AUGUSTA — The Maine Timber Research and Environmental Education Foundation’s (Maine TREE) annual Forests of Maine Teachers’ Tours began Tuesday, July 12 in Maine’s western mountains. In its 25th year, the nationally acclaimed tours, which other states have since emulated, are a four-day professional development program for Maine educators to experience and learn about Maine’s forests. Two tours will take place in 2022, from July 12-15 based in Carrabassett Valley and from July 26-29 based in Bethel. 

Headlining the list of supporters, the lead underwriters for the 2022 Forests of Maine Teachers’ Tours are Farm Credit East, Seven Islands Land Company, Stratton Lumber, Inc., and Hancock Lumber. Farm Credit East is part of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide agricultural network providing credit and affiliated services to those in agriculture and related industries across the United States. Founded in 1964 in Bangor, Maine, Seven Islands Land Company manages the Pingree Family timberlands in northern and western Maine. Stratton Lumber is a state-of-the-art spruce/fir lumber mill in Stratton. Hancock Lumber operates high-efficiency sawmills, lumberyards, component manufacturing facilities, and full-service kitchen design showrooms. 

During this immersive experience, educators from around the state will join Maine TREE staff and volunteers to learn forest-based activities for students of all ages and the methods of growing, harvesting, and processing forest products. Each tour features stops where foresters, loggers, and other professionals share their process and experience working in Maine’s woods. In addition, participants on the Carrabassett Valley-based tour will visit Stratton Lumber Company’s mill, and participants on the Bethel-based tour will visit a Hancock Lumber mill. 

“Maine TREE’s team is incredibly excited about this year’s tour to connect educators with resources that will promote forest-based education in the classroom. This immersive experience allows us to illustrate the importance of the economic, ecological, and social health of Maine’s forest communities, a key component of our mission. We are proud to have the support of Farm Credit East, Seven Islands Land Company, Hancock Lumber, and Stratton Lumber, Inc. as underwriters for this year’s program. We are also grateful to all our sponsors and supporters who help make this annual program possible,” said Logan Johnson, Maine TREE’s executive director. 

Founded in 1989, Maine TREE’s mission is to educate and advocate for the sustainable use of the forest and the ecological, economic, and social health of Maine’s forest community. Maine TREE provides professional development training for educators through Maine Project Learning Tree and Forests of Maine’s Teachers’ Tours to expand forest-based education opportunities in Maine classrooms.