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Fun and Discovery at Harpswell Community School

Julia McLeod
June 10, 2022

It’s been a great school year for outdoor learning at Harpswell Community School! Harpswell Heritage Land Trust’s Julia McLeod has brought HCS students out to the woods more than 80 times during this school year for science learning and nature-based play. Her work reached every student at our local public elementary school. Some highlights of the year were:

  • Fall and spring series of fun and hands-on science lessons that align with the school’s learning standards on the topics of earth systems, weather, habitats, animal traits, phenology and more!
  • A year-round series of nature-based play sessions that encourage students to enjoy the outdoors and have fun with their classmates. One teacher wrote: “I think kids did tons of SEL (social emotional learning) work while they ‘just played.’ They had to work together, problem solve, practice self control, etc.”

We are grateful for this partnership with our local school to bring outdoor learning to Harpswell’s children. As one parent, Bethany McNelly-Davis, wrote: “We feel so lucky and privileged that Harpswell Community School has teamed up with Julia McLeod from the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust to offer our children opportunities at school for outdoor experiential learning experiences. Our children are connecting with the rich woods that surround their school building. These outdoor lessons and play gives them tools to treat the world around them as a ‘classroom,’ ask good questions, and see what a place and time in nature has to teach. Our kids love planning on Julia days as they dress to be outside and maybe get dirty.”

Harpswell Heritage Land Trust provides these programs at no cost to the school thanks to generous support from the Holbrook Community Foundation.