Kieve-Wavus Education empowers people to contribute positively to society by promoting the values of kindness, respect for others, and environmental stewardship through year-round experiential programs, camps for youth and adults, and guidance from inspirational role models.
Research shows that having an experience in nature and building connections with other people during those experiences are the most important precursors to adult environmental action. Whether at the Kieve or Wavus camps on Damariscotta Lake for camp, Leadership School or Veterans Programs or at a remote campsite in the north woods, participants cultivate respect for themselves and one another – and recognize the natural ecosystems around them as an extension of themselves. During Kieve-Wavus programs, students, campers, and adults alike establish intimate connections with one another and with the environment around them.
Over 10,000 people (young and old and from all around the world) participate in Kieve-Wavus programs annually. The small kernels of environmental understanding and responsibility that are planted in Kieve-Wavus programs grow and flourish throughout the state and around the globe.
Hog Island Collaboration
There is incredible natural beauty around Muscongus Bay with the tidal zone, the Maine granite, the vegetation, trail systems, and the wildlife that inhabit the island. For decades Audubon's naturalists have helped young people and adults learn more about natural ecosystems and their intersection with human environments.
In 2010, Kieve-Wavus and Maine Audubon piloted collaboration on Hog Island merging each organization’s best practices in education, wilderness exploration and stewardship. Now firmly embedded in Kieve-Wavus' wilderness tripping program, all campers take a primer trip to Hog Island. This visit introduces 1000 campers a year to the island – inspired upon arrival to not only appreciate the beauty of the island, but to tread lightly on its fragile systems. The island provides the ideal landscape for a trip that helps campers tune their eyes and ears to the natural world and fosters development of a personal environmental ethic that campers will carry into later trips in the Maine wilderness and into their lives beyond camp.
Damariscotta Lake Education and Stewardship
Inland from Hog Island, we are proud to join a number of other local organizations in not only educating about, but caring for and protecting the sensitive aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in and around the lake. From monitoring the lake for hydrilla and sharing results with Midcoast Conservancy (formerly Damariscotta Lake Watershed Association) to volunteering on trail projects for the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, campers, students and staff actively participate in stewardship of the local environment.
As an organization that brings thousands of visitors into the Damariscotta Lake watershed every year, Kieve-Wavus values its responsibility to nurture and protect the ecosystem. In 2012, Kieve-Wavus was fortunate to acquire a large parcel of undeveloped land in the heart of the lake. With nearly 2 miles of undeveloped shoreland, this property is a vital link in the Damariscotta Lake watershed, supporting water quality by providing a buffer for harmful runoff, maintaining habitat for aquatic and terrestrial wildlife and retaining scenic value. With the property now in conservation easements maintained by the Damariscotta Lake Watershed Association, the lake’s human and wild inhabitants can rest assured that the land will remain forever wild.
FARMS Collaboration at Kieve and Wavus Camps
In camp, Kieve-Wavus is collaborating with FARMS (to introduce campers and counselors to the joys and challenges of growing our own food. The physical work of tending the garden allows campers to intimately understand how important it is to eat local, healthy food to sustain our bodies and our communities. Campers and counselors are helping Margaret Coleman tend the gardens at Kieve and Karen Kleinkopf at Wavus summer. All of the veggies grown will be included in meals and the salad bar at each camp. The physical effort that campers put into the garden will magnify the meaning of our daily “ort challenge”, an ongoing challenge to reduce our food waste at each meal. In the fall, Leadership School staff and students will take over the maintenance, with support from local schools and organizations.