Maine Association of Conservation Districts Prepares for Statewide Natural Resource Education

December 27, 2006
Steve Hobart
Hobart Takes Plunge for Conservation Education
The Maine Association of Conservation Districts recently convened at the Ramada Inn in Bangor for its Annual Winter Meeting. The sixteen conservation districts in Maine that were represented at the meeting serve as the bridge between citizens and local, state and federal agencies. They provide conservation leadership, teach the value of natural resources, and help plan and implement voluntary programs to both prevent and solve local environmental problems.They work with many partners to provide assistance to the public for their use of land, water, wildlife, forest, plants and other resources.

At this meeting, preparations were made for 2007 statewide natural resource education. One of the important learning opportunities that conservation districts host each year is called Envirothon. Envirothon competitions are held both regionally and statewide for junior high and high school students. The Central Region Mock Envirothon will be held at Richard and Sylvia Johnson's Farm in Dover Foxcroft on Wednesday, April 25th. The Central Region Envirothon will be held at Roger's Farm at the University of Maine, Orono on Wednesday, May 16th. These outdoor hands-on competitions promote teambuilding and communication skills and appeal to students with a wide variety of learning styles. The students' knowledge is tested in a variety of natural science areas including soils, forestry, water, wildlife and current issues. Envirothon touches on virtually every aspect of curriculum in an interdisciplinary manner, fostering hands-on problem solving and looking at the environmental, economic and social aspects of ecological issues. The many ways that Envirothon meets the Maine Learning Results are listed on the Maine Natural Resource Conservation Service web site at www.me.nrcs.usda.gov under Environmental Education. Statewide winners at the high school level go on to national competition.

There was an auction of donated items held after the meeting. Funds raised from the annual auction are used to support Envirothon and other natural resource programs. Piscataquis County businesses were particularly generous this year, donating over $600.00 of merchandise towards this effort! This year the auction raised $3,351.00! People who attend this December event not only appreciate having items available that are suitable for gift giving or for use in their own homes, but also know they are contributing towards preservation of our natural resources in Maine by educating school children about their importance.

As the torch was passed to Tony Carroll of Limerick, Maine to begin his two year tenure as President of the Maine Association of Conservation Districts, past President Stephen Hobart of Blanchard, Maine, who now serves as the Northeast Director to the National Association of Conservation Districts, took the plunge into the pool for natural resource education in Maine, raising $500.00 towards this effort. That's commitment to a worthy endeavor!

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