Families and friends looking for a new way to explore the Midcoast this summer now have 12 more options. During the school year, classrooms from Damariscotta to Rockland created a new form of outdoor recreation for this region; Quests about local nature preserves, trails, waterfronts and villages. All of them are now available for the public to use.

A Quest is a clue-to-clue exploration that tells the story of a particular place. A Quest’s “movement clues” provide hints that get individuals from one clue-stop to the next – often by walking but this year there are some driving options too. Its “teaching clues” explain the significance of what can be seen, heard or imagined at each clue-stop. Most Quests also end with the finding of a hidden box that contains a Quest stamp, sign-in book, and more interpretative materials.

“This year’s Quests run the gamut” said Anne Stires, Place-Based Education Coordinator at the Quebec-Labrador Foundation’s office in Waldoboro in a news release. “There are letters written by shorebirds in Thomaston, waterfront rambles in Rockland and Warren, hikes into the woods of Union and South Bristol and quite a few Quests on preserves owned by local land trusts. Most take about an hour or less.” All of the Quests as well as information about Questing can be found online and downloaded at muscongusbay.org/questing.php.

The 12 new Quests are in addition to the 20 already posted. For the last two years, students in schools all over the mid-coast region have been researching, writing, mapping, and publishing original Quests about their coastal watershed as part of “Questing to Learn”. This is a place-based education program offered to area schools by the Quebec-Labrador Foundation’s Marine Program (QLF) in Waldoboro through funding provided by NOAA New England’s B-WET program and private foundations. This summer, sixteen more educators will be trained to develop Quests with students ensuring that the range of Questing options will continue to grow.