Teacher Collaborative Expanded From One School District To Three This Year


This summer, the Outdoor Teacher Collaborative convened for another season bringing together ten local teachers and Acadia National Park education rangers for professional development.

Friends of Acadia funded the teacher and education ranger stipends to facilitate the program aimed at creating outdoor curricula for kindergarten through fifth-grade students. Lesson plans developed through the Teacher Collaborative can be used with students on school campuses or at home through remote learning to enhance students’ academic and health outcomes.

Education Technician, Mackette Kark (right), talks with Judith Cullen, Casie Frederick, and Julia Tardy about sea life that can be found at Sand beach during an Acadia Teacher Fellows program.(Photo by Carolyn Rogers/Friends of Acadia)

The Teacher Collaborative expanded from one school district to three this year: Mount Desert Island, Ellsworth, and RSU 24, which covers a large area from Mariaville to Steuben. Teachers shared challenges associated with being an educator during the COVID-19 pandemic and contemplated fresh possibilities. Outdoor classrooms were identified as an answer to many of the hurdles imposed by the pandemic and focusing on outdoor learning helped buoy the teachers’ spirits.

Friends of Acadia continues to receive applications from schools to help fund their outdoor classroom spaces. The park’s education rangers are also preparing a variety of day-long outdoor field trips in the park, as well as virtual programming for schools and self-guided educational hikes that teachers can lead in the park.

While interruptions and program pivoting are anticipated this school year, educators now have many more tools to deal with such frequent and drastic change. Friends of Acadia is pleased to aid in building educational resources to help both teachers and students thrive.

“We’re going to make every moment count with students until we get back to full programming,” said Kate Petrie, Education Coordinator at Acadia National Park.

PAIGE STEELE is Conservation Projects Manager for Friends of Acadia.