The Ecology School
ecology school solar

The Ecology School opens $14.1 million campus in Saco, Maine

May 20, 2021
The facilities include a 144-bed, housing unit, a 7,000 square-foot education and dining commons, and a 712-panel solar array.

The Ecology School, a non-profit education center focused on the environment, has opened a $14.1 million campus in Saco, Maine.

The campus includes a 144-bed, 9,000 square-foot dormitory, the 7,000 square-foot Poland Spring Education and Dining Commons, and a 712-panel solar array that generates 105% net positive energy on the 105-acre campus.

The Ecology School says it aims to serve 12,000 to 15,000 participants per year, ages preschool to adult, in a combination of in-person, in-school, and online ecology programs.

Other features of the new campus:

  • It was designed for foot traffic and not cars. Tree-line windrows divide the auto-based world from the naturally trafficked world.
  • Farmyard pathways are accessible to those with disabilities and promote universal access.
  • Rain gardens capture storm-water runoff and strategically drain to nourish farm fields below.
  • Permaculture gardens include native trees, shrubs, bushes, fruits, and vegetables.
  • New pathways and gathering areas connect to existing trail systems, inviting exploration of the surrounding property.EV charging stations are available to those arriving in electric vehicles.
  • To maintain a combustion-free campus, these are supported by a Tesla Powerwall that stores solar energy to provide battery-powered back-up rather than generator back-up.
  • By 2025, 100% of the produce served on the campus served will come from The Ecology School’s farm or from local farms to demonstrate a sustainable food system and support Maine’s economy.
  • Significant outdoor gathering spaces and theater promote community, physical movement, and joy.

 A $500,000 gift from L.L. Bean will enable the school to build a new arrival plaza and a new waterfront area for recreation and environmental education on the Saco River, the Portland Press Herald reports.

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