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The Results are In! Grant from Anthem Foundation Helps Students Make Healthy Choices

WINTER HARBOR, Maine--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- This past school year, the Schoodic Education and Research Center Institute (SERC Institute) implemented a plan to help the 600 middle school students that visited the Winter Harbor campus in Acadia National Park learn to make healthy choices in activities and eating. The program was made possible due to a one-year, $25,000 grant from the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, prior to the start of the 2011-2012 school year.

Each year, Acadia National Park and SERC Institute host 600 fifth through eighth grade students from throughout Maine at the Schoodic Education Adventure (SEA) program, an intensive three-day immersion in science and learning. Many of the students have had little exposure to natural environments, spend little time outdoors, and have limited knowledge of healthy activities or foods. SERC Institute proposed to develop healthy menus, bring local foods to students, and provide students with the opportunity to try new fitness and outdoor recreation activities that encourage healthy lifestyles.

Kate Petrie, Director of the Schoodic Education Adventure and Supervisory Park Ranger for the Schoodic Education District, manages the school program for SERC. Ms. Petrie notes, “The SEA program reaches students at an impressionable age and can help refocus their attention on making the right choices in foods and outdoor activities. The grant from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation has helped us work with the students so they will continue to make appropriate choices as they enter high school. Funding also allowed us to fully evaluate the SEA program and determine the impact of its lessons.”

Funding from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation provided support for:

  • Working with local farms to provide healthy, organic produce and meats for student meals
  • Training SERC kitchen staff in healthy food selection and preparation, and creating healthy selections that children would eat
  • Teacher training including a workshop that provided curriculum planning and resources, and the purchase of supplies to help teachers both while at SERC and back in the classroom
  • Evaluation of the program, students, and teachers to determine impact and retention of new material

Evaluation of the new focus during the Schoodic Education Adventure was a critical component of the grant. SERC Institute worked with Bill Nave, Ed. D., to create surveys for students to complete at three different times, interview teachers participating in the program, and analyze the results. The final analysis indicated that student behavior changed as a result of their SEA experience and in some cases led to school-wide changes in their schools’ food service. Students also reported they engaged in more physical activities than they had previously.

“SERC has long done wonderful work in providing environmental education to Maine’s grade school children,” said Dan Corcoran, president and general manager, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine. “We were very excited to be able to provide them with additional resources to add the healthy eating module to their curriculum and congratulate them for their efforts.”

The Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation grant provided a means of positive change for SERC Institute. Mike Soukup, President and CEO of SERC Institute, observes, “Our mission is to help guide future generations through education, and this grant has allowed us to make a giant step in providing healthy meals and activities to students. The success of the program means we will incorporate the changes into the structure of the SEA program, and we are using the information gained to create a healthy food environment at SERC for participants of all ages.”

About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine is the trade name of Anthem Health Plans of Maine, Inc., an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine is available at www.anthem.com. Also, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/healthjoinin, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthJoinIn, or visit our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/healthjoinin.

About the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation

Through charitable grant making, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, promotes Anthem’s inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield serves. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to reduce the number of uninsured as well as organizations and nonprofit charities that promote the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s annual associate giving campaign and its parent foundation provides a 50 percent match of associates’ campaign pledges. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About SERC Institute and the Schoodic Education Adventure

The Schoodic Education and Research Center Institute was created in 2004 as a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the Schoodic Education and Research Center – one of twenty National Park Service Research Learning Centers across the nation. SERC is located on the Schoodic Peninsula and is part of Acadia National Park. SERC Institute is ideally positioned to engage the next generation of naturalists through a unique combination of education, science, research, and the arts.

SERC Institute manages the Schoodic Education and Research Center, establishes related partnerships, facilitates new education and research programs, and enhances community connections with Acadia National Park. The mission of SERC Institute is to guide present and future generations to greater understanding and respect for nature by providing research and learning opportunities through its outstanding Acadia National Park setting, unique coastal Maine facilities, and innovative partnership programs. The vision of the Schoodic Education and Research Center is that SERC shall be a world-class research and learning institution, providing knowledge and transformational experiences necessary for harmony between humankind and the natural world.

SERC Institute serves the entire state of Maine through its programs and activities at its site on the Schoodic Peninsula in Winter Harbor. The education program Schoodic Education Adventure (SEA) reaches rurally isolated and underserved middle school students, teachers, and parents from Washington, Hancock, and Aroostook Counties by providing transportation assistance and scholarships to schools that would otherwise be unable to attend. This residential experience, coupled with classroom activities and a unique setting, may have a lifelong impact on participants. For some students, the arrival at Schoodic is the first time they have seen the ocean or engaged with nature firsthand.

SEA brings middle school children and their teachers to the SERC campus for a three-day residential program experience. The Schoodic Peninsula offers a unique diversity of landscapes including shoreline, wetlands and forest ecosystems upon which to base learning activities. Students spend time in both traditional classroom settings learning about this environment and outside experiencing the environment firsthand.

SERC Institute
Gail Thompson, 207-288-1360
gail@sercinstitute.org

Source: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine