Building the Eco-Economy
Business, Recreation Management, Psychology, Education, and Economics: they're all disciplines that contribute to the skill set required for success in carving out a niche in Maine's changing economy. UMaine-Machias students are creating an environment for success in rural, coastal Maine communities.
Recreation = Business
All along the coast of Maine, local businesses depend on the region's unique environment to attract customers and to provide the backdrop for adventure tourism, eco-tourism, and family recreation.
Maine's more remote coastal communities, such as Machias and Bar Harbor, have a long tradition as recreation and leisure destinations. During the Guilded Age wealthy families from the cities of the Northeast escaped to resorts along the Maine coast, and as the automobile gained popularity, coastal Maine became accessible to greater numbers of visitors.
Access vs Protection
Of course, more people have meant more impact on this unspoiled environment. How do we balance issues such as access vs protection, or development vs sustainable local resource-based industries? How do we keep people from turning unique environments into the very sort of developed communities from which they sought escape?
These are the types of questions we ask at UMaine-Machias, in our Business programs, in Recreation Management courses, Economics and Marketing classes, and even in Teacher Education. Over his 25 year tenure as Professor of Recreation and Tourism Management, Bill Eckart has seen the industry change. Leisure and recreation have evolved into a high-end service industry. "Our program is the most hands-on of any I know. The experience that students get, whether it's leading a kayak expedition, managing a guide service, or organizing athletics competitions, builds a confidence that makes them a very marketable commodity."
From Classroom to the Chamber
Jody Marston '06 today organizes events across all seasons-- sled dog races, Nordic ski races and canoe races in Fort Kent, at Maine's northern border with New Brunswick, Canada. Now working as the executive director of the Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce, she was just months out of the UMaine-Machias classroom when she was hired in 2006.
She received her degree in Recreation Management, with a focus in program planning. But it wasn't just her experience in the classroom that made her a natural candidate for the Fort Kent position. A combination of volunteer and paid work while on campus gained her a compelling portfolio during her college years.
Active in Student Senate, she also was the senior class representative. As a Student Life Programmer, she organized activities such as The Nutcracker Ballet that comes to campus every November, as well as Homecoming every September and assorted special dinners throughout the year. She also helped organize the fall and spring new student orientations.
"One of the greatest rewards during my years at UMaine-Machias was not only the education that I received, but the experience that I received from the people that I had the chance to work with," she says.
Small Is Beautiful
The Teacher Education program at Machias is one of only a handful nationwide that focuses on preparing students to teach in small, rural community schools. Students in the Elementary Education program find themselves in multi-grade classrooms, sometimes even in a one-room schoolhouse. These environments require an interdisciplinary approach to K-6 education, and immerse student teachers in the local community.
Emily Trundy completed the Teacher Certification process while majoring in English. "While my certification will be in grades 7-12, I have fallen in love with middle level education, and my professors at UMM have helped guide me to earning grades 5-8 endorsements on my certificate. My career goal was to become a teacher in Down East Maine; and after a lot of hard work, that dream has come true! This fall I'll begin teaching elementary school in my hometown."
Emily grew up in a small town not far from Machias, and in the spring of 2007 completed her student teaching in that community's elementary school, the Edmunds Consolidated School. The students had combined classes (5-6 and 7-8) with about 13 students in each classroom.
"The teaching experience was amazing. Not only did I get the opportunity to develop and teach my own lesson plans, but I began an after-school Drama Club, participated in weekly teacher meetings, met frequently with the principal, and spent hours after school learning from my cooperating teacher. This experience was the perfect bridge between life as a student and one of a professional educator".
Initially Emily had reservations about having her own classroom, but she credits Professor of Education Gael Romei with moving her beyond those fears. "Dr. Gael Romei in the Education department has been one professor I could go to with anything. She has pushed, supported, encouraged, redirected, and motivated me. Her knowledge of the certification process helped me numerous times. She truly kept me charging on!"