The Essence of Maine Coast Semester
The Capstone Project that concludes each semester gives students the chance to explore a topic of deep personal interest, come to understand it in a holistic way, and present a viable course of action. Each student chooses a personally relevant topic that is place-based— either this place (Maine) or their place (their home region)— and that ties to human ecology, exploring the relationships between humans and the natural world.
Over the course of the semester, students distill primary and secondary research into a presentation to the Chewonki community and a product, not merely a research paper but a creative articulation of their learning to share with the wider community. That end product takes a variety of forms — a letter to the editor, a draft legislative bill, a website, a song, or even a machine such as a hydraulic ram pump.
Through the capstone project, students come to understand the interconnectedness of the world’s ecosystems. They practice the environmental literacy fostered in their other classes. The project helps connect the dots between classroom and campus and fuels students’ ability to become change agents throughout their lives. Students return to their schools better prepared for the research papers they will face in their senior year or during college, more engaged in their own learning, and energized by a sense of agency that comes from knowing that they can make an impact on the world around them.