Photo Treks 2012

Photo Treks 2012 will focus on The Cultural Landscapes of Maine’s Pulp & Paper Industry. Students and mentors will travel to Unity on the Trekkers’ mobile classroom where they will begin to explore the various impacts—visual, cultural, environmental—of the pulp and paper industry on Maine communities.

The group will learn digital photography skills from a professional artist while exploring the area surrounding pulp and paper plants, and will strengthen their mentoring relationships during outdoor activities, teambuilding games/initiatives and nightly discussions. A culminating gallery opening will be held in a local art gallery sometime after the new year. Students will receive a professional view book that showcases a selection of each participant’s photographs.


Wed Oct 24, 2012 Day 1: CMCA

Team Puma loaded up the bus and departed for Photo Treks right after school…First stop: Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport (SPOILER ALERT: This is where our exhibit will be in February!)

We spent an hour at the museum exploring their Biennial Exhibition and saw so much neat art work built from various compositions—felt, paint, clay, even paper bags! Students also had a chance to experiment with their cameras in small groups before taking off for Unity College.

Once we arrived at Unity (with only one stop by security and plenty of Mr. Mumbles), we ate a Trekker favorite, PIZZA TORTILLAS. We played a few Trekkers games before settling down in the really nice performing arts center to cap off the first day.

p.s. Ben and Sadie could not be beat in the laughing game (except for maybe Alex’s amazing laugh).

Thu Oct 25, 2012  Day 2: Paper, Heritage, and Otis!

The group started off the day with camera instruction and assignments from our fabulous photographer and leader on the trip, Kari Wehrs, of Maine Media Workshops in Rockport. The group then hopped on the bus to tour Maine’s Paper and Heritage Museum in Livermore Falls. Sherry and Normand were so welcoming and gave us a fantastic tour of the museum, which really connected us to the paper industry and people of Maine living in mill communities.  They also gave us several departing gifts, including a documentary on Maine’s paper mill industry history and several books.

Next, we drove down the street to tour Otis Ventures LLC, a former mill in Jay that closed a couple of years ago. Mary and Tim, the owners of the mill, answered all of our many questions, and let us explore the different levels of the building freely…not to mention several of us bought lunch from their new restaurant, Mill St. Cafe! The students took some amazing photos here and experimented with the various low-light settings.


Fri Oct 26, 2012 Day 3: Androscoggin River Alliance and Great Northern Paper

On Friday morning, we moved our stuff from the theater to the upstairs bedroom because the college was using the stage. Everyone was really great at being flexible with the many events in the shared space where we were at (and we got to listen to some free fiddling on the roof ;)).

Starting out bright and early, we headed to Great Northern Paper, a working paper mill in East Millinocket. On our way there, we stopped at Unity College to see a slide show from Neil from the Androscoggin River Alliance. He shared his concern and passion with us about how much waste a local mill has dumped in the Androscoggin River over many decades, and it was quite shocking! He certainly sparked a few environmental activists in the group…

When we arrived at Great Northern Paper, Jim hopped on the bus and our fearless driver, Mere, took us on a guided tour of the outside of the mill. We had a chance to take pictures outside in the log yard before heading in for some small group tours where we really got to see up close and personal how paper is made.

We headed back to Unity Friday night, with a pit stop for a Trekkers-style macaroni and cheese meal outdoors. It started to get chilly, but we stayed warm by building up our hacky sack skills!


Sat Oct 27, 2012 Day 4: Photos and Fright galore!

Saturday was a day spent in Unity College’s state-of-the-art computer lab, where Kari guided us through uploading our photos and using Photoshop to clean up our images. Each student had an opportunity to present a few pictures on the projector and hear positive feedback from the group. It was great seeing everyone reach their goals—you are not going to want to miss this exhibit!

We closed out this extraordinary trip with our mystery activity—Fright at the Fort! In the tradition of Halloween, students chose to push their fear factors by touring this haunted zombie-fied fort. Luckily, the apocalypse did not slow these Trekkers down. We headed back to Unity with yet another DANCE PARTY…thanks to Mere’s Eclectic Café.

Sun Oct 28, 2012 Day 5: Homebound

For our final day, we woke up bright and early to clean up and leave the performing arts center in spectacular condition. We hit a convenient store on the way home, where many chose to purchase warm breakfast sandwiches to heat up the return journey. Many more laughs were had, dance moves created–and many more nicknames given–to close out the morning.

We could not have asked for better fall weather, or a better crew for this Photo Treks 2012 expedition! Thank you to our wonderful leaders: Zach, Kari, Brian, Alaina, and of course, to our best Team Puma Photo Treks 2012 leader, Mere Cat!


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