A program for Middle & High School Students
in Waldo County, Maine
The “Ecology Bridge” is a homeschooling enrichment program for students ages 12 to 15 (grades 7-10). This program offers a bridge between middle and high school, and serves as a bridge between a two-day independent program and the future five-day publicly funded charter school. The program is based out of Liberty, Maine on Mondays and Tuesdays, and in Belfast on Wednesdays, 9:00-3:00. The 2019-2020 program begins September 23 and ends June 3.
The primary focus of the Ecology Bridge program is to foster strong social-emotional and collaborative work skills. Through problem solving activities, team-building challenges, and community service projects, students learn to communicate effectively and work interdependently in pairs, small groups, and as a whole. Courses include Spanish, Pottery, Ecoliteracy, Tools Teach, and Field Studies throughout Maine. We maximize time outdoors to increase our understanding of and connection to the natural world.
For the 2019-2020 school year, the curriculum will be divided into three broad themes: Food, (September to December), Shelter (January to March), and Water (April to June). These integrating themes will be woven into all lessons. Students will have voice and choice in what specific topic they would like to learn more about (for the Food unit, one student may delve into wild foraging while another designs a new tool to help farmers harvest or preserve crops).
Ariel Morgan has been studying Spanish for over 20 years, and teaching, tutoring, and traveling for 10. She graduated from Western Washington University's Fairhaven College in 2011 with an interdisciplinary degree titled 'Bilingual America: History and Education in the Latinx Community,' a Spanish minor, and a bilingual teaching certificate. In 2013 she was granted a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship at the Universidad Tecnológica de Jalisco. Since moving to Maine in 2015 she has stayed busy by becoming a licensed massage therapist, hauling water, and learning how to garden.
Jeff Butler and his family live in Knox, Maine. He has been working with clay since first sitting down at a pottery wheel during senior year in high school. Jeff looks forward to teaching some of the skills and techniques he has learned to the Ecology Bridge students. He spent 3 years as a potters apprentice and 3 years as a journeyman potter working in Connecticut before moving to Maine and beginning the process of building a workshop and kiln, which we named the PotteryFarm. Jeff has a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Vermont and received a teaching certificate from the State of Massachusetts.
Laura Sheinkopf is passionate about experiential learning from a holistic and student-centered approach. She has worked as a classroom teacher, community liaison and arts-integrator at an elementary school, and has directed educational programs for teens around themes of art and justice. Through these experiences, she has developed expertise designing interdisciplinary curricula and projects that help young people tackle complex issues, and then tap into their own potential to positively contribute to our world. Laura studied Geography and Spanish at Dartmouth College and earned a Master of Science in Ecological Teaching & Learning, from Lesley University. She has recently moved to Maine from elsewhere in New England, and is excited to facilitate inquiry and discovery with the Ecology Learning Center.
Lēza Packard began teaching 20+ years ago through Teach for America. That experience sparked a passion to expand and enhance learning opportunities for youth wherever she has lived. Lēza completed her bachelor’s at UC Davis and master’s in environmental education at Prescott College, and has taught every grade from preschool to college, in a range of subjects from middle school science to high school French & Spanish. Most recently she was the director of the Outdoor Classroom at Chewonki and farm educator at Morris Farm in Wiscasset. She currently serves as the executive director of the Ecology Learning Center, and will be head of school for the charter school starting summer 2020.
Tools Teach, located at Banks Garage in Liberty, is an intentional workspace formed in order to pass on the knowledge of common and esoteric tool use and function. The philosophy is enacted through classes, open houses, and outreach programs, facilitated by the instructors and other tools users in the community.
Tools Teach was founded by John Sherman, Tanner Wilcox, and Dakota Williams.
John Sherman is a lifetime Craftsperson who has found his passions and comfort in tools and the art of using them. He has apprenticed at local specialized woodworking shops, including a small veneer shop and custom window & door company, and taken classes at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship and Maine Coast Craft School.
Tanner Wilcox is a tool restorer from New York. He spent six years as a survival instructor at Free Spirit Nature Camp before moving to Maine in 2012. Since 2015 he has been the tool buyer for the Liberty Tool Company and the Tool Barn in hull’s cove. As a woodworker, his specialty is designing and making tool handles.
Dakota Williams grew up in midcoast Maine and has spent his life as a woodworker. He loves making objects for everyday use around the house, and in 2015 took up an apprenticeship at the Apprentice Shop in Rockland. In his two year residency at the apprentice shop he learned the art of restoring and repairing wooden boats. Dakota now works for Liberty Tool as a tool picker and furniture restorer.