Adventures Through Acadia: Woodbury FFA’s Education Heads North


A dozen students explored Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, and the University of New Hampshire during spring break. (contributed)

Emma Cummings, Ag/FFA Reporter

WOODBURY — Spring in the Woodbury FFA program is known for its wide variety of learning experience. Typically, spring break is reserved for family vacations, a chance for students to catch up on school responsibilities, or simply just an opportunity to take a break. This year, the Woodbury FFA’s Maine trip provided another opportunity for students to enhance their vacation experience while still being in an educational environment. 

“We visited the animal facilities at the University of New Hampshire led by a program graduate, Marissa Uva, and got a taste of campus food by eating lunch at the dining hall,” said Jennifer Jedd, Nonnewaug High School veterinary science educator. “We also had a tour of a sugar stand and research lab, including a sap tasting of five different sugar sap bearing trees, by a natural resources professor of the college.”

As the trip went on, the group of over a dozen students and a pair of faculty advisors ventured out to explore different facilities on their own with FFA chaperones. 

“We visited a few lighthouses and beaches as well as the LL Bean main location and the Kittery Trading Post, and downtown Bar Harbor,” said Jedd. “We hiked in Acadia National Park, and also were able to go stargazing at night where there is very little light, so we saw more stars than ever, and a few students even saw shooting stars.”

The trip featured many hands-on educational opportunities for students studying a wide range of agricultural endeavors.  

“We also went to an organic dairy farm, Wolfe’s Neck Farm, to learn about some new research and studies they have going on there,” Jedd added. “We also went to a horse harness racing track to see the horse races.” 

Throughout the trip, teachers and students visited various lighthouses throughout Maine in between trips to educational sights. (contributed)

After visiting various agricultural facilities, the group was able to apply some of the experiences they gained to our agriscience program in the classroom.

“The trip was definitely educational based towards agriculture since we went to several agricultural businesses,” said Samantha Kostka, a sophomore FFA member. “The organic dairy farm was pretty cool. I definitely learned a lot more. Their whole operation was based on reusing all their products, so they’d move their cows from pasture to pasture, then they’d throw chickens in and the chickens would scratch around the manure and everything and it would help grow back the grass.”

“One of the coolest things we learned was when we went to this farm and they did a lot of research projects,” added sophomore Haley Sarandrea. “One of the research projects they had done was on how you can decrease greenhouse gasses from cattle and one of the ways they did this was to feed seaweed to the cows.”

Since it was the first out-of-state trip that the chapter hosted that was open for all FFA members to attend, the trip was a learning experience for all. There were several aspects of the trip that students will be hard pressed to forget, as well as some areas that could be improved for future trips.

“I was expecting more of Acadia to be open, and there were a couple of other places I wanted to visit but we had time constraints. I disliked how long it took the bus to get places, and that everything is so spread out in Maine,” Jedd said. “To combat that in the future, I would like to rent some large passenger vans to get us around. But I think the destinations that we had chosen were informative, interesting, and certainly beautiful. I loved the farm on the ocean, and Acadia was gorgeous. We certainly lucked out and had beautiful weather.”

Following such a memorable trip, the chapter plans to host more trips within upcoming school years. 

“I plan to do a trip yearly over spring break now that COVID restrictions and airport issues are behind us,” said Jedd. “We will be voting on the destination for our next trip shortly, so please keep an eye on the chapter Instagram! The choices will be: California/Oregon (Redwoods), Washington State (Olympic National Park and San Juan Islands), Yellowstone [National Park], Virginia (Shenandoah National Park), Florida (Everglades and Biscayne National Park), or Texas. We will do in-country trips this year and possibly next year, and then I would like to begin alternating an in-country trip with a trip abroad.”