Ironwood Maine Web Update

As I visited campus this week I noticed a considerable difference from what I experienced just a few months ago. We’ve been able to add to our incredibly talented and passionate staffing team. We’ve welcomed the pursuit of growth with several new students. We’ve managed good byes and celebrated success in Graduations. We’ve added a new horse to the heard and closed the sugar shack for the season. Most excitingly, students have just put away their flannel lined pants for the season!

In addition to each of these events, there was something else that was different. I didn’t notice anything significant at first. A tractor passing by in the morning or students playing volleyball in the afternoon. Riding lessons in the outside arena and Construction work on the garden area. Groups raking away snow plow piles and a new student’s bombardment of questions and excitement. Groups walking around campus smiling and laughing or a thunderous clapping session for our latest graduate. There is so much going on, it is noisy out there!


This realization of noise made me aware of how much of a positive impact it has for our students to be outside, engaged, and active. Whether it be the morning exercise, walking to school, campus beautification, collecting materials for fire, or enjoying a meal outdoors, our students spend much of their day collecting Vitamin D. One highlight of the week was the students first hike of the season. Frye students took an afternoon to climb the mountain that is the namesake of their campus. They reveled in an opportunity to splash their face in a cool spring and enjoyed the expansive views. The farmhouse students went off campus and spent a day hiking Hogback Mountain where the trail meanders through a beech forest, past a 30 foot cliff with tiny waterfalls, and a summit view of the Georges River.
Through my observations over the past few months, it is obvious the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors has made a positive impact on our community. But I wouldn’t expect you to just take my word for it;

1.Being outside helps with mental health.
A research at Stanford University found that people who walk for 90 minutes per day “showed decrease activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression”

2. Activity and time outdoor correlates to better academic performance
A study on Finnish students found that physical activity directly correlated to better reading fluency, reading comprehension, and arithmetic skills.

3. Nature helps reduce stress levels
David Strayer, a psychologist at the University of Utah, has studied natures calming effect on human stress levels. He has been quoted noting that “Our brains aren’t tireless three-pound machines; they’re easily fatigued. When we slow down, stop the busywork, and take in natural surroundings, not only do we feel restored, but our mental performance improves too.” You can find correlating information in several studies, such as this one labeled, Forest Therapy.

Here’s to packing up our winter cloths, breaking out the sunscreen, longer days, spring time breezes and all the noise that comes with it.