RUMFORD — Middle school students at Holy Savior School in Rumford will have the opportunity this fall to participate in the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens’ Lunder New Naturalist pilot program, teacher Michelle Ladd said Tuesday afternoon.

Ladd said students went on a field trip last year and learned about marine biologist and conservationist Rachel Carson.

“I was turned on to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens after that field trip and heard they were allowing schools to apply to participate in their Lunder New Naturalists program,” Ladd said. “From what I’ve heard, there will be a school from each county involved in it.”

In a news release, Dave Guthro, communications director of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, said the Lunder New Naturalists program is “designed to shape students’ experiences outdoors, their online interactions with peers and their approach to science and social studies.”

Students will also learn about Theodore Roosevelt’s love of Maine, Guthro said, “as they explore biodiversity and conservation in their local community.”

Ladd said 18 students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades will participate in the program.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for the kids,” Ladd said. “They’re going to have the chance to meet a lot of kids from around the state who have similar interests. They’ll get to compare their community to other communities in the state.”

Part of being involved in the Lunder New Naturalists program means that Holy Savior will receive 10 iPads to use in conjunction with the program, Ladd said.

“That’s a huge boost for us,” he said. “Since we’re not a part of the district, we don’t have the same access to technology. We get to use the apps on the iPad to enhance the students’ learning.”

Ladd said she and teacher Diane Shorey are attending a class to learn how to use the newer apps on the iPad.

Guthro also said in the release that the students “will participate in a challenge action project by discussing the environmental challenges that affect the Rumford community and creating and publishing solutions.”

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