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L.L. Bean Donates $22k for Outdoor Education

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L.L. Bean Donates $22k for Outdoor Education
Posted on 01/24/2022
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L.L.  Bean has donated $22,000 to the Foundation for Portland Public Schools to continue the partnership between Rippleffect and Portland’s three middle schools. This funding allows students to participate in activities including kayaking, hiking, rock climbing, and outdoor team-building activities with their peers, teachers, and Rippleffect staff.

With L.L. Bean’s support, the Portland Public Schools (PPS) has provided outdoor education experiences for all middle school students since 2019. Even before the pandemic, the benefits of this programming were enormous. Now, with transmission of Covid-19  lower outdoors, it is an even more critical aspect of PPS programming.

Foundation for Portland Public Schools Executive Director Andrea Weisman Summers shared, “Democratizing access to nature across socioeconomic, racial, and cultural lines is one of the ways we are supporting the equity focus of the Portland Promise. Exposing students who live in an urban environment to positive interactions with nature helps build a lifelong respect for open spaces, conservation, and natural resources. There’s also research that shows that spending time in nature leads to increased academic achievement, student engagement, and better physical and social-emotional health. We are so grateful to L.L. Bean for their support of this important work.”

Students at King, Lincoln, and Lyman Moore Middle Schools participate in a range of activities with Rippleffect and PPS staff. The experiences are designed not only to expose students to nature and outdoor activities, but also to build community and strengthen the foundation of peer-to-peer and peer- to-adult relationships back at school.

Robyn Bailey, Interim Principal at Lincoln Middle School, said, "The Rippleffect collaboration has been instrumental in helping develop leadership through team building.  This relationship has helped Lincoln students find success through outdoor education, shared values, and an opportunity to explore learning outside the classroom walls."

The Foundation for Portland Public Schools is a nonprofit organization that strives to be a catalyst for increased educational opportunities, achievement, and equity for all Portland Public Schools students and staff. The Foundation’s work is closely aligned with the Portland Promise, the comprehensive plan of the Portland Public Schools. Accordingly, the goals for support, enrichment, and fundraising are student achievement, equity, attending to the needs and development of students as whole people, and developing a robust, diverse, and supported staff at every school in the city.

The Portland Public Schools is Maine’s largest school district, with approximately 6,500 students, and is also the most diverse. About one-third of the district’s students come from homes where languages other than English are spoken—a total of more than 60 languages. 51 percent of the district’s students are white and 49 percent are students of color. Approximately half of PPS students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals.

Rippleffect is a non-profit youth and community development organization operating outdoor adventure programming out of Portland, Maine. Rippleffect’s mission is to promote youth development and leadership through adventure, healthy communities and living sustainably. Rippleffect strives to connect students to the world around them, and to see the natural world underlying even the most urban of environments.

Photo: Lincoln Middle School students participate in outdoor adventure, team--building activities with Rippleffect in fall 2021.