SHEEP ISLAND — Students from Oceanside High School in Rockland and Oceanside Middle School in Thomaston did their part Friday to help the local environment.

Fourteen students spent the day May 20 cleaning up debris from Sheep Island off Owls Head. Maine Coast Heritage Trust acquired the 59-acre island in December 2021.

Regional School Unit 13 Board Vice Chair Brad Choyt said he heard an article on Maine Public Radio about the purchase and a trust representative mentioned they hoped to clean up the island and put the land in conservation. He then contacted the land trust and volunteered to help with cleaning up the island and asked whether they would be interested in students helping with the effort.

“When she said ‘yes’, I contacted John McDonald, the superintendent of RSU 13, to request his permission. He then put me in touch with the school principals at Oceanside High School and Oceanside Middle School,” Choyt said.

The students included juniors and eighth graders. The juniors are mentors for the younger students.

“I am a strong believer in forging these kinds of partnerships within our mid-coast community as well as cultivating stewardship for the environment with the current generation of students,” Choyt said.

Amanda Devine, the regional steward manager for the trust, said after the clean up, “That really was such a great day – I wish we had more time on the island, but your students got a literal ton of trash picked up, and it was great fun to meet all of you.”

Keith Miller volunteered his time and boat to take the students out to Sheep Island. Miller has regularly volunteered to take students to islands, having done it for the Herring Gut Learning Center in St. George and the YMCA.