BRYANT POND — The University of Maine 4-H Camp and Learning Center has received an anonymous $69,000 donation that will be used to build nine new bunkhouses over the next few years.

Most of the bunkhouses will be built by second and third year building trade program students at Oxford Hills Technical High School, Susan Jennings, Oxford County Extension educator, said.

“It’s just amazing, the whole collaboration,” she said of the cooperation between the 4-H camp and students in the Oxford Hills School District and other area school districts.

Jennings said the students hope to build many of the bunkhouses over the next few years. The students usually build a house as their school year project, but this year’s lack of funds prohibited that project so they undertook the bunkhouse work at the 4-H camp.

The students started the first bunkhouse in September under the tutorship of teachers Scott McElravy and Dan Daniels. It’s expected to be completed in the next few months.

Jennings said the cabins are designed to hold 10 children and two adults and will be winterized.

Currently the camp has largely wood frame buildings with tarps for protective sleeping areas that are used in the summer, when children come for summer camp. They are also used in the early fall, when students from the Oxford Hills area come to learn about the environment in an overnight lakeside classroom.

Students have been coming to the lakeside classrooms since 1956 for leadership, life and team-building skills, and learning about environmental conservation and sustainability. It was previously the Maine Conservation Camp.

Jennings said the camp is also undergoing a major building project with the construction of a new year-round learning center that will hold 36 people, have a dining hall, commercial style kitchen. It will also have classroom space and a museum and library holding mineralogy collections and books about the environment and conservation, and other Maine related themes. The mineralogy collection will be from the old Maine Conservation School and some new “major” donations from as yet unspecified local donors, Jennings said.

The new learning center is completely green using extensive solar panels and other green initiatives, she said.

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