New Center for Ecological Teaching and Learning on the Coast of Maine!
When Suffolk University decided to close and sell their marine field lab on Cobscook Bay in Maine three years ago, a half-mile of shoreline and 70 acres were opened up to development. Lesley University’s Ecological Teaching and Learning (ETL) MS program rented the facility each July for 18 years as they launched new cohorts in a three-week field immersion in place-based, experiential learning that kicked off their graduate work. Founded and Directed by Coleen O’Connell, Lesley Faculty and Environmental Educator, there was mourning when the field station closed. Coleen recently said “For three years I have pondered how we might purchase the land and buildings so the transformational learning can continue. It never occurred to me that hosting an alumni reunion in July at a nearby facility, that ETL alums would decide over the course of four days, to put in an offer on the field station.” That is exactly what happened and on August 15, less than three weeks later, Suffolk and the alums have come to an agreed-upon price. A Board has been formed, nonprofit paperwork is in progress, and an endless brainstorm list of programs grows on a shared google doc.
Cobscook Bay is a unique ecosystem where the Bay of Fundy, with its world-famous high and low tides, empties into the Cobscook ecosystem. Situated on the very eastern part of Maine separated from New Brunswick, Canada by a thin stretch of water, this marine and terrestrial ecosystem is an exceptional wilderness learning environment. Surrounded by the Moosehorn Wildlife Refuge, Cobscook State Park, Maine Coast Heritage Trust lands, the Center for Ecological Teaching and Learning will provide years of natural history learning for decades to come.
As an ETL alum myself, I was also heartbroken when the program was no longer available but I am very excited to know that there will be a place for this learning to continue and grow. The work we did is so important to our future on this planet, and to be able to share that on a community level now is something very special.
For updates and more information on what the Center has to offer, check out their website here: https://www.cetlmaine.org/