It takes a village to raise a wind turbine. Or, more specifically, said Jennifer Mirabile, president of Friends of CSD, it takes five villages, a fire department, a best-selling author, and six years of research and hard work by Camden Hills Regional High School students and staff.

Mirabile is president of Friends of CSD, the nonprofit originally formed to raise funds to help build CHRHS. After completion of the high school, the group continued to work to provide funding for facilities improvements such as a new art studio and a state-of-the- art lighting system for the Strom Auditorium, according to a news release. This year, the group partnered with the high school Windplanners to help them reach their $510,000 fundraising goal.

The funds will enable the Windplanners to install a fully functional wind turbine on the CHRHS campus. The turbine will generate enough power to decrease energy costs at the school by a projected $11,000 to $17,000 a year, while serving as a hands-on laboratory for math and science students, the release said.

“A fund-raising partnership is something different for us,” said Jula Sampson, a long-time Friends member. “But our board was so impressed by this project and the work the students have done that we unanimously agreed to assist them.”

The students raised $175,000 before Friends joined their campaign. Soon after Friends signed on, the students learned they’d received a grant of $35,000 from the Steven and Tabitha King Foundation. They also secured a matching grant of $200,000 from an anonymous donor.

“Matching grants are such a wonderful way to encourage giving,” said Mirabile. “It’s great to be able to tell people that every dollar they can donate will be doubled by our matching funds.”

Response to the Friends’ July fundraising letter has been remarkable.

“Donations have been coming in from all five towns,” said Jill Lang, Friends member and mother of Emma Blakeley, a CHRHS junior who has been working with the Windplanners for two years. “We have received funds — and encouragement — from the community, staff, students, and local organizations, such as the Appleton Fire Department. We feel so fortunate to live in a community that so generously supports and values its schools and students.”

For more information about the CHRHS Winplanners, contact Margo Murphy, Windplanner advisor, at margo_murphy@fivetowns.net. To make a donation to the campaign, send checks made out to Friends of CSD to Friends of CSD, PO Box 961, Camden, ME 04843.