Nearly 40 Medomak Middle School eighth-graders and their teachers, Bill McClellan and Mark Davis, recently traveled to the upper part of the Medomak River Watershed to get acquainted with Carroll Farm Trail and land at Sweetgrass Winery in Union.

This visit was one of the first steps to creating a quest — a clue-to-clue exploration — of this special natural area. The Medomak Middle School students joined more than 20 other classrooms from Rockland to South Bristol participating in the Questing to Learn program operated by the Quebec-Labrador Foundation’s Field Desk in Waldoboro.

“What’s really special about this Carroll Farm site is that it’s located in the Medomak River watershed but really close to the St. George River watershed,” said Anne Stires, QLF’s place-based education coordinator. “About half of these students live in one watershed and half in the other one. So this is a great inland spot for them to make the connection between these two ecological addresses. Usually, we do that down in Muscongus Bay itself.”

For the students, it was a great day to discover and learn about coastal watersheds, farming, forestry, and the history of the local landscape with help from their teachers, Stires, a member of the Carroll family as well as Caren Clark and Stewart DesMeules from the Medomak Valley Land Trust, stewards of the new Carroll Farm nature trail. On site for several hours, the students spent a great deal of time exploring the land, its tributaries, and the recently flooded riverbanks. They measured and identified tree species and questioned experts about the farm’s “olden days.” Their investigation ended with a knowledge share, allowing students from each group to describe to each other what they observed and learned.

McClellan, Davis and their classes will soon return to the site to begin to frame the quest with movement clues, which mark the route by providing carefully crafted hints on how to get from one stop to another. Each stop reveals an interesting feature. Later the students will research and write the information clues about these features and how each one fits into the overall story of the quest. They’ll also be creating a quest map as well as a quest box, which lies hidden at the final stop and contains more information about the site. When it’s all done, MVLT and Sweetgrass Winery can use the eighth-graders’ quest to teach visitors about Carroll Farm. This quest will join almost 20 others about the Muscongus Bay area created by teachers and students. All are available on QLF’s local website, www.muscogusbay.org/questing.php.

The Quebec-Labrador Foundation is a 50-year-old bi-national conservation and community service organization headquartered in Ipswich, Mass., and Montreal, Quebec. QLF’s Questing to Learn Program is supported by grants from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s New England Bay Watershed Education and Training Program and private foundations. For more information, contact Anne Stires at 832-8109 or astires@qlf.org.