Wednesday, November 15, 2017

FLOW 2017 Reception

Tuesday, November 14th, we held the fourth annual FLOW reception at the Patten Free Library. Over 100 people were in attendance, filling the room with conversation, laughter and stories. We changed the venue from Bath City Hall to the library this year because student artwork was a featured product. We wanted a space where the art could be displayed prominently with good lighting and easy viewing access. The Community Room on the second floor of the Patten Free Library was perfect!

I helped Jackie Johnson, BMS' art teacher, hang the show the day before, grouping paintings to emulate the different times of day: dawn, day, dusk and night. The space was transformed into a professional-level gallery.

In addition to the artwork, students wrote poetry, persuasive essays, personal narratives, and memoirs inspired by their experience on FLOW. Our partnership with KELT was also celebrated. Two students shared pieces of writing describing how building bridges on the local trail system acquainted them with our local green spaces, and encouraged them to get outside more. One student described bringing her family out on the Whiskeag Trail on a sunny afternoon to look at the bridges she had helped build. It was their first time out there, and they were amazed at the beauty right in their backyard. 

As I wrapped up the evening, I had the distinct feeling that FLOW has matured a bit since its inception. What began as an exciting prototype has developed into a rite of passage that is woven into the fabric of our community. And by community I mean schools, families, businesses, organizations, charitable trusts and citizens. FLOW is a team effort in the truest sense of the word. 

We are very fortunate to have The Chewonki Foundation on our team.  Their vision, expertise and generosity make FLOW possible. We are also grateful to partners offering financial assistance: The George Davenport Trust, First Federal Savings and Loan, Bath Savings Institution, and the Sewall Family Foundation. 

This year's 7th graders are already excited about next fall's FLOW trip. Between now and then, we will be busy planning to make sure their experience is the best it can be.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Kennebec House Week #2

Week #2 of FLOW is back after another round of gorgeous Maine weather. We have just completed our fourth year of  the program --next year will mark half a decade!

Things began on the warm side this week, but cooled off considerably by Friday. The cold front was delivered by a stiff wind out of the north, so on the last day all groups had the chance to experience an "alpine start" to take advantage of favorable tides and calm waters. Groups woke up around 4am, broke camp and ate breakfast in the dark, and were well underway plying the mirror of Hockomock Bay with their loaded canoes before dawn.

The artwork and writing from FLOW already seems inspired, even in its infancy. All pieces will undergo multiple rounds of editing and revision before they are ready for publishing in mid November. Stay tuned for an announcement for our culminating event where all this work will be featured.

Congratulations to everyone for another unforgettable year of FLOW!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Baxter House: FLOW Week # 1

It's hard to believe that the first week of FLOW 2017 has come and gone already! From all accounts, it was an amazing experience. Even though the weather wasn't wholly cooperative, the kids came back with smiles on their faces and with an air of pride in their accomplishment of living off the grid for a week. Chaperones were also excited with the way the week went.

The creation of an outdoor painting studio was a new slice of FLOW that we added this year. Ms. Johnson set up shop on True Point and was able to work with each of the five groups to sketch and create water colors.  Students will continue to revise and refine the work that they began here, turning it into a finished piece later this fall. Ms. Johnson and the kids loved this experience!

Kids had ample time for solitude and reflection, one of the Expeditionary Learning Design Principles. The Baxter house is doing a study of Transcendentalism along the lines of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau as part of their fall expedition. What better place could there be to contemplate nature than right in the heart of it?

Friday, September 22, 2017

Trail Work With KELT

For the few Baxter kids who did not attend FLOW this week, we did some important trail work on the Whiskeag Trail. Four bridges were built and two old ones were demolished. You can read about it here. It was a great week!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Hola, José...

Dear Families,

We have all been paying close attention to Hurricane José as the first FLOW trip approaches. Luckily, it looks as though the storm will remain out to sea and will not affect Maine significantly. However, as a precaution we have decided to keep all FLOW groups on the mainland for the week. Groups will still be camping, but at established sites on Chewonki Neck. The kids will likely have the opportunity to go on day-paddles, conditions permitting. It's a bit disappointing not to be able to sleep out on the islands, but the absolute safety of your kids takes precedence. They'll still have a chance to get out on the open water and see some beautiful places.

 I will update this blog if anything changes. Here's to a great first week!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Gear Reminder

Dear families,

As we get closer to FLOW 2017, I wanted to reiterate some of the specific gear needs for your students. First of all, be sure to take a look at the gear list. If an item is on the list, your student should have it. Likewise, if an item is not on the list, they do not need it and should not bring it.

Shoes are something you may be wondering about. Each student should have two pairs of closed-toe shoes: "dry" shoes for around camp, and "wet" shoes for canoeing. Often times, loading a canoe means wading out into the water. For most situations, an old pair of sneakers or running shoes are perfect for this purpose. If the water is below knee level, bog boots can work, but they may get swamped. For around camp, a different pair of sneakers, or light hiking boots, or even bog boots are fine. Students may do a short hike here and there, but hiking boots are not needed for these excursions.

One of the many wonderful benefits of partnering with Chewonki is their deep inventory of high-quality equipment available for students to borrow. Two essential pieces of gear that Chewonki provides for FLOW (meaning you should not buy them) are a camping ground pad, and a a dry-bag.

The camping mats are Thermarest© Z-Rest  or Ridge-Rest pads. They are closed cell foam and the most comfortable option for non-inflatable pads.

The dry-bags provided are made by Seal-Line© and are completely waterproof. They are a critical piece of gear for water based travel and camping. Students need to get their gear to Chewonki in whatever vessel that works -- duffel bag, suitcase, garbage bag -- it doesn't matter. The bag that comes from home will be stored until the end of the trip when kids will transfer their belongings from the dry-bag back into the bag from home. Backpacking backpacks are not needed for this trip, so please don't buy or bring one! 

Hopefully this information helps. We are all very excited for this year's trips! Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or concerns.

Best wishes,

Lawrence Kovacs

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

FLOW 2017 News Blast


Dear families of eighth graders,
   Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year! In a few short weeks, your student will be heading off to the islands of Hockomock Bay for their four-day, wilderness canoe trip: FLOW. Please take a look at the important information listed below:

  • The $50 tuition, health form, and permission slip need to be brought into school no later than Thursday, September 7th.
  • An informational meeting will be held Wednesday, September 13th in the BMS cafeteria from 6:30-7:30. The Program Director from Chewonki will be available for private meetings from 3:00-6:00 if you have specific concerns you would like to discuss. You can sign up for a slot with him at or on the FLOW blog.(

If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to get in touch. I can be reached at

Best wishes,

Lawrence Kovacs

FLOW Coordinator

Thursday, August 24, 2017

FLOW Information Session, 9/13

Dear Families,

An informational session for FLOW will be held at the BMS Cafeteria on Wednesday, September 13th from 6:30 to 7:30. We will have a short slideshow, descriptions of the trip, and be available to answer any questions you may have. Additionally, if you would like to speak privately with the Program Director of the Outdoor Classroom at Chewonki, Keith Crowley, he will be available from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, and you can reserve a spot here. We look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Paying for FLOW

We have worked hard to make FLOW accessible to every 8th grade student in RSU 1. The cost for the trip is $50. This is a 90% reduction from the normal tuition. We also have sleeping bags and some clothing to loan out.

If the $50 presents a challenge for your family, please don't hesitate to get in touch with Lawrence Kovacs at There are scholarships available, and financial hardships will not be an impediment to your child participating.

We hope you are as excited about this year's trips as we are!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

FLOW 2017 Dates Set

Dear 7th graders, families and teachers,

Believe it or not it's already time to start thinking about next year's FLOW trips! The dates for the four-day long trips have been set:

  • Baxter House BMS 9/19-9/22
  • Kennebec House BMS 9/26-9/29
  • WCS 10/2-10/5

*BMS trips will run from Tuesday to Friday, WCS will run from Monday to Thursday (to accommodate the Professional Development day on 10/6).

We are planning for up to five groups for each of the BMS weeks, and up to four groups for WCS. In addition to two Chewonki Trip Leaders, each group will also have an adult chaperone from school accompanying them. 

The cost of the trip this year remains *$50. 

The packing list remains the same and the permission slips will be updated and posted on this site as well.

We are all looking forward to another great year of trips out on the water!

*If paying this fee presents a burden, please get in touch with your student's home room teacher. We will make accommodations so all kids have this opportunity. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Bath Middle School named MEEA School of the Year!

Below is the letter we received from the Maine Environmental Education Association last month. We are proud to be recognized for our hard work getting kids outdoors to do authentic, place-based, meaningful learning.

Dear Principal Ward,

On behalf of the Maine Environmental Education Association it is my true pleasure to let you know that Bath Middle School has been named as MEEA's 2016 School of the Year! Congratulations to you and the staff of Bath Middle School for your commitment to engaging your students in the environment as you create authentic learning opportunities for them. Your partnership with organizations such as Chewonki, Kennebec Estuary Land Trust and The Ecology School are but a few examples of why Bath Middle School has been selected for this honor.  Your good work stands as a role model for other schools in Maine to follow!

It is our hope that you and/or representatives from your staff will be able to join us at our MEEA Awards night, Wednesday, January 25th from 7pm – 8:30 pm to receive this award. The Awards Night is being held at Gilsland Farm Audubon Center (20 Gilsland Farm Road in Falmouth). At the ceremony we will be saying a few words about your school, will present you with the award, and then hope you (or your representative) are willing to say a few words (2-3mins) in accepting it. 

In addition to the Awards Night to honor all of our award recipients, this award includes a complimentary full MEEA conference registration (March 24, 2017 at Colby College) for a member of your staff and a one year membership to MEEA.  

Please let me know if you and/or members of your staff are able to attend the Awards Night and if you have any questions. Also, if there is a picture that we might be able to use in our announcement of the award that you could send me that would be wonderful.

Congratulations Principal Ward and Bath Middle School on such a well-deserved honor!
Warmly on behalf of the MEEA Board,

MEEA Board Member and Award Committee Chairperson

About Maine Environmental Education Association:
Mission: In order to help create a more sustainable future for all Maine communities, the Maine Environmental Education Association uses the power of education to advance environmental literacy and civic engagement.

Created in 1982, MEEA helps organizations, schools, groups, educational programs, and individuals promote and expand environmental education in Maine. In addition, MEEA acts as an advocate and clearing house, keeping groups and individuals informed of issues and events in the field of environmental education both in our state and at a regional and national level. We also work hard to raise funds to support the implementation of Maine' s Environmental Literacy Plan. We believe conserving Maine's rich cultural and natural heritage requires an environmentally aware citizenship.  MEEA is an affiliate of the New England Environmental Education Alliance and the North American Association of Environmental Education.
Alexandra Grindle
Director of Programs
The Ecology School
8 Morris Ave. Building 1
Saco, ME 04072