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Patrick Dempsey pays special visit to Ecology School in Saco

Students at The Ecology School in Saco got to learn about the environment all day and even received a special guest appearance.

SACO, Maine — When you're a student, there's nothing like hanging out with your friends, and sometimes it's good to sit down for a homemade meal. It's even better when there's a special guest with you.

"It's amazing how we can sit down together and talk like a family with someone like Patrick Dempsey, who you only see in TV shows," Abigail Cashin, a student at The Ecology School, said.

Patrick Dempsey, the famous actor and Maine native, sat down with middle and high school students, questioning them as they had a farm-to-table lunch as though they were a family -- minus the camera crews, of course.  

"A question I asked them was how do they let go of Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, all that stuff," Dempsey said. "And at first, they didn't know how they could get through it. But then they realize there is so much more for them here. Then they forget about it and don't even need it." 

Up to 100 students live in the dorms for a week at a time year-round, learning how to grow and eat the food they grow on campus. 

"Schools from across Maine and even New England get to come spend a week here where they stay in our dorms, take meals in the dining commons, go to lessons during the morning, afternoon, and evening," Drew Dumsch, president and CEO of The Ecology School, said. "They are going to spend more time outside at their week here than they do in a whole month previously."

After spending just one day in the program, you could see the excitement of these students.

"I am blessed to be here right now," Adeline Burman, a freshman in high school, said. "This is an experience my friends would wish to have, and just to be here, I am so blessed and grateful for this experience."

Dempsey spoke about his childhood in Maine and how communities like this one are important. 

"There are similar things about that sense of community and taking care of each other that you had to do back then, you know. I think that is still instilled in our culture here in Maine," Dempsey said. 

The Ecology School isn't just a normal summer camp for attendees. Kids from all around Maine can enroll throughout the entire year.

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