Imagine the first time you ever saw a moose, or explored a tide pool, felt the cool water of the ocean wash over your skin, climbed a mountain... Now imagine a life where you live an hour from the ocean in Maine but have never walked on the beach, never hiked a mountain, never heard the waves crashing, or seen the beauty of sand pipers in flight. Imagine the economic barriers that exist for many Maine children that could make this unbelievable statement their actual reality.
At MEEA, we believe that ALL Maine children have the right to experience the unimaginable beauty of the sate we are so lucky to inhabit. We know the only way to make this vision a reality it to partner with public schools and support them in providing opportunities for Maine children to learn outside. MEEA has a wealth of environmental resources we offer our public schools and we are fully committed to building partnerships and working tirelessly to raise funds to support initiatives to better serve ALL Maine students and teachers. We believe that Maine youth need opportunities to be challenged to think critically and act as scientists and we connect educators with hands-on citizen science projects.
At MEEA we know that collaboration to build our collective impact is the only way in which we will be able to truly tackle the initiative to serve ALL Maine children. We also know that authentic relationships are at the foundation of successful collaboration. This is why it is VITAL that our organization is committed to providing opportunities for Maine's thought leaders and change makers to connect and build these relationships of trust. At MEEA we are committed to breaking down barriers and the mentality that puts our organization or school in front of all others. The problems and challenges we face today are greater than ourselves and will take deep collaboration to solve. MEEA fosters these transformative collaborations.
Maine is already on it's way to achieving the audacious goal that ALL children, despite their economic status, will be able to experience outdoor learning. A few years ago key environmental education leaders at the residential EE centers in Maine met through our organization and built a relationship of trust. This relationship led to the formation of what we hope will become the most significant collaboration for residential environment education in the history of our state. The Environmental Living and Learning For All Maine Students or ELLMS collaborative was formed between five key residential EE providers. These providers are currently partnering with 10 school districts and local land-trusts in Maine to provide onsite support and a residential EE experience. The goal is that over time, and with major fundraising efforts that this program will be expanded to all districts in Maine. This is just one many examples of the incredible public/private partnerships occurring in education in Maine today and MEEA is proud to play a vital role in developing and partnering these partnerships.