators, I hope not only to learn more about the nature of Maine, but also do my part in helping to guide the next generation that will be responsible for continuing NRCM’s mission of conservation. After all, it’s those same efforts that help maintain healthy woods and the natural resources that make summers here so tasty!