The Natural Resources Council of Maine’s middle school grant program has reached more than 3,000 students since it began in 2015. We encourage you to read blog posts by the students and teachers who have received these grants, and also enjoy these photos from various projects over the years.
We also want to share the words of some of the students and staff who have been a part of this program, so that you can hear from them in their own words.
Grants are awarded each fall for use in the spring semester. Learn more about the program and how you can apply.
At the beginning of the year, we began this recycling program to benefit both our school and our environmental, but the project also taught us about how important it is to take care of our environment and also how to work hard as a team. – Ryan Sweeney, Jobs for Maine’s Graduates teacher, China Middle School, 2019
“I liked the hands-on part of the project, being outside and working out budgets and what goes where. I also enjoyed knowing that I was actually doing something, not just writing on a paper, knowing that this trail is actually a thing other people can experience is very satisfying.” – Student at Harrison Elementary School, 2019
Tree planting was done as a culminating event to our study on the impacts of climate change, the greenhouse effect and the carbon cycle. We also got 70 middle school students outside for an hour, planting together, and making an impact in our school environment. We would like to thank the Natural Resources Council of Maine and those who supported us throughout the completion of this project. This project has gone full circle, allowing our students to connect with nature and make a lasting impact on our environment and our school! – Amanda Ripa, science teacher, Messalonskee Middle School 2019
“The most interesting thing about the fish today is how many there were and how many dangers there were. I learned and was more of how difficult the alewife’s journey is.” –Evie, student at St. Georges Elementary School, 2019
“Everyone thought the alewives would never disappear, they would always be there. Yesterday’s visit with Randy made me think more about what the fishing industry will be like in the future.” – Student at St. George Elementary School 2019
“This project will allow students in the JMG program to utilize leadership opportunities to explain why we should all be recycling.” – Ryan Sweeney, Jobs for Maine’s Graduates teacher, China Middle School 2019
“We are grateful to the Natural Resources Council of Maine and all of their donors for the opportunities to get our students outside to make a lasting impact on our school and for giving us a real-life purpose for learning about the natural resources of Maine.” – Rob Ripley, 6th Grade STEM Teacher at Harrison Elementary School, 2019
“Witnessing the trout grow and become alevin right before our very eyes! This has given me a feeling of responsibility and increased interest in brook trout.” –Nathan McCarron-Lamb, Student at Windham Middle School, 2019
“I like that we are trying to make a difference in our community and that we are trying to help the alewives, to bring them back. I like that we are doing this as a class,” – Evie Thissell, student at St. George Elementary School, 2019
“We are excited to get our students broken up into groups that play on their skills and passions, and to expose them to the many different ways they can have a positive impact on their community and our environment!” – Drew McLaren, Melissa, Zabierek, Hannah Dickinson, Leonard Middle School 7th Grade Teachers, 2019
“Our project ‘Revitalizing the Harrison Elementary School Nature Trail,’ plans to utilize the wooded areas surrounding our school and turn them into a learning destination for all students. We are blessed to live in a state, and community region, where access to Maine’s forests is in our literal backyard!” – Rob Ripley, 6th Grade STEM Teacher, Harrison Elementary School, 2019
“Ultimately, we are hoping to have a public dedication of the bee garden where students can discuss their efforts and can share with the community how they too can help the global bee epidemic through small, thoughtful changes.” – Erin Beal, Teacher at Windham Middle School, 2019
“Learning about water quality while raising and caring for brook trout is important to the students because many of our students live or spend their summers on the water. Our school community is close to several different bodies of water including the Pleasant River where our trout will be released in May. Students are engaged because what they are learning about matters to them and they can apply it in very practical ways.” – Katie Franzoni, Teacher at Windham Middle School, 2019
“I enjoyed learning about all of the species of animals and plants, how to identify invasive species, and going on the trails and being in the great outdoors. Thank you to the Natural Resources Council of Maine, who have helped us tremendously with our project!” — Charlotte, Student at Loranger Memorial School, 2018
“With funds from the Natural Resources Council of Maine, seventh grade students are continuing their watershed studies by surveying the school grounds to identify human activities and structures that might adversely affect our local watershed. They are also identifying the plants and animals living on the school grounds, writing brief field guides for these organisms, mapping their locations, and using their presence to assess the health of the environment around the school. We hope that learning even more about the watershed ecology will spark curiosity in the students about the natural world and its relationship to their community.” – Nancy Stevick, Lincolnville Central School, 2018
“Students are very motivated to make composting a norm in the cafeteria. It has been rewarding to watch students who have stepped up as leaders as they have organized and problem-solved to make the compost project successful.” –Andrea Freed, Environmental Club Advisor and Middle School Teacher at Hall-Dale Middle School, 2018
“Many of the 7th grade students at HES, as with most Mainers, are incredibly active in the outdoors and are fascinated with the natural sciences. This project combines their love for the outdoors and their interest in science with the opportunity to do scientific research and “get their hands dirty” by doing fieldwork.” – Colin Amundsen, Teacher at Hope Elementary School, 2018