Climate to Thrive to partner with schools

BAR HARBOR — A Climate to Thrive is the first of what is expected to be a number of area organizations to be formally recognized by the Mount Desert Island Regional School System (MDIRSS) as education partners.

A Climate to Thrive is a nonprofit organization with the goals of achieving energy independence for Mount Desert Island by 2030 and making the island “an epicenter of citizen engagement, environmental sustainability and economic vitality.”

The school system board at its Feb. 12 meeting authorized Superintendent Marc Gousse to sign an education partner memorandum of understanding (MOU) with A Climate to Thrive.

“The goal of the partnership is to continue to collaborate toward the mutual goal of increasing community sustainability in the areas of energy, food systems, transportation, waste and other related areas …,” the MOU states.

It notes that the schools and A Climate to Thrive already are collaborating in several ways, including on small grants for teachers’ educational projects, summer internships for high schools students, and resources and consultation related to energy efficiency projects.

In signing the education partner MOU, A Climate to Thrive has agreed to provide “curriculum-related opportunities” for individual students or groups of students, provide professional development opportunities, collaborate with the schools on “mutually agreed upon grant and funding opportunities aligned with MDIRSS educational goals and objectives” and develop collaborative programming with the MDIRSS and its other education partners.

“We’re working on climate change in order to create a better future,” A Climate to Thrive Coordinator Joe Blotnick told the MDIRSS board. “And in order to create a better future, we need youth to be involved. So, we’re looking forward to becoming an education partner; our board is wholeheartedly behind it.”

Julie Meltzer, the school system’s director of curriculum, assessment and instruction, said the schools have long had partnership agreements with Acadia National Park and College of the Atlantic. She said those agreements will be reviewed and updated and then brought to the MDIRSS board for formal approval.

Also to be considered by the board are education partner MOUs that have recently been signed by the Abbe Museum and Healthy Acadia.

Several other organizations and institutions are reviewing proposed MOUs with the school system, Meltzer said. They include The Jackson Laboratory, MDI Biological Laboratory, Camp Beech Cliff and Island Readers & Writers.


Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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