Mary Ann Hamel of New Gloucester tries out a new bench built by Calvin Davis, a student at the Fiddlehead School of Arts & Sciences, for an eighth grade capstone project at Intervale Preserve. Patti Mikkelsen / For Lakes Region Weekly

Students cap year off by improving preserve

A walking tour of the Intervale Preserve on June 23 explored capstone projects undertaken by eighth grade students from the Fiddlehead School of Arts & Sciences, including new historic interpretive signs, a native edible plant garden and a sensory meditation walk.

The trek was part of the Royal River Conservation Trust series Habitat Brunch, at 10 a.m. Thursdays, when the public is invited to join RRCT staff and experts in weekly walks on conserved lands in the Royal River watershed.

RRCT Executive Director Alan Stearns pointed out the new interpretive and experiential installations created by the Fiddlehead School contingent.

“The eighth graders are a delightful mix – some of them just love building and others took the bait on more course-related capstone projects,” he said.

Stearns said the students collaborated with the New Gloucester Historical Society to produce interpretive plaques mounted on the back of a kiosk focusing on three areas: the Interurban, Agriculture and the Blockhouse. He added that the students have the software skills to produce the graphics and they were instrumental in developing the language choices used.

A capstone project is a multifaceted body of work that serves as a culminating experience for students. Other projects completed by Fiddlehead students at the Intervale Preserve are an arbor bench made by Elsa Anderson-Maher, a stargazing platform built by Josh MacLaughlin and a bench constructed by Calvin Davis. The projects were all completed under the tutelage of the students’ teacher, John Wensman.

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Another student-driven project is a sensory walk with descriptive placards saying “Smell, Taste, Sound, Sight and Touch.” They culminated with one labeled insight that included this meditative contemplation: “Turn your mind inward and put your attention to your essence, the peace within.”

Fourth of July reading

Start Independence Day off with a patriotic flair by attending a public reading of the Declaration of Independence at 9 a.m. Monday, July 4, at the New Gloucester History Barn, 383 Intervale Road. This free event is sponsored by the New Gloucester Historical Society.

Chandler Pond walk

Join Royal River Land Trust at Chandler Mill Pond from 10-11:30 a.m. July 14 for an easy 1-mile-loop trek at a state fish and wildlife area created with the assistance of RRCT in 2016. A new parking area, boat ramp and shoreline trail allow easy access to the fishing pond with an undeveloped shoreline.

From the intersection of Bald Hill Road and Snow Hill Road, take Snow Hill Road for 1 mile. Soon after the turnpike underpass, turn left into Chandler Mill Pond’s boat access parking lot.

Transfer station stickers

Yellow transfer station stickers are available at the Town Office, 385 Intervale Road, and the transfer station on Bald Hill Road. Stickers cost $10, are good for one year and are required for everyone using the transfer station.

Patti Mikkelsen can be reached at [email protected]

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