Student work

Former Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell often said about outdoor education, “We all know that the best classrooms have no walls.” This is true both physically and metaphorically; for years COA has demonstrated this with its use of Acadia in our teaching. Many of our classes use Acadia as a class laboratory. COA students learn from working in Acadia and Acadia benefits from the great work the students do. Our relationship with the park reflects the breadth of human ecology and the human experience.  

 Class projects

  Acadia: Exploring the National Park Idea

  Witch Hole Pond. PDF

  History of Deer Management on MDI. PDF

 Biological Studies and Surveys Within and         Around the Area of Acadia National Park 1899-   1947. PDF

 History of Visitor Use and Management of   Anemone Cave, Acadia National Park. PDF

 Local Opinions on the Origin of Acadia National   Park. PDF



Senior projects

Karl Langford Porter, 1982, Coastal Geology: Sand Beach, Acadia National Park. PDF

Theresa Michaels, 1987, A Guide to the History of Acadia National Park’s Hiking Trails. College of the Atlantic. PDF

Sarah Cole, 1993, Terrestrial Mammal Survey of Isle Au Haut, Knox County, Maine. PDF

Tammy McGrath, 1997, A Historical Biological Survey of Egg Rock. PDF

Peter J Diachun, 1998, Distribution of River Otter Study on Mount Desert Island, Maine.   PDF

Brett Ciccoletti, Tanner B. Harris, Bruce Connery, and Nishanta Rajakaruna, 2011, A Preliminary  Study of the Vegetation of Vernal Pools of Acadia National Park, Maine, USA. PDF

Jason Barton, Brett Ciccotelli, Jillian E. Gall, Fred C. Olday, 2014, Lichens of Six Vernal Pools in Acadia National Park, Maine, USA. PDF

Amy Erving, 2019, Strengthening Parks, Strengthening Communities. PDF

Internships and careers

Since COA’s inception, COA students have found ways to volunteer, work, and study in Acadia. and the park service enter their second century, the role of parks and the role COA plays with Acadia is evolving. We have formalized our many informal connections with Acadia and have started an Acadia Scholars internship program that gives COA students invaluable experience and credentials while simultaneously helping to meet some of Acadia’s needs. Experience has shown that you cannot manage a national park through the lens of a single discipline. Parks are not just about biology, landscape design, psychology, or law, they require the understanding and application of multiple disciplines. Thus, they require human ecology. Acadia is part of COA and for our own sake we need to participate in the stewardship that will, as the NPS mission states, keep it “unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

Acadia Scholars program

COA and Acadia National Park have a four-decade history of collaboration that supports students to work and learn in Acadia. In celebration of the Park’s Centennial in 2016 and to further expand on this collaboration, COA and Acadia have regularized an aspect of this ongoing relationship—a student internship program in Acadia known as Acadia Scholars.

The following are the key elements of this program.

  • 1 or 2 COA students participate in a program with Acadia lasting between 20 and 30 weeks in a given year. They would be selected during their second or third year by a joint COA-ANP selection team.
  • The specific arrangement and allocation of a student’s time in a given year will depend on student interest and Park needs. Students would be selected for the program in winter. In the ideal arrangement, during COA’s spring term, they would work with COA and Acadia to create a one-credit independent study to read, meet with park personnel, and otherwise prepare for their summer internship. In summer, the student would be placed for a minimum of 40 hours a week for 11 weeks in an internship at Acadia National Park. The students could continue working with Acadia the following year, through another independent study or some other mechanism that would allow for a regular commitment of time.
  • The students would maintain their status as an Acadia Scholar for their remaining time at COA, and we would choose additional scholars each year. Students would take related classes, and at the end of their time at COA, students would hopefully focus their senior project on some aspect of their work in Acadia.

Acadia Scholar profiles

Emma Majonen, 2016. Interpretive Program Intern and later a Student Trainee (Park Guide)

Fulfilled the daily duties of an Interpretation Ranger, designing and giving ranger led programs, interacting with park visitors to the park, and providing interpretive information—but also had the freedom to pursue experience in as many areas of park service as possible according to my interests

Senior Project: Junior ranger activity booklet: Acadia National Park 

Noah Rosenberg, 2017. Acadia Scholar Communications Intern with Schoodic Institute

Created multimedia content in the form of videos, blogs, short form articles, and photo essays for Schoodic Institute’s field-based environmental research projects and educational programs with the Park Service. Redesigned digital content and webpages and improved site navigation for Schoodic Institute’s website

Senior Project: Multimedia human ecology blog

Gemma Venuti, 2017. Exotic Plant Management Intern

Worked on the Invasive Plants Management Crew, obtained an Integrated Pest Management Commercial Operator’s License, conducted forest health monitoring plots, practiced plant identification skills, and developed an independent research project on invasive species

Senior Project: The paleoecology of Great Duck Island

Sidney Anderson, 2018. Wildlife Intern

Focused on Turtle Population Study, turtle nesting and predation in Acadia

Senior project: Population study of eastern painted turtles (Chrysemys picta picta) on two ponds in Acadia National Park

Teaghan Rose, 2018. Interpretive Program Intern & Orchard Management

Fulfilled the daily duties of an Interpretation Ranger, designing and giving ranger led programs, interacting with park visitors to the park, and providing interpretive information. Also developed a management plan for historic abandoned orchards in Acadia

Senior project: A winter in Southwest Florida’s federal lands: Exploring five federal lands through their natural and cultural resources

Molly Donlan, 2019. Wildlife Intern

Researched behavior and ecology of bats impacted by White Nose Syndrome in Acadia. Worked side-by-side with a small team of ANP researchers to conduct emergence surveys at known bat roosts, trapping and subsequent telemetry and sampling, roost habitat surveys, deployed and maintained passive acoustic equipment, data management, and interacted with the public

Senior Project: Impact of weather patterns on Myotis bat activity in Acadia National Park

Alumni profiles

Molly Donlan ’20: Biological Science Technician, Acadia National Park. Full profile

Adrianna French McLane ’02: National Park Service Interior Regions 6, 7, and 8, Chief of Interpretation and Education. Full profile

Alexa Pezzano ’00: Acadia National Park Director of the Schoodic Education Adventure Program. Full profile

Bik Wheeler ’09: Wildlife Biologist, Acadia National Park. Full profile

Christie Denzel Anastasia ’92: Public Affairs Specialist, Acadia National Park. Full profile

Johnathan Gormley ’78: Acadia National Park Blackwood Campground, Acadia National Park Interpretation, Acadia National Park Volunteer Coordinator. Full profile