Friends of Baxter State Park invites current Maine high school sophomores and juniors to submit an application to participate in the 7th annual Maine Youth Wilderness Leadership Program. The program includes a nine-day wilderness experience in Baxter State Park, scheduled for Aug. 8-16, according to a news release by Friends of Baxter State Park. The application deadline for the program is Feb. 8.

This program offers 10 high school sophomores and juniors the opportunity to spend nine days immersed in the wild country in Maine. Accompanied by experienced wilderness leaders from the Chewonki Foundation, participants can learn from a variety of specialists as they backpack from one end of Baxter State Park to the other.

Participants can study wilderness through science, art, storytelling, photography, writing, history, and recreation. They can hike with a geologist, volunteer with a Ranger, stargaze with an astronomer, and paint at Katahdin Lake with a professional artist. These experiences help inspire and challenge emerging young wilderness leaders. Participants have described this program as “life-changing” and “the best learning experience I’ve ever had,” according to the release.

The program includes readings and assignments in preparation for the field experience. After returning from the park, each participant gives a public presentation in his or her community.

Because of the support of generous donors, Friends of Baxter State Park is able to offer the Maine Youth Wilderness Leadership Program at no cost to participants.

There is a competitive application process to be accepted into the program. Only students who are currently enrolled as a sophomore or junior in a Maine high school are eligible to apply. Applications must be submitted online at www.friendsofbaxter.org by the deadline of Feb. 8. Ten participants and six alternates will be announced in March.

For more information, visit www.friendsofbaxter.org or contact Friends of Baxter State Park at P.O. Box 322, Belfast, ME 04915.

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