PHOTOS COURTESY OF BRYAN DIONNE Conners Emerson gym teacher Bryan Dion logs miles on a trail run, with his son Takoda in pursuit. Working out with a family member or two allows teachers to double or triple the miles they record.

Biking, hiking, and paddling to the moon

BAR HARBOR – The school system staff members are on their way to the moon, and hope to get there by Memorial Day.  

Some are travelling by bike, some on foot and some by kayak. The one thing they have in common is they’re all taking the scenic route. 

According to Conners Emerson School’s health and wellness ambassador, Edith Schriever, staff members began logging their athletic miles over April vacation. The hope was to log enough miles collectively to travel the distance between the earth and the moon: 238,900 miles, Schriever said. 

“We’re now past the International Space Station,” said Schriever. Staff members have given themselves until Memorial Day weekend to go the rest of the way. 

The purpose of the moon challenge is to encourage staff to move while working from home. It’s also incentive to “unplug” when not teaching online courses, Schriever said.

Takoda Dionne helps his family log miles toward the moon by climbing a rock wall.

Under normal conditions before schools closed for the coronavirus, Schriever pointed out that teachers would walk back and forth between classrooms, easily averaging 10,000 steps in an average school day. 

Now at home, engaged in online teaching, “it’s definitely a different world,” Schriever said. 

She and other health and wellness ambassadors in the school district wanted to challenge teachers to get out and move, but in a fun way. 

That’s when they came up with an “Apollo Mission to the Moon.” 

Schriever said there are similarities between the mission teachers are on right now, and the aborted mission of Apollo 13 that set off to reach the moon in April, 1970. During that mission, challenges forced the crew to change course and focus on getting back to earth safely. 

“Our situation was a little bit similar; we had to change plan,” when schools closed and resumed again via remote learning, Shriever explained. The focus of teachers and staff became “‘landing’ this school year safely.” 

Health and wellness ambassadors from each school have been working together to make sure teachers and staff remember their health and fitness while meeting these challenges. 

There are ten heallth and wellness ambassadors in the school district, spread out over seven schools and the superintendent’s office. “We usually do programs in our own school,” Schriever told the Islander. This is the first project they’ve worked on all together, involving all the staff in the school district. 

Will they make it to the moon, or will they have to go back to the International Space Station and catch a ride back with Maine Astronaut Jessica Meir? The Islander will follow up on this story. 

Becky Pritchard
Former Islander reporter Becky Pritchard covered the town of Bar Harbor and was a park ranger in Acadia for six seasons.
Becky Pritchard

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