APC Outdoor Learning

The Southern Maine Outdoor Leadership Program, including five schools within the Biddeford and Saco School Districts, received a full grant approval of $135,045 from the Maine Department of Education's Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative. This state-wide initiative focuses on providing access to the outdoors for grades 6-12, and eligibility for schools and local educational providers has increased this year.

The funding was allocated to three different projects: Saco Middle School’s 3-day, 2-night immersive outdoor learning experience at the Ecology School at no cost to families; Alternative Pathways Center’s outdoor leadership academy, bike shop curriculum, and outdoor field trips; and a summer program for New Mainers and disadvantaged youth in grades 7-12 to include access to outdoor activities in Maine.  These grant-funded programs will offer students invaluable experiences blending academics, environmental education, leadership, and life skills in Maine's natural areas.

The wilderness summer outdoor program, designed for middle and high school students, will run as two separate programs. These experiential learning programs will blend academics, environmental education, leadership, and life skills, exposing students to wilderness outings, hikes, kayaking, etc. These experiences aim to emphasize outdoor safety, cultivate an inclusive learning environment, and remove barriers to provide novel outdoor experiences in Maine's natural areas. Students in the grades 10-12 program can also earn an ELA credit through real-world experiences and outdoor exploration. 

Certified outdoor educators will lead the summer wilderness programs, with sign-ups to occur in the coming weeks. Students will have free access to any outdoor gear necessary for the activities listed, and transportation will be provided.

For more information about the Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative, please visit