FARMINGTON — Sixteen students in a University of Maine at Farmington environmental course will use a $7,300 grant to plant 20 full-size trees on the campus next fall.

They are members of the course, “Sustainability in a Changing Climate.”

The Project Canopy grant is from the Maine Forest Service and GrowSmart Maine. It will pay for 11 species of native Maine trees and shrubs.

Project Canopy’s mission is to create and maintain healthy urban and community forests for the economic, ecological and quality of life benefits for Mainers.

Students decided in the fall of 2014 to submit an application for the grant.

Recent construction of the Emery Community Arts Center and installation of heat wells for Preble and Ricker Halls led to the removal of a number of large trees on campus. Students saw the grant as a chance to plant new trees while also stimulating public awareness of the benefits of the role of forests in the community.

Andrea Nurse, who teaches the course, divided the class into separate groups to work on a section of the grant proposal. They researched carbon storage, erosion, tree selection and the importance of mature trees to the environment and aesthetics of the community.

“These students not only did a tremendous amount of research, but learned how to apply that research and write about it in a concise way that got the attention of the Project Canopy program,” Nurse said.

Jeffrey McKay, UMF director of facilities management, and Patty Cormier, Maine state forester for the region, visited the class several times to help with the technical aspects of the grant and to answer questions.

“The grant process was in-depth, but pretty straight forward,” said Timothy Pacini, a first-year environmental science major from Methuen, Mass. “It was well organized and Mrs. Nurse kept us on task while helping us to accomplish much of it on our own.”

According to Ted Wallace, a secondary education major from Derry, N.H., this was just about everyone’s first experience with researching or writing a grant proposal.

Mickayla Wiley, an early childhood education major from Buckfield, said everyone saw it as just a class project at first, until the pieces started coming together.

“That’s when we started thinking we actually had a chance to be successful and make a difference in Farmington for years to come,” she said. “Our trees could still be on campus 100 years from now. That’s exciting to think about.”

According to the Project Canopy grant criteria, a matching monetary amount will be provided by the university as in-kind services to establish and maintain the new plantings.

Project Canopy program was made possible through a grant from the Maine Forest Service and the USDA Forest Service.


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