Lee Academy Service Learning Team Receives The Maine Woods Forever 2017 “Teddy Roosevelt Maine Conservation Award”

Unity, Maine – Maine Woods Forever is pleased to present the Lee Academy Service Learning Team the 2017 “Teddy Roosevelt Maine Conservation Award” – a youth-oriented award created to recognize young people and youth groups whose efforts are in the spirit of Roosevelt’s conservation ethic and achievements.

plaque-2017-leeacademy-768x599The award recognizes what Maine’s youth are doing to appreciate and conserve our forest heritage. It also encourages them to become future conservation leaders.

The 2017 awards were presented on April 7, 2017, at Maine Woods Forever’s 36th Roundtable event, hosted at Unity College’s Center for the Performing Arts.

“The Teddy Roosevelt Maine Conservation Award honors today’s young people and the legacy of America’s most celebrated conservationist, President Theodore Roosevelt,” notes John Rust, chair of the award committee. “Many credit his rugged sojourns in Maine during the late 1800s with shaping his determination to conserve our natural world. This year’s award recipients have clearly lived up to this ethic.”

The Lee Academy Service Learning Team, directed by science teacher Susan Linscott, was presented an award for outstanding achievement by a youth organization in recognition of their program that provides students with direct experiences in the forests and their community.

Lee Academy’s student body consists of local and international students, all of whom explore, research and experience the feeling of being in nature while gaining an appreciation of Maine’s woods.

Students are required to design conservation and forestry lessons, and to then mentor local elementary and middle school students. “The mentor program between our Lee/Winn Elementary School and Lee Academy involves local and international student leaders taking groups of our students outside on our school’s nature trail, to study tree growth, and to discuss the hazards of spruce budworm,” said Lois Hardy, Teacher at the Lee Winn Elementary School. “It has been the perfect introduction into conservation for our fourth graders.”

The program also has international impact, as Gus LeBlanc, Lee Academy’s Headmaster states, “Students helped introduce exchange students from Lishui, China, to Maine’s vast natural resources and our efforts to maintain and grow those resources through conservation and environmental protection efforts. The Chinese students left with an understanding of the concept of conservation stewardship, to which they had never been exposed.”

The program has also involved:

* Conducting a culvert survey in Lee and analyzing them for environmental safety and structural integrity. Following the survey, students dug into design work assuming the role of engineers.

* Researching the history, economics and environmental impacts of the last spruce budworm (SBW) outbreak including long term effects on the forest. They interviewed Lee residents, then designed brochures and art before hosting an informative community event where they presented facts, maps and stories about the budworm outbreak and what to expect in the near future.

* Competing in the statewide Envirothon.

* Establishing permanent forestry plots where they collect and analyze real data; and use data loggers to record events informing them of the ecological changes.

leeacademy-425-1-768x688The award was accepted by Lee Academy Juniors Lauren Dodge and Cole Harriman, and science teacher Susan Linscott, who created and directs the program. Pat Maloney, Coordinator of Maine Project Learning Tree, made the nomination.

For more information, please click here or contact John Rust, Chairman, Teddy Roosevelt Maine Conservation Award Committee, at (207) 337-5858.