As I wrap up my internship with the Natural Resource Council of Maine, I can’t help but to reflect on the incredible experiences I had while working as the School Project Intern. NRCM and this internship gave me the opportunity to not only meet and connect with 10 different middle school classes and teachers across the state of Maine, but also learn about the great strides these middles school students and their teachers are taking in an effort to protect their beautiful environment that surrounds them.
Spending the past few months visiting these 10 schools, I was able to learn more about the Maine environment myself through these students’ impressive projects they created with the help of their teachers. These projects ranged from raising alewives to be released into nearby streams, testing the salinity levels of nearby waters to determine why alewives are not returning, creating educational nature walks to be accessed by both classes and the community, creating a bee garden in efforts to protect the Maine bee population, implementing and creating a recycling project throughout schools, and much more.
Although all of these projects focused on different topics, each of them had a similar end goal to teach students the importance of protecting the wildlife, forests, and waters surrounding them and inspiring students to be stewards of the environment. Along with this goal, teachers also planned these creative projects to inspire their students to all work hard together toward a common goal, which, in addition, created a sense of independence in their own ability to conduct research and implement plans, and built a passion within each student to deeply care about the project they helped create within their communities.
Working for the Natural Resource Council of Maine and closely with the middle school grants program has revealed to me the efforts being made by younger generations to protect the environment they live in. I cannot express enough how impressed I was with the incredible projects created by these 10 teachers and their students. These projects go beyond making an effort in protecting our Maine environment, but they are projects that will continue to benefit their schools and communities for years to come. These projects also serve as an incredible reminder to all generations that we all need to be stewards of our environment and constantly work toward protecting our beautiful land, air, waters, and wildlife throughout Maine and beyond.
My time at NRCM could not have been as incredible as it was without the help of all NRCM staff that welcomed me and were always available if I was in need of a helping hand. A special thank you to both Gabby Grunkemeyer and Beth Comeau, who have helped me throughout my entire internship through joining me on visits, editing blog posts, and serving as incredible role models who are passionate about their work and bettering our environment for generations to come.
Another thank you to all of the NRCM members who support the Engaging Maine Middle School Students in the Nature of Maine grant program, for without their generous contributions these impressive projects would not be possible.
Lastly, thank you to all of the Maine teachers and students who created such inspiring and impactful projects!
—Michaela Bowen, NRCM intern and student at Bates College