LEWISTON — All seventh-grade students at Lewiston Middle School visited the L.L.Bean Discovery School in Freeport during the first week of June to participate in outdoor activities including kayaking, fly fishing, archery, mini camps and stand-up paddle boarding.

The project provided an experiential learning opportunity. The objective was to prompt student discovery of the connection between the place in which they live and the potential career opportunities available to them. The project was closely tied to the seventh-grade Maine Studies, science and literacy curriculum.

By helping students to connect an experiential understanding of the world to potential work opportunities, this project meets the Lewiston Education Fund’s overarching goal to promote aspirations and provide an opportunity for students to explore the natural world, regardless of economic status.

The project was to serve a total of 347 students. Approximately 67.5 percent of these students are eligible for free and reduced lunch and 21 percent are English Language Learners. Many of these students have limited opportunities to leave their local community and discover the world beyond Lewiston.

Prior to their visit, the students worked with their social studies, science and literacy teachers to explore multiple connections to careers and the natural environment.

During their visit, students gained an intimate understanding of recreational activities that connect Mainers to nature today. They heard from Discovery School employees on why they chose recreation as a career field and how they trained for their jobs. For many of the students, the trip was the first time they participated in any of these recreational activities.

Following the trip, students met with their teachers to reflect upon their experience and to make connections between this experience and their own career goals.

Chris Poulin was the lead in coordinating this effort and Amie Parker was the president of Lewiston Education Fund at the time of this project getting planned and funded.

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