The hard-working SIC Outreach Team on Aug. 30: Front row, from left, John Starrett, Tim Richards; Middle row, Kevin Doran, Jack Witham, Scott Pease, Pat Sirois; Back row, Kevin McCarthy and Gordon Gamble.

It was like a barn raising – only without the barn. Over three days this summer, volunteers from across Maine’s forest community helped create an outdoor classroom pavilion for the Maine TREE Foundation at the Holt Research Forest in Arrowsic.

“Maine TREE is excited about the opportunity to bring teachers, students and the community into closer contact with the research, data and hands-on experience at our own Holt Forest,” said Sherry Huber, executive director. “We are especially grateful to University of Maine resident scientist Jack Witham, Maine SFI Director Patrick Sirois and all the volunteers who pitched in and to those who donated materials to make our Outdoor Classroom a reality over this past summer.”

The SIC Outreach Committee thought building the outdoor classroom “was a worthwhile project to do and we wanted to be part of it,” Sirois said. “We’ve done similar projects with Habitat for Humanity in the past and we have sort of a trained crew who shows up when we take on one of these projects.”

Sirois also had a special interest in the project because he worked on the research forest at the beginning.

“We cut this wood lot for the research project,” Sirois said. “We harvested 50 acres out of the 100 acre research area. There were 2 ½ acre lots organized like a checkerboard and they randomly selected the blocks that they wanted to harvest versus the ones that were the controls. So for me it was fun to come back.” Read more.