June 7, 2018 was the 9th year of traditional Drinkwater Earth Day, a day outdoors for the entire school, staged by volunteers from the Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition. The students of Edna Drinkwater School and their teachers were regaled through 8 different learning stations ranging from Tide Pools to Beach Museums, Microplastics in the Stream, Nature Hike and Event Map, Birding with Binoculars, Skulls and Bones, Salmon Life Cycle Games, and Bird Watercolor Painting. Rotation groups were staffed by BBWC volunteers with the help of two teachers and eighth grade students also teaching the youngers.
Students rotated in groups of a dozen, each group multi-age from all grades, with older students helping younger ones learn. The idea of loving and becoming good stewards of the Earth was one of the guiding principles. Loving each other was also apparent throughout the day.
Students examined crabs, clam worms, periwinkles, seaweed, rocks, and clams great and small in the intertidal zone. They looked at soil-making creatures in rotting logs, including sowbugs, grubs, and numerous red-backed salamanders. They made friends with Jack-in-the-pulpit, Speedwell, Red Oak, Red Maple, Beech and other “people” they met. Sketches of their discoveries filled the Event Maps in each group.
Students actively ran through obstacles, such as hazards salmon and other migratory fish encounter, like predatory fish and birds, pollution, and dams. They looked at birds with binoculars and painted pictures of them. The day culminated with group singing about trees and nature. While muddy hands clapped and feet tapped, smudged faces were smiling all around.
Drinkwater School is the only school located at the seaside, with a long shoreline, extensive mud flat, tidal pools, a small salt marsh, a mature conifer and hardwood forest, a cattail bog, and a brook of falls and pools. It is ideally located for outdoor learning, and the Northport community and school board support this authentic way to learn.