The Center for Teaching and Learning in Edgecomb will soon build a barn to serve as an outdoor classroom for a new wilderness immersion program, according to a volunteer who presented the project to the Edgecomb Planning Board on Thursday, May 3.
Volunteer Ross Branch presented “Project Forty Days in the Woods.” Glenn Powers, CTL science teacher for grades five through eight, is spearheading the project.
The planning board directed Branch to obtain a permit from the code enforcement officer. The building will be smaller than 1,000 square feet, so it does not need board approval.
The project will seek to engage K-8 students as citizen scientists and future stewards of the environment, according to the school’s description. It will give students opportunities to conduct ecological, arboreal, and animal studies in collaboration with mentor scientists and environmental agencies.
Some 80 students at the Cross Point Road school will spend every Friday outside on the school grounds doing field work on the 6 acres of land there. They will focus on five interconnected units of study: forest health; trees and invasives; Maine mammals, such as coyotes, mice, squirrels, and deer; the forest at night; and the forest floor.
Each of five units consists of three components: field work with data collection, data analysis and writing, and community service.
Powers would like the outdoor learning space to help children become informed citizens, environmentally and scientifically, and would like to see it become a model for other schools to develop.
Branch said the code enforcement officer told him he had to have the planning board review the project before he could receive a building permit, but the board said its review is not necessary for the particular structure.
Other business at the planning board’s regular meeting included an application for a blasting permit as part of construction of a new building on private property on Cross Point Road. The building will house a spa, gym, sauna, and hot tub.
Steve Berger, of the Knickerbocker Group, presented the plans to the board, which approved the application for a blasting permit, though the code enforcement officer will have to examine it. Berger has not applied for a building permit yet.
Lauren Stockwell, of Stockwell Environmental Consulting Inc., appeared before the board with a letter of approval from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to build a pier for a private property at the end of Merry Island Road.
The board determined the necessary documentation complete and approved the project.