Lincoln Academy EdLab students remove rocks to make way for the new greenhouse, which is located next to the ATEC building/EdLab students standing on the newly finished greenhouse deck. From left: Jacob Morton, Simon Fraser, Makayla Farrell, Abe Blanc, Derryck Lopez

Lincoln Academy’s edLab students have been building a greenhouse to support LA’s new LA Launch Program. This free summer program, funded by the Maine Department of Education’s Maine Outdoor Learning Initiatives (MOLI), will support rising 9th graders as they prepare to enter high school.

Students in edLab, Lincoln’s alternative education program, took the lead on the construction project with the help of edLab Director Jody Matta and their teachers.

As part of the project, edLab teachers and students researched the Town of Newcastle zoning process, and received guidance from Michael Martone, town planner. Students prepared and submitted the application for the building permit. With assistance from the facilities department at Lincoln Academy, EdLab students wrestled with the many rocks at the site and dug the foundation area. Along with the base for the Maine Garden Products greenhouse, they also built a deck to be used as an outdoor education space.

“It was a great opportunity for us to learn about the process involved in constructing a new building,” said edLab student Ariel Cowan. “It is information that we will be able to use in the future.”

“Our students worked hard on the greenhouse project, and I am proud of their work,” said Matta. “We look forward to utilizing the greenhouse as a learning space in the future.”

The LA Launch program is designed to support students as they transition to high school and help them connect with Lincoln Academy while they learn more about their community and the importance of connection in a marine ecosystem. “The greenhouse is a great resource that will allow LA Launch participants to explore and experiment, which will supplement our field trips to meet with community members and learn more about fishing, aquaculture, boatbuilding and outdoor recreation,” said Lincoln Academy’s Director of Applied Learning Maya Crosby.

Crosby worked with Heather D’Ippolito, LA’s Director of Community Engagement and Development, to build the LA Launch program and seek financial support. Lincoln Academy was one of more than 80 organizations that received funding through the Maine DOE MOLI grant. The purpose of this award is to provide access to the outdoors for grades 6-12. The American Rescue Plan Act GEER (Reverted EANS Funding), received from the USDOE, supports the implementation of this project.

LA Launch is free thanks to this funding, which also covers transportation and lunch for participants. Families interested in enrolling their rising ninth graders in LA Launch should reach out to the program director, Andrew Jonash, at jonash@lincolnacademy.org or visit the Summer at Lincoln Academy page, https://lincolnacademy.org/summer-programs

The greenhouse, located near the school’s ATEC building, will be delivered by Maine Garden Products in mid-July, and placed on the prepared base. The project will be completed by the end of July, in time for the start of the LA Launch program in August.