From Drew Dumsch, Executive Director at The Ecology School, Saco, Maine.
The five programs in Maine that do outdoor science school year programs (The Ecology School, Chewonki Outdoor Classroom, University of Maine 4-H Camp & Learning Center at Bryant Pond, and the University of Maine 4-H Camp & Learning Center at Tanglewood, and the Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park) decided that we wanted to pool our resources and collaborate formally with each other. We formed The ELLMS (Environmental Living & Learning for Maine Students) Project. Since 2010, ELLMS has raised over 3 million dollars for scholarships, which we have divided evenly between our organizations. We have a program we call Whole Schools Whole Communities in which each site is working in a more targeted way with two of their most local schools. With these schools, we go beyond just our residential programs and are doing multi-year programming. We are also doing professional learning workshops for classroom teachers and plan to use BEETLES professional learning sessions in these. ELLMS also collaborates on some research on the impact of residential outdoor science programs on students. Recently we were getting a bit overwhelmed by running ELLMS on top of our busy jobs, so we got grant money to hire a network coordinator for ELLMS. The coordinator focuses on our summer teacher institute, writing grants, and making sure all five programs follow through on their ELLMS commitments.
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