This letter was originally published in CREA’s Fall 2019 newsletter.
To our Members and Friends:
As Autumn comes to the Midcoast, so too do buses and buses of students from SAD 75 and Brunswick School District come to the Preserve to study Pond Life, Life Cycles, Earth Systems, Geology, and more in CREA’s ‘outdoor classroom.’
On a brilliant October day, CREA Educators Sarah Rodgers and Carey Truebe welcomed Mrs. Dedek’s fourth grade class from Williams-Cone to study Energy. One group of students measured solar, wind, and water energy outdoors with Carey while Sarah took a group inside to talk about different forms of energy.
CREA Educators do not stand and deliver information. They extract information from the students – asking questions, giving everyone a chance to think and participate, and prompting students to think analytically.
Indoors, the conversation ranged from real life examples of energy changing form in ways that are useful to whether the students had used electricity that morning (“Did you have milk with your cereal?” “Yes…” “Ah, so when you opened the refrigerator door….” “I used electricity!”). When considering whether the sun’s light energy could be used to create heat, students raced out the Ecology Center door in search of ‘something dark that converts the sun’s energy to heat’ on the building.
Everyone is engaged and everyone is participating. This is learning at its best. And students are exposed to practical, real-life applications of abstract energy concepts they have studied back at school.
Fall is one of the loveliest times of year in Maine and certainly one of the loveliest on the Cathance River Nature Preserve. Like Mrs. Dedek’s class, we hope you found time to walk our trails or participate in one of CREA’s many fall programs.
2019 has been a year of robust programming by CREA. Recently, CREA hosted a nature cruise up the Kennebec in partnership with the Maine Maritime Museum. Add to this our unique work bringing student-directed, nature-based learning to countless K-5 students from SAD 75 and Brunswick School District, six weeks of exciting, nature-based summer camp, ‘Fourth Tuesday’ talks at the Topsham Public Library, and walks at the Ecology Center for learners of all ages. Through these, CREA touches the minds and spirits of thousands of friends and neighbors here in the Midcoast. You will read more about our programs in this issue, and you can see pictures on our website, Instagram, and Facebook.
None of this would be possible without your support – our members. Together, we open doors that help people experience the magnificence and significance of the natural world. Membership is the life-blood of our organization. We are a lean organization that does this with an amazing staff of one full-time director, 2 part-time educators, and 1 part-time camp director/administrative assistant. Every membership dollar goes to this invaluable work.
2020 marks an important milestone for CREA: 20 years of fostering the wise use of the Cathance River Nature Preserve, deepening ecological awareness through nature-based learning among students, educators, and the public; and promoting environmental stewardship. We look to you to keep CREA a vital and valuable resource for the next 20 years, and beyond.
Visit us at the preserve this season, and watch for upcoming programs via our website <creamaine.org> and e-blasts. CREA connects people with nature, for the benefit of both!
Ellen Bennett, President
Caroline Eliot, Executive Director