Edith Berger’s sixth-graders at Miller School in Waldoboro on April 5 headed outside their classroom on a walk down to the Medomak River to explore and observe at their quest site. A few teachers, parents and Miller School’s own natural historian/custodian, Foster Sullivan, joined them to help answer questions and facilitate educational activities along the way and at the river trail.

Students noticed different types of trees, historical relics of dams, signs of old home sites, and beaver activity. They took observational notes, did some field sketches, and wrote down their questions for follow-up research. Next week, the students will return to their quest site twice: once to learn from community experts and later in the week to begin to craft the movement clues.

A quest is an active and engaging way of connecting people to a particular place, such as a downtown area, a preserve, an estuary or a trail. Commonly written in rhyming verse, a quest tells a story using movement clues and informational clues. People who go on a quest (by foot, bike or boat) move from clue to clue across a landscape or seascape unraveling the story and discovering new meaning about a place. Quests always end with the finding of a treasure box containing a quest stamp, sign-in book and additional interpretative materials. The development of a quest is a way for school and civic groups to nurture connections with special places in their community.

The questing program is a place-based education program of the Quebec-Labrador Foundation’s Marine Program.