Maine Woods Ecology Expedition

A Grant-funded, 3-week backpacking trip for Maine Students!

July 21 – August 12

For Grades 9-12

Maine Woods Ecology Expedition is a three-week backpacking trip designed for students in grades 9-12 with an interest in backcountry recreation, forestry, ecology, or field-science based research careers. 

Over the course of our trip, we will hike and camp along the Maine Appalachian Trail, summit Mount Katahdin, and make several side trips to explore the connections between the land, the plants and animals that populate this region, and the many types of jobs and recreational opportunities available in the backcountry environment of Maine. 

Let's explore the forests of Maine!

Dates and Details:

Program Dates: 
July 21 – August 12
Length: 3 Weeks
Eligible Grades: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Group Size: 10 students and 2 instructors
Location: Wiscasset Maine
Cost: Free! (100% grant-funded program)

Our Itinerary:

Starting from our home base on Chewonki Neck in Wiscasset, our group will spend the first few days in “hiking school,” learning expeditionary skills, including map and compass, leadership roles, basic first aid, cooking, group travel, and weather reading.  Along the way, students will take on leadership roles, planning and directing the activities of the group.

Once we hit the trail-head in Monson, Maine, we camp in tents each night at a different campsite along our route, taking note of the local ecology and recording in our field journals the different plant and animal species we have encountered along the way. Our feet will take us where we may not typically venture, and we often enjoy wonderful, more intimate, interactions with forest life, while traveling gently in our surroundings. With luck and good weather, we conclude the trip by summiting Mt Katahdin in Baxter State Park. 

Application Details:

This program is 100% free to participating students, thanks to generous grant funding provided by the State of Maine Department of Education “Forestry Stewardship & Career Pathways RFA ” initiative.

Program Dates: July 21 – August 12
Length: 3 Weeks
Eligible Grades: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Location: We start and end at Chewonki, 485 Chewonki Neck Rd, Wiscasset Maine 04578

Timeline to apply:

  • Application Deadline: July 14, 2023
  • Program Start Date: July 21, 2023
  • Program End Date: August 12, 2023

Requirements and Selection Process:

Each application will be evaluated by a selection committee using a 100-point rubric. The top 20% of applications will go through a second round of review to determine the ten highest-scoring submissions, and the top ten selections will be offered a place in the program. Should candidates withdraw or decline, we will proceed, in order, to the next highest-scoring candidate.

The Scoring System:

  1. (pass/fail) Must be a full-time Maine resident
  2. (pass/fail) Must attend grade 9-12
  3. (pass/fail) Must belong to a household with a combined annual income of:
    1. $65,000 for a family of 4 or fewer
    2. $85,000 for a family of 5
    3. $100K for a family of 6 or more
  4. (1-20 points) Must have limited access* to the woods and other backcountry environments (*limited access may mean economic, geographic, cultural, or other barriers) 
  5. (1-50 points) A statement explaining your interest in backcountry travel, ecology, conservation, forestry, Indigenous land use, trail stewardship or related field

So many things to see and do!

To broaden our understanding of the historic, current, and future state of Maine’s forestry economy and ecology, we will make time to visit at least five leading business/education institutions in the north woods focused on:

  • Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
  • Maine Department of Environmental Protection
  • Maine Forest Service
  • Friends of Baxter
  • Allagash Wilderness Waterway Foundation
  • Maine Forest and Logging Museum

While the specific itinerary for each trip is governed by the weather and trail conditions, examples of partner sites we have visited in the past include meeting with Rangers in Katahdin Woods and Waters, Trail Stewards along the Appalachian Trail, and Property Managers.

Questions? Contact Us!

Please reach out to Leslie Hunter, Associate Director of Admissions

  • Email:
  • Direct Line: (207) 656-1065
  • Camp Office: (207) 656-1170
  • Camp Office Email: 

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