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‘It’s about getting kids outside’: Maine’s Ecology School goes virtual

The Ecology School has been educating Mainers and beyond for decades through summer camp programs but the pandemic has forced them to get creative.

SACO, Maine — For the last 20 years, the Ecology School in Maine has combined a passion for sustainable, eco-friendly living and education. 

The center broke ground on its new 105-acre home last summer in Saco. It's the only one of its kind in New England.

Typically, Mainers and folks from around the country would participate in educational summer camps, however, the pandemic has put that on hold and has instead forced the center to get creative.

So, those classes are going virtual.

Teachers, students, and others across the nation will now be able to dive into the various programs offered at the school through an online portal. There are currently five different lessons. Each contains an educational skit, at least three outdoor-focused activities, as well as step by step instructions. 

In addition to the courses, this summer Poland Spring will pay to have teachers from across the country come to the school to get their own hands-on experience, an experience they can then bring back to their classrooms.

"We see ecology online as sort of putting on your hiking boots and putting your pack on, it's the first step to getting outside,"  Ecology School's Founder and CEO, Drew Dumsch said. "The Ecology School wants joyful learning about things that matter to be a key part of recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic."

"We can't bring every kid to Maine, but we can bring Maine to them through their teachers in the classroom," Executive Vice President & Chief Corporate Affairs Officer of Nestlé Waters North America, Tara Carraro said. "Whether you live in an apartment in New York City or the hills of Los Angeles, you can participate in this program."

To learn more or to participate, click here.

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