SEARS ISLAND, Maine (WABI) - There's treasure to be found in Searsport.
Young explorers set out on Sears Island Monday to discover the natural wonders that abound.
"I am the director of something called Dirigo Learning, which is a business that I run where I help people learn about nature."
Robin Huntley teamed up with the non-profit group, Friends of Sears Island to lead kids on a treasure hunt Monday.
"Well, we're not looking for buried treasure," laughs Huntley, "there may be some on Sears Island, but I don't know anything about that. What instead we're looking for are nature treasures."
She shows a bleached white clam shell to the group of kids. "I found one half that was much bigger, and I chose to keep this because I liked that it was still attached," she tells them.
the 601 acres of conserved land that make up Sears Island are prime pickings for all things outdoors.
"What we're doing is part of our Science Squad series," explains Ashley Megquier, Outreach Coordinator for Friends of Sears Island. "It is a program that we started last year for kids 6-12 and their parents. Get them out here learning to be stewards of their local environment."
These pint sized treasure hunters had to follow collection protocol including taking just one so the rest can be enjoyed by others.
"Oh, you found some of the same seed pods that I did," Huntley tells one of the boys as he examines a nearby bush.
It wasn't long before baskets began to fill with bounty.
One young girl shows off her collection. "A raspberry, these yellow flowers," she shows off.
"Finding all of this cool stuff. I didn't realize there was all this cool stuff in nature," says Chole who will turn 10 on Tuesday, July 23rd.
Huntley hopes these nature explorers will also discover what she calls a sense of place.
"In learning to notice what's there and think about why it's there, we deepen our understanding of this place," she explains. "We become more connected to it and in the super long term. We're helping to keep Maine looking the way that it does."
Friends of Sears Island sponsors free programs throughout the year including yoga on the beach in August. For more information, log onto https://friendsofsearsisland.org/
For more information on Dirigo Learning Community-Based Education, log onto https://friendsofsearsisland.org/