Journal class

Musical program, wood harvest at RSU 73

JAY – The board on Thursday, June 9 gave permission to obtain timber harvest offers and was informed of a special program presented to the district in October by the Portland Symphony Orchestra.

Incoming freshman Brenden Veillieux requested permission to obtain bids for a timber harvest on nine acres in Jay belonging to Regional School Unit 73.

A timber harvest took place in 2011 when the land was still owned by the town of Jay, he said.

“When the schools came together, they became the property of RSU 73,” Veillieux noted. “There will be a timber harvest in the winter of 2022-2023 which will also be led by the Town of Jay.

“Although nine acres might seem like a small amount of land for timber harvesting, we think it would be suggested to do so when Jay’s town is harvesting timber.”

In the fall of 2021, Rob Taylor’s Maine Natural Resources class conducted a timber inventory on the acreage, Veillieux noted. “Although we have a low number of trees, we have a high basal area, which means we have a lot of tall trees, which creates a large canopy that prevents new trees from growing,” he said. declared.

“By selectively harvesting, it would allow new trees to grow,” Veillieux said. “They are better for the environment than older trees because they absorb more carbon and produce more oxygen, which creates a positive environmental factor.”

At about $1,000 in profit for each acre, the harvest would bring in about $9,000, Veillieux noted.

“We would like to propose that the money go towards different STEM projects in the community and a possible recreation area,” he said. “We are proposing that the land be harvested in the winter of 2022-23 by Steve Gettle who does timber harvesting for the town of Jay and we are proposing to create an outdoor learning space at the primary school .”

Clearcutting a small area during harvest would create the outdoor learning space that would be available for SMES students, Veillieux noted. The school’s social worker, Jennifer Stone, is working with a grant fund that would support the creation of the space which would include a raised platform, he added.

“What we are looking for as a board is a motion to give them permission to continue,” Chairman Robert Staples said. “They should still come to us to approve the offer. This gets the ball rolling.

Are there any plans to plant new trees, asked manager Andrew Sylvester.

“We don’t plan to plant new trees, we just plan to allow new trees to grow,” Veillieux said. “By allowing the canopy to open, it will allow new species to develop. Normally, timber harvests take place every 10 to 15 years.

New trees will grow, trees left from the previous cut can be removed, a sustainable timber harvest is created, Veillieux added.

Director Joel Pike asked if the district has the rights, the ability to make this harvest given previous experiences with tennis courts.

Superintendent Scott Albert said there were no issues to his knowledge.

“This proposal was so well-written and so well-researched,” said director Elaine Fitzgerald. “We know what this meant to the community last time in 2011 and that these proposed funds will be reinvested into the STEM program and groups like the Envirothon, it’s just wonderful.”

Veillieux seemed to know what he was talking about, which was appreciated by director Patrick Milligan. He asked if Gettle had studied RSU Part 73, if he had corroborated the investigation.

“Mr. Taylor, who taught the Maine natural resources class that conducted the survey, worked closely with Mr. Gettle and he will be the one who will be doing the timber harvesting,” Veillieux said. The school board and Mr. Taylor would also work closely with him during [the timber harvest].”

In the other case, Spruce Mountain adult and community education director Robyn Raymond said she met with John Elliott, director of education and community engagement for the PSO through through the Civil Leadership Institute program she attended this year.

“We visited Merrill Auditorium and the PSO and decided to enter into this partnership and hopefully bring community programming to this area,” she said while introducing Elliott to the board. .

The Portland Symphony Orchestra will have “Violins of Hope,” a very special collection of instruments that survived the Holocaust, Elliott said. “Eventually, over a long period of time, they went to a luthier – which is a very expensive word for someone who is a violin repairer – who lives in Israel,” Elliott said. “He collected these instruments in this collection, occasionally this collection will go on tour.

“PSO worked to bring these instruments to Portland in October. We will use them on stage for a performance that we will do of the Verdi Requiem, a piece of music itself that has a long history with the Holocaust. In addition to using them in our home in Portland, we try to bring them into the community, so we are creating a special education program for middle schoolers alongside the Center for the Holocaust and Human Rights in Augusta .

Elliott said he will work with Raymond and other community members to bring the program to students, ideally in sixth, seventh and eighth grades in the district. There may also be a larger community event and the program is entirely self-funded at no cost to the district, he noted.

“We are very excited to take this opportunity to serve this community,” Elliott said. “If you look at the map of all the places we’re going, this is one of the areas where we haven’t had the kind of commitment we were hoping for, so we’re excited about this opportunity.”

Sylvester noted Farmington’s strong ropes program and asked if they could participate.

“We have a very small window when we have these instruments on hand, but we want to reach every child we can,” Elliott said. “It really depends on how strong the collaboration is, movable objects like calendars and bus timetables. If there is a way to get as many students as possible into one space for one, two or maybe even three performances during the day, we are absolutely ready to do it.

Elliott said PSO education programs have been for five people or up to 2,000, are able to reach as many people as possible.

Bringing something new and different to the table was appreciated by Milligan. “I actually know the history of that part of it,” he said. “I think often times we can underestimate the impact of music on our history…and it’s a pretty incredible story. I encourage everyone to take the time to think about it. »

Elliott noted Raymond’s work to get the collaboration started and on track.

“Even though I would just like to open the doors and start playing for the kids here, that’s generally frowned upon, so we need partners like Robyn who have made it all possible,” he said.