Last fall, the Natural Resources Council of Maine launched a trial seed grant program to help support projects that educate and engage Maine middle school students in learning about Maine’s environment and the value of protecting it. We awarded the grants last month to eight schools.
As Grants Director at NRCM, I have the great pleasure of administering the seed grant program. After I mailed each school their grant award, I received several gracious thank you cards and emails from the teachers and club leaders.
One school in particular invited me to be a part of a photo that they wanted to take to celebrate and announce the grant as well as their project. At first, I politely declined. There is no reason for me to be in the photo. Nevertheless, the teacher persisted and, finally, convinced me.
So, one recent Thursday morning, I drove to Palermo Consolidated School to meet the teachers and students who will be working on the Palermo Nature Trail project. I am so glad I did! I know that teachers and schools are always looking for ways to supplement their budgets to give students new and interesting ways to learn, but this group is over the moon about the grant and about their project. One of the teachers and a parent volunteer told me that this project has been on everyone’s minds at the school and in the community for a couple of years and now, with the help of the NRCM grant, they are going to get to make it a reality. It was awesome to hear and see their enthusiasm! The school, the teachers, and the community are truly committed to getting the kids outside to learn about and to be in Maine’s nature.
I was proud to stand with the students, teachers, and volunteers for this photo. The photo and a short description of the project were sent to the Townline newspaper. NRCM will keep our eye out for that article and share it when it’s printed. I hope you will keep an eye out here for blogs from Palermo and our other NRCM school grantees to learn about the very cool environmental projects that Maine middle schools are doing.
—Gabby Grunkemeyer, NRCM Grants Director