Jan Plan Environmental and Experiential Education Internship

Hi, my name is Eli Hanschka and I’m studying Geology and Environmental Science here at Colby. This January Term, I will be working on the┬áMaine Huts & Trails Environmental and Experiential Education internship, offered through the partnership between Colby College and Maine Huts & Trails (MH&T). This is an environmental and sustainability based internship that aims to aid MH&T in their mission and provide valuable feedback on their experiential and educational offerings.

The internship will consist of a series of visits to each of the four backcountry eco-lodge huts operated by Maine Huts & Trails as well as report findings and analysis to be conducted on campus at Colby. During the first week, my faculty sponsors, Merrie Woodworth of MH&T, and I will determine a focus area that narrows in on a specific aspect of the MH&T organization. Focus areas could be but are not limited to: public outdoor educational experiences, technical operation of the huts as off-the-grid facilities, social management of the huts, and organizational promotion of a sustainability and conservation ethic. Subsequently, I will complete two hut visits each week, for a total of eight hut visits, with the intention of learning about and becoming familiar with the facilities, staff, and educational offerings of MH&T. At each visit I will conduct research on my focus area. Back on campus, I will analyze and organize this research into a final project that I will present to the Colby faculty sponsors and the MH&T staff at the end of the internship. The final project will be a web-accessible presentation or piece of media, such as a PowerPoint, short video, or website page, that MH&T can use to further their mission.

During this internship, I hope to learn about the sustainable practices and technologies used in each of the eco-lodges and expand my knowledge of what goes into creating a livable facility that is completely off the grip and self-sufficient, from energy systems to waste management. Additionally, I hope to gain a deeper understanding about the outdoor educational opportunities offered by MH&T and how they help to foster a robust environmental ethic in the public. Along these lines, I hope to get a sense of how Maine Huts and Trails uses public outdoor recreation to promote a sense of our responsibility for proper environmental stewardship.