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Outdoor education comes to coastal Maine

The Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative will teach 1,000 Maine students about the outdoors this summer.

SACO, Maine — Right on the Saco River sits the 105-acre River Bend Farm.

This summer the farm is hosting close to 200 students as part of the Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative

"They're really getting outside every day, and that's what the Governor's Academy for Coastal Ecology is all about, is getting kids to find out how amazing the coast of Maine is," Drew Dumsch from River Bend said.

Dumsch added that kids have been loving the program, especially after being cooped up at home during the pandemic.

"Being able to live and learn together, to have fun together, to make new friends," Dumsch added.

12-year-old Alex Gouin said he loves being outside and has been enjoying the hikes and outdoor programs. He also said he's going to bring the sustainability tools he's learned home with him.

"They have a chart here that they measure the weight of the food and then they write it down and show us," Gouin said, explaining how it works.

Gouin added that it helps him see how much food is wasted and he tries to make it lower every day.

Department of Education Commissioner Pender Makin said this is a unique experience for students.

"They'll be doing the actual activities rather than just reading about them or hearing about them," Makin said.

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