In 2015, Chewonki, a camp and school in Wiscasset, Maine, celebrates 100 years of providing innovative outdoor teaching to young people. “Chewonki fills a need in the world today more than ever,” said Chewonki President Willard Morgan. “We educate young people to become leaders skilled at working together toward the greater good, responding thoughtfully to today’s environmental, social, economic, and technological changes. We meet the demands of 21st century learning with fully integrated nature-based teaching that builds character, minds, skills, and community.” Founded originally as a camp for boys in 1915 by Clarence Allen, a forward-looking science teacher and headmaster from the Boston area, Chewonki settled in Wiscasset, Maine in 1918. Mr. Allen believed that urbanization was having negative impacts on his students’ lives and envisioned a rigorous, healthy, nature-based learning experience each summer as an antidote. One hundred years later, girls and young women as well as boys and young men from around the world come to Chewonki year-round. They learn about themselves and the natural world. They unplug from technology as a primary relational tool and learn what makes a strong community by living, working, and learning together about the natural world and their role in it. Today, just as they have throughout the past ten decades, Chewonki participants take home habits of mind and connections with nature that shape their lives. Many alumni cite a Chewonki program as the single most important and transformative educational experience in their lives. A non-profit organization since 1962, Chewonki reaches over 20,000 young people each year through summer, semester, and school programs. In the 1970s, Chewonki diversified its legacy boys camp into year-round education, initially by welcoming school groups from all over New England and beyond for intensive outdoor classroom learning programs. Since 1985, Chewonki has also delivered provocative natural history lessons to participants across Maine visiting communities from York to Presque Isle. Since 1988, Chewonki has become nationally known as a fully accredited, academic semester school for high-achieving high school juniors, now with over 1,900 alumni around the world. And most recently, in addition to the boys’ camp and co-educational summer trips throughout Maine and eastern Canada, Chewonki now leads unique wilderness-based summer programs exclusively for girls. Since the 1980s, Chewonki has incorporated the study and practice of sustainable farming, energy use and production, forestry, and water and waste management to its core natural science curriculum for all of its programs. In 2014, Chewonki earned Maine Farmland Trust’s “Forever Farms” designation, given to farms with land permanently protected for agriculture. Chewonki forests provide fuel for the woodstoves that heat the semester school students’ cabins and allow students to learn about the forest ecosystem, sustainable harvesting, and the labor behind the heat they enjoy. Students fell, split, and stack wood each semester for the next semester’s class. During each harvest, they set aside some portion of firewood for delivery to needy local citizens. Chewonki welcomes the public to enjoy the great outdoors at many of its properties in Maine. In Wiscasset, the Eaton Farm and Cushman Mountain lands are open for non-motorized public recreation. Hikers, fishermen, paddlers, and campers can rent campsites and cabins at Chewonki’s Big Eddy Campground on the West Branch of the Penobscot River and at Debsconeag Lake Wilderness Camps in Maine’s North Woods. And many coastal travelers enjoy Maine Island Trail Association campsites on Chewonki Islands from Hockomock Bay to Eggemoggin Reach. Over the years, Chewonki has inspired students and young adults to lives of leadership and service. Today, Chewonki alumni live and work around the globe where they teach, lead, organize, create, and inspire environmental and community stewardship from the local and the global scale. Notable naturalists and scientists have drawn inspiration from Chewonki. In 1930, Roger Tory Peterson, ornithologist, artist, author, and originator of Peterson’s Field Guides, came to camp as a young man to lead the nascent nature program. In 1934, he published his first book, A Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America, with the help and support of Chewonki’s founder, Clarence Allen, to whom he dedicated the book. For many decades after Peterson’s tenure at Chewonki, there was a robust exchange between Chewonki and Audubon Society naturalists on nearby Hog Island. In 2014, Chewonki staff alumnus and current advisor KC Golden, senior policy advisor at Climate Solutions, based in Seattle, Washington, was appointed to chair the board of 350.org, the international climate organization. Reflecting on how Chewonki has impacted his life’s work, KC explained, “Responsibility was the word I needed to hear and own at 22, when I arrived on Chewonki Neck. But responsibility has an essential counterpart: efficacy. Only with a healthy sense of our human ability to drive effective action can we turn responsibility into a personal imperative, a vital working principle for productive engagement in the world. For me and so many others, Chewonki was the place where body, mind, spirit, and community got on the same page and shouted ‘We can do this!’ ” Other Chewonki alumni include Anna Brown from Freeport, Maine, who works as a Senior Associate Director in the Rockefeller Foundation’s Asia office where she helps small and mid-sized cities in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam plan for and build resilience to the impacts of climate change. Charkie Quarcoo translates her Chewonki experience into work at Year Up, providing Fortune 500 companies with a pipeline of skilled, motivated and diverse entry-level talent through 6-month internships. Meanwhile, Charlie Hale applies Chewonki learning and principles to his work as Head of Public Policy and Community Affairs at Pinterest. Mike Tetreault, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy in Maine, remarked that while Chewonki has a distinguished past, “its work is even more important today. A growing population, a changing climate, intensifying needs for food, water, and energy–these trends will affect everyone. Now more than ever, we need a generation of children growing up who understand that nature is an essential part of our lives and that by their caring for it they will help provide for future generations to come. That is where Chewonki comes in.” “What was instinct 100 years ago is supported by research today,” explained Morgan on the continuity and evolution of Chewonki. “Research shows that outdoor activity in small communities spurs healthy development, and that formative experiences in the natural world promote lifelong environmental stewardship. Today we teach, learn and explore year-round at Chewonki to bring people to nature and nature to people — particularly young people. In each of our programs we foster transformative growth through experiences that emphasize science, outdoor skills, and sustainable communities.” To commemorate the launch of its centennial year, Chewonki has published Chewonki: 100 Years of Learning Outdoors, a 256-page, full-color book of photographs and first-person essays from across the decades. This inspiring portrait of the place, people, and programs that are the heart of Chewonki includes thoughtful reflections by alumni and past and present leaders: campers listening to the bells signaling the end of World War I; campers traveling to Wiscasset by train during World War II; adventures on wilderness trips throughout the wilds of Maine; milestones in the evolution of environmental sustainability; and many personal stories of struggles and triumphs that reflect universal lessons of learning, growing up, and choosing the values by which to live. The Centennial book is available online at www.chewonki.org/centennial and at select local bookstores and retailers this spring. Throughout its centennial year, Chewonki will celebrate with special events for alumni and the public, culminating in a Centennial Weekend on August 14-16, 2015. For more information, go to www.chewonki.org/centennial.