Don’t blink! – July eNewsletter
Woods and Waters Day, youth outdoors, Seboeis paddle trip, and more…
Summer is in full swing, and despite the damp weather, we’re taking advantage of each precious summer day while it’s here. And it’s hard to believe with our minds and hearts fully in summer mode, but we just wrapped up our spring fundraising season last month. This spring, we challenged the Friends community to help us hit our ambitious membership goal of $75,000. We’re delighted to report that fundraising to support Friends’ ongoing operations and programs this spring totaled $85,634, 114% of our goal! This annual membership support is vital for ensuring that experiences like those you’ll read about in this newsletter are possible for educators, youth, art enthusiasts, and paddlers–not just today, but for years to come.
Looking ahead, we’ll be gathering with our Friends community in just under a month with an evolution to our traditional anniversary celebration that we’re calling “Woods & Waters Day.” We hope you’ll join us at Shin Pond Village for lunch and live music, then head into the monument with us later in the afternoon for a sneak peek at Tekαkαpimək Contact Station before it opens to the public in 2024. Learn more and register for Woods & Waters Day here.
This month, our featured Park Story comes from Maggie O’Hara, Katahdin Learning Project’s seasonal place-based educator. Maggie just graduated from Katahdin Middle High School and is headed to Eastern Maine Community College to study secondary education in the fall.
“Going out in the woods is not every high schooler’s dream. And being entirely honest, at the beginning of last fall it was definitely not on my top ten things to do. The idea of big hikes, intense canoeing trips, and dealing with nature’s wrath truthfully scared me. But then, I was offered to run a fundraiser at one of Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters programs: Stars Over Katahdin.”
Teacher Camp 2023 – Focus on Wabanaki Studies
We are still glowing with gratitude after KLP’s annual Teacher Camp last month. Always a valuable opportunity for learning, this year had a special focus–LD291–the 2001 law requiring the teaching of Wabanaki history and culture in Maine classrooms. Teachers from around the region and state explored integrating Wabanaki studies into school curricula and the purpose and history behind the law. Wabanaki REACH provided a program to expand their understanding of Wabanaki history and present issues. A hands-on map activity helped each individual delve into the important “unlearning” and subsequent learning necessary for educators preparing to incorporate the truth in structures where Wabanaki history, culture, and ways of knowing have been erased. Teachers left empowered with knowledge generously shared by Heather Augustine (Elsipogtog First Nation Canada) of REACH, Nolan Altvater (Passamaquoddy), the Special Projects Coordinator for the Passamaquoddy Historic Preservation Office, and Angie Reed, Water Resources Planner with Penobscot Nation Water Quality.
Nolan’s keynote spoke to the importance of infusing Maine studies with past and present Wabanaki contributions in a culturally competent manner, sharing truth and acknowledging the harmful narratives that previously existed and still persist today. Teaching materials and resources, created with the help of presenters, were shared in attendee folders and at a resource table. Supporting teachers in their ongoing learning and next steps was an important objective of the day. Most importantly, KLP and Friends hoped to spark individual commitments to the process of unsettling our educational systems and centering Wabanaki peoples in determining how their stories are told. To learn more or request resources, please contact Education Director Kala@friendsofkww.org.
The Outdoor Classroom
Surviving the halls of middle school can be tough enough, but KLP was impressed by 6th-8th graders from Southern Aroostook Community School earlier this summer when they learned the importance of wilderness survival skills and safety. On the first day, they learned what being prepared looks like and what to bring with them on a trip. Students crafted various forms of shelters ranging from debris huts to tarps to tents. On day two, they covered team-building, fire starting, and first aid. Kids learned the importance of working together when faced with an emergency. The two days capped off with a thoughtful conversation about careers in the outdoor field, and we can’t wait to see some of these kids on the trail when they are rangers, foresters, or guides!
Just last week, KLP was joined by NPS Ranger Crystal at Lunksoos Camps’ picnic area for a river ecology lesson with Katahdin Elementary’s Summer Academy. Kids learned about habitats, the very special food web of the silver maple flood plain, and played a salmon game, too. Kudos to the teachers who make summer learning a priority–and have enough bug nets to go around!
Trip Report – Spotlight on Seboeis
Despite, nay, because of, all the rain we’ve received this year in the Katahdin region, Friends’ staffers Sam and Elise, along with Elise’s partner Joe, enjoyed a late season run of the Seboeis last month. If you missed Sam’s delightful trip report on social media, find it here–and if you are curious for more details or would like to ground-truth the Three Rivers Paddling Guide (working copy), reach out to Elise@friendsofkww.org. With summer rains, the Seboeis continues to run high much later this season. Check the USGS monitoring site, ensure good water levels, and consider a trip!
“As Far As One Can See” at Portland Museum of Art
On Friday, June 30, at 6 PM, the Portland Museum of Art hosted “As Far as One Can See: Visitor Contact Station Rises in Katahdin Woods and Waters” to a full auditorium with standing room only. Friends thanks the panelists: Gabriel Frey (Passamaquoddy), Jennifer Neptune (Penobscot), Todd Saunders, and Lucas St. Clair, who provided lively conversation and insights. The program was punctuated with stunning visuals of this unique project, the creation of a Visitor Contact Station in Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument reflecting a Wabanaki worldview, which will be a gift to the U.S. National Park Service and open to the public in 2024. To learn more and join the campaign in support of this project and more, visit friendsofkww.org/a-monumental-welcome
NPS News and Notes
- Folks headed into Katahdin Woods and Waters this summer may find assistance at one of the mobile ranger stations! A creative solution to our backcountry setting–the stations will park at the most popular drive-by sites including the Swift Brook Road on the way into Lunksoos Camps and the Scenic Loop Road.
- Traveling with kids? Make sure you stop at the mobile station (or the visitor contact station at the Lumberman’s Museum in Patten) for a Junior Ranger Activity book. Learn about dark skies, fishing, or natural soundscapes–and maybe even earn a Junior Ranger badge!
- Each unit of the National Park System is required to have a formal statement of its core mission that will provide basic guidance for all planning and management decisions—a foundation for planning and management. Earlier this year, Superintendent Wimmer and his team completed this very important step, and now you can dive into KAWW’s Foundation Document or Foundation Document Overview.
- For the most current information from the monument, don’t forget to download the NPS App, then search for Katahdin Woods and Waters, to access alerts, downloadable maps, and more!
- Limited spots are still available for 5th-10th graders in the Katahdin Region Outdoor Collaborative Summer Youth Series.
- Have you voted yet in the WinterKids Downhill24 Fund Community Vote? We hope you cast one for Millinocket for their community Ski Tow Project!
- We are excited that 12 Willows Press is curating an anthology– Rivers of Ink: Literary Reflections on the Penobscot–for release at the end of this year. (There are still a few days left to submit writing.) When the book is published, a portion of the proceeds will benefit A Monumental Welcome capital campaign. Thank you!
This month we are shouting out The Wilderness Society, a new sponsor in 2023 with special interest in supporting one specific event, Teacher Camp! We thank them for their generous sponsorship at the Deasey level. Learn more about TWS and their mission here.And thank you to Natural Resources Council of Maine for your Hathorn level sponsorship and support since 2018!
—This blog post was adapted from an email transmitted on July 27, 2023. Sign up for our email list at friendsofkww.org/signup.