The Ecology School in Saco received funding to help pay for two new, sustainable buildings. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

SACO — A contribution to The Ecology School in Saco will help pay for the construct of two sustainable buildings.

Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution (SBSI) and Paquin & Carroll Insurance (P&C) have given a combined gift of $57,500 to The Ecology School, a nonprofit ecology education center. The money will be used toward the construction of two of the most sustainable buildings in the Northeast, according to a press release from The Ecology School. The new buildings, located at River Bend Farm in Saco, will be centerpieces of the school’s new riverfront environmental education learning center.

The buildings will adhere to the strict guidelines of The International Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge, a green building certification program and sustainable design framework, according to the release.

“Living buildings” are designed to give more to the environment than they take, creating a positive impact on the human and natural systems that interact with them. With over 700 solar panels, locally-sourced lumber, permaculture landscaping and a working agroecology farm, the campus is leading the way in modeling sustainability and conservation practices in Maine and beyond.

The school is naming the newly-constructed entryway to the 7,000-square-foot dining commons in honor of Saco & Biddeford Savings and Paquin & Carroll Insurance.

“Support from our neighbors at Saco & Biddeford Savings and Paquin & Carroll Insurance demonstrates a commitment to building sustainable communities right here in our hometowns,” said Drew Dumsch, president and CEO of The Ecology School. “The dining commons will be the central meeting place for all of our program participants, and the entryway is a connector between the quiet forest setting of our dormitories and the open riverfront farm fields. We’re honored to name this section after our great community partners.”

In addition to providing science and outdoor education to over 3,500 K-8th graders in the Saco and Biddeford school system, The Ecology School is a place for people of all ages to be immersed in outdoor conservation, farming and sustainability experiences, according to the release.

“Having attended The Ecology School myself, it is impactful to see the changes made so that everyone can appreciate and enjoy the scenery while learning about stainability here in our community,” said Chad Boucher, financial operations manager at Saco & Biddeford Savings.

“This project is a model of sustainability and efficiency for others to follow, and it’s great to see the plans for education coupled with sustainable farming at the stunning River Bend Farm,” said Josh Fearon, president of Paquin & Carroll Insurance. “The future is bright for participants at The Ecology School.”

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