News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, March 16, 2023
UUCC gifts BHHT $10K for restorative ecology program at Adams School

The Opportunity Fund Committee at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Castine has awarded $10,000 to Blue Hill Heritage Trust for a restorative ecology educational program at the Adams School. The school is participating in the program to help children learn to make their community more resilient to the effects of climate change and their ecosystem more diverse, according to a press release.

On the school campus, students will work with indigenous science teachers to study the landscape, identify native plants to improve the health of the land, and collect and cultivate native seeds and plants. The goal is to create an edible landscape that adds to biodiversity and feeds wildlife, pollinators and people. Students will also be engaged in learning Wabanaki culture and history.

The educational program will stimulate environmental nature-based education, indigenous and modern science, cultural knowledge sharing and relationship building around stewarding the land. Bringing indigenous voices into classrooms provides a unique educational opportunity. The program will be ongoing, accessible and visible to the public; it will be restorative for both the land and cross-cultural relationships. This year’s students will start the project and leave it for future classes to continue. The program has already been successfully introduced at George Stevens Academy and Sedgwick Elementary School.

The team leading the project is made up of indigenous science teachers Kathy Pollard and Ann Pollard Ranco from Know Your Land Consulting, a mother/daughter team; Josh Snow and Tracey Lameyer, science teachers at Adams School; and Landere Naisbitt from Blue Hill Heritage Trust.

Through the program, project leaders are also working to restore relationships and create trust and understanding among the entire community. The release states, “Giving students the opportunity to work alongside indigenous women is a unique experience that will have a lasting impact on not only students’ environmental knowledge but also their Wabanaki cultural understanding and their sense of relationship with the land.”

This educational program fits into the broad community outreach mission of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Castine and the specific goals of the Opportunity Fund in supporting new programs focused on children, Wabanaki reconciliation and the interrelated environment.