September 6 and 7 were gorgeous days in midcoast Maine, and Lincoln Academy Boarding students spent them in one of this country’s most spectacular locations: Monhegan Island. These students, who hail from 13 countries as well as the US, were not just taking a scenic tour. They were helping out.
“Our crew helped widen and clean up island walking trails, battle an invasive climbing vine, weed, harvest and develop the island garden,” reported Jake Abbott, a Lincoln Academy faculty member and dorm parent, “the day had its challenges (including rough seas and sea sickness on the voyage out), but we overcame and had a fantastic and rewarding day!”
Two teams of students and faculty visited the island, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. In total about 63 students and 10 staff members served on the two work crews. They rode the Hardy Boat out of New Harbor, and saw seals and shore birds from the boat.
One crew worked with the head of the Monhegan Trails Department to remove invasive species from the island. LA Science teacher Matt Buchwalder described the work this way: “Our crew donned leather gloves and large lopers as we cut down tangled masses of Oriental bittersweet vines and Japanese barberry that has smothered much of the woods on Monhegan. After lunch on the breathtaking bluffs of Burnt Head we pulled Himalayan balsam from the fields around the library. All of these species have been getting progressively more problematic in the past few years on the island.”
New LA English teacher Brenda Sawyer said, “the best part of the trip for me, besides getting to know the boarding students a little bit better, was seeing their enthusiasm and curiosity around the gardening we did. For some, it was a way to connect with their lives at home because they were used to gardening with parents and grandparents. For others, digging in the dirt was a completely new experience, but they were more than willing to give it a go.”
Community service is one of the pillars of the LA Residential Program. Students are expected to serve this community that they have chosen to call home during their high school years. Past service projects have included helping build the Great Salt Bay Playground in August of 2013, as well as helping out at Pumpkinfest and Lincoln Academy Homecoming.
“It was a great weekend,” said Ken Stevenson, Director of Residential Life at LA. “We hope to make service on Monhegan a Lincoln Academy Tradition.”