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, Design-Build, Ecoliteracy, 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.
Tyler Caruso is a crafts person who is pursing a life long education in sustainable building practices. Tyler received his masters in Environmental Systems Design from Pratt. He currently spends his time building in the woods. He is also an activist and committed to the life long process of unlearning racism and dismantling white supremacy. He has taught and supported youth in environmental justice work, creative writing and hands-on design build projects.