Two groups of educators toured the Bethel sawmill this summer to learn more about the process of turning a locally grown and harvested tree into lumber products. The first tour group, Maine TREE Foundation, hosted sixteen educators to participate in the Project Learning Tree workshop and tour in Bethel. During the workshop, they focused on activities for different ages and audiences that support environmental education.
While at the Bethel sawmill, the group engaged in discussion about various career pathways and opportunities that local mills provide the community.
The group was also able to see the technological advances to the lumber mill industry and learn about how 100% of the tree is utilized in the no waste operation.
This annual opportunity to immerse Maine educators in all aspects of our forest community is a vital component of our work to introduce forest-based education in classrooms throughout the state. We engaged 34 educators in total from preschool through high school and non-formal educators who work with all ages. Each tour featured a comprehensive program highlighting forest landowners, foresters, loggers, and primary and secondary forest product producers. We also specifically highlighted forest-based careers, forest certification, and conservation of Maine’s woods. Throughout the year, we will maintain engagement with these educators to assess how they use what they learned on the tour in their classrooms.Logan Johnson, maine tree foundation executive director
The Bethel sawmill also welcomed a group of educators from the Maine Mathematics & Science Alliance (MMSA). This group was from around the state of Maine who were interested in ways to integrate and use computer science and computational thinking into all types of education. Their goal was to visit with Maine businesses that use these skills to help prepare students for the workforce.
Combining the old school mechanical methods of wood handling and sawing with the digital age increases efficiency and product output.