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Alternative Weekend Trips Engaged Student in Communities Across New England

This year the Alternative Breaks program expanded to include Fall Weekend trips to locations across New England. 40 Northeastern volunteers and student leaders engaged in exciting service and learning activities across New England - keep reading to learn more!

Environmental Sustainability & Housing in Portland, Maine: The team volunteered at a wonderful service event provided by Portland's Resilience Hub: The Mt. Joy Orchard Fall Wrap-Up! Team members helped prep the orchard for the winter by placing protective material around tree stumps and cleaning up trash, and Resilience Hub educated the team about sustainable agriculture practices and native plants. The team also completed two beach clean ups during the trip: one at Bug Light Park while working with the Friends of Casco Bay, and another in St. George, Maine while working with the Maine Island Trails Association.

Food Insecurity in Providence, Rhode Island: This team engaged with Farm Fresh RI, a nonprofit local food hub that connects local farmers to buyers, provides food to those in need, and educates community members, through visiting their Winter Market, an indoor farmers market with amazing local vendors, and learning about their programs. In Westerly, RI, the team volunteered with the Jonnycake Center in their thrift store and learned about the social services they provide to the community, including a food pantry, that are funded primarily by their thrift store revenue. The team organized a variety of items across the store. They spent the next day volunteering at Red Planet Farm, a local 2-acre no-till farm that is a source of fresh food for local residents and restaurants. During the trip, they ate good food at local restaurants and had a lot of fun hanging out in the hostel!

Environmental Conservation & Sustainability in Portland, Maine: The team spent a day with St. Joseph’s College of Maine learning about their Freight Farm, a compact hydroponic farm housed entirely in a freight container and discussed both the benefits and the implications of running such a farm on campus. They also had the opportunity to visit Sebago Lake and learn about the conservation efforts surrounding it. They heard from a local chemist and professor, who spoke about initiatives to combat pollution, invasive species, and climate change. The following day, after a hike on Mount Agamenticus, the team traveled to York, ME to work with the Blue Ocean Society to complete a beach cleanup, where they removed 16 pounds of trash from the shore. They also explored the city of Portland, ate great food from local restaurants, and spent time bonding as a team!

Environmental Education & Conservation in Laconia, New Hampshire: This team spent time in Laconia volunteering with Prescott Farm, an environmental education center that runs several programs, one of which involves educators visiting nearby schools to take the classroom outdoors with hands-on learning. The team restored the musical section of a natural playscape (a completely natural playground void of metal or plastic and meant to encourage free-play), helped move soil and plants from the community garden, and dismantled rotting “stick-forts” made by the teen groups over the summer. On Sunday, after hiking Mt. Major, the group completed a beach clean up with Odiorne Point State Park in Rye. One of the team’s major takeaways was to go into service with an open mind and a goal of building respect and appreciation for the community.

Click here to view pictures from our Alt. Weekend trips!