Migrant Education Program’s Blueberry Harvest School wins state environmental award

The Blueberry Harvest School has been named the winner of the Maine Environmental Education Association Excellence in Environmental Education Program Award.

Maine DOE Migrant Education Director David Fisk (center) stands with Awards Committee Chair for MEEA Olivia Griset and Executive Director of Mano en Mano Ian Yaffe.

The Blueberry Harvest School (BHS) is a three week hands-on and interdisciplinary educational program funded by the Maine DOE Migrant Education Program and run by Mano en Mano/Hand in Hand, a nonprofit organization based in Milbridge.

The BHS provides educational programming for children of migrant workers in Washington County during Maine’s wild blueberry harvest using a project-based learning model that relies extensively on environmental education themes and blends math, reading, science and social studies together in a way that engages and empowers students. The culturally-responsive themes and techniques utilized by the BHS help students foster a love of learning and the program’s experiential format develops students’ appreciation of the natural environment while preventing summer learning loss. Recent school themes include coastal ecology, sustainable fisheries and sustainable food systems.

Students who attend the school are from Maine towns, southern states such as Florida, Mississippi and Texas, as well as the Passmaquoddy and Mi’kmaq Nations in Maine and Canada.

Mano en Mano Executive Director Ian Yaffe and Maine DOE Director of the Maine Migrant Education Program David Fisk were both present to accept the environmental education association award last month.