Fifteen Tree Street Youth Center counselors are among those who will camp for two nights in Acadia National Park, thanks a grant secured by the Androscoggin Land Trust to make Lewiston-Auburn and its local parks part of a National Park Service video project highlighting three New England cities.
Fifteen “street leaders”—counselors who have been working all summer at the—along with Julia Sleeper, executive director of Tree Street, and others will take part in the expedition.
With leadership from Bates College summer intern Eve Boyce, ALT has worked with Ardrianna McLane and Julie Isbill of the National Park Service to build an Acadia trip that will include hiking, swimming in the ocean, visiting Cadillac Mountain and learning about Acadia and environmental stewardship on a larger scale, building on their earlier experiences along the Androscoggin River.
The youth and their trip leaders will be loading into vans and plan to depart the Tree Street Center at 3 p.m. on Friday, August 10. They expect to arrive at the Seawall Beach Campground in Acadia National Park about three hours after they depart.
The trip will conclude Sunday around noon, when they will depart from Cadillac Mountain for the return to Lewiston.
In partnership with the Tree Street Youth program based in Lewiston, ALT has organized a series of “Park Expeditions” for young people: visits to local parks, such as Simard-Payne (Railroad) Park and Little Andy Park, Maine’s newest state park, the Androscoggin Riverlands and now Acadia National Park.
The first outing was a “learn to fish” event held in July at Little Andy Park in Auburn, presented in partnership with the Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Dept. The second outing was a visit to explore Maine’s newest state park last week, the Androscoggin Riverlands, which is just 20 minutes north of downtown Lewiston-Auburn.
As part of the program, ALT will also develop a youth-oriented video with videographer Joel Osgood, featuring the Park Expeditions to further promote the values of parks and recreation through social media outlets.
“The Androscoggin Land Trust is excited to be an active partner with the National Park Service and other New England cities in exploring, celebrating and promoting local, state and national parks,” said Jonathan LaBonté, the Androscoggin Land Trust’s executive director. “Through the Park Expeditions and accompanying video, not only will local youth experience the Androscoggin and Maine’s national treasure at Acadia, but our community’s parks, trails and river will be on display to a national audience.”
“Connecting the Tree Street Youth with the outdoors is so important in this urban environment,” said Julia Sleeper, executive director of the Tree Street Youth Center. “The Androscoggin Land Trust has helped us achieve that goal, and our street leaders are so excited about the opportunity to visit Acadia National Park.”
The Androscoggin Land Trust was selected by the National Park Service to coordinate this creative summer program designed to connect Lewiston-Auburn’s young people to the region’s diverse parks. The program includes two other New England cities, Holyoke, Mass. and Providence, R.I., and will result in a video feature that will be promoted nationally showing the connections between parks and communities with a focus on youth.
The Androscoggin Land Trust is a membership-supported organization dedicated to protecting, through land conservation and stewardship, important natural areas, traditional landscapes and outdoor experiences in the Androscoggin River watershed.
ALT conserves approximately 4,850 acres of land, including over 10 miles of riverfront along the Androscoggin River. ALT offers recreational programs in the region, including LA Trails, serving Lewiston-Auburn; Chisholm Trails, serving Jay and Livermore Falls; and the Great Falls Paddling Society, offering seasonal outings on the Androscoggin River.