Today, April 5th, marks the 45th anniversary of the Outdoor Classroom program at Chewonki. In the early days, the program was referred to as “Outdoor Challenge” or “Environmental Awareness Programs, or “Environmental Education” (E.E. for short) but the original curriculum has remained remarkably popular with local and regional school groups. Don Hudson, president emeritus of Chewonki, stopped in to visit this morning and take a peek into the archives along with Senior Vice President Greg Shute. According to Hudson, who was serving as a Maine Reach instructor at the time, Chewonki had previously offered short environmental workshops and programs, but 1974 marked the beginning of regularly scheduled spring and fall programming. “Even then we were offering classic Chewonki experiences, forest study, pond study, estuary,” says Hudson. “I remember our first group was a school from Boothbay, and it snowed the night before they arrived. The staff said ‘Don! What are we going to do?’ Play in the snow, I told them.” The original group included Don Hudson as the Maine Reach faculty member/mentor, and three Maine Reach students who joined up as junior instructors including Lilly Vitelli, John Lamb, and Connie Hollis. Forty-five years later, the Outdoor Classroom is going strong with sustained interest in ecology and outdoor living skills. According to Director of Education Partnerships Keith Crowley, Chewonki will welcome more than 65 school groups and 1,500 participants to the Wiscasset campus this year.