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Environmental Education for Schools

Harpswell Heritage Land Trust offers hands-on, place-based science programming for local schools. These programs align with the Next Generation Science Standards. Most of the lessons are taught outdoors and take advantage of public access land that abuts the school, as well as numerous interesting natural areas in Harpswell. Learning becomes more meaningful and memorable when it is hands-on and tied to students’ own community.

These programs are made available at no cost to local schools by the Holbrook Education Initiative, with support from Holbrook Community Foundation.

One teacher wrote: “WONDERFUL activities that were exactly age appropriate & the perfect learning experience for my students!”

Harpswell Community School third graders raised Atlantic Salmon eggs in their classroom. Educational lessons were provided by HHLT. (Kara Douglas photo)

Harpswell Community School third graders raised Atlantic Salmon eggs in their classroom. Educational lessons were provided by HHLT. (Kara Douglas photo)

The following show sample topics by grade level.

Kindergarten

  • Animal Needs
  • Weather, Climate and Seasonal Changes

First Grade

  • Adaptations, Behaviors and Inheritance of Traits
  • Weather, Climate and Seasonal Changes

Second Grade

  • Erosion, Water Quality and Solutions
  • Habitats, Diversity and Interdependence
  • Properties of Materials

Third Grade

  • Habitats and Survival
  • Life Cycles and Traits
HHLT recruited Bowdoin College Geology Professor Rachel Beane to teach Harpswell Community School fourth graders about the geology of Harpswell's "Giant's Stairs." (Curt Chipman photo)

HHLT recruited Bowdoin College Geology Professor Rachel Beane to teach Harpswell Community School fourth graders about the geology of Harpswell’s “Giant’s Stairs.” (Curt Chipman photo)

Fourth Grade

  • Structures and Senses
  • Geology and Weathering

Fifth Grade

  • Matter and Energy
  • Earth’s Systems

Below you can read teachers’ comments about what their students got out of HHLT’s school programming.

“*they loved being outdoors
*they were able to compare and contrast the two ecosystems: forest and salt marsh
*they began a discussion of diversity from noticing many plants and insects, and a few salamanders
*they began a discussion of the causes wet and dry soil
*they began a discussion of how plants that get washed by salt water need to filter out the salt”

“That they live in a really neat place where lots of animals live. I hope they understand more about the habitats of the shore, field & forest.”

“Expansive knowledge about rocks. Also a lot about how Earth was formed and that it has changed over time. They also talked a lot about how, ‘it was so cool that something in our backyard like that could be studied so closely.'”

“I think the students understand the difference between producers, consumers and decomposers. I also think they understand that matter and energy can work in cycles; everything effects something else.”

“At the end of the six weeks they learned about life cycles, adaptations, habitats, making observations, and more. They felt like scientists!”