What the “HEC?!?” Capping off a Fantastic Semester with a Deep Dive into Human Ecology

Maine Coast Semester reserves the last academic week of each semester for Human Ecology Capstone projects (this is often called HEC Week here on campus). Human ecology is the study of human interaction with the natural world, and HEC projects give students the opportunity to explore a topic of deep, personal interest, come to understand it in a holistic way, and present a viable course of action in response. Through their projects, students gain an understanding of the interconnectedness of the world’s ecosystems and practice the environmental literacy fostered in their other classes.

Semester 60 presented their HEC projects this Monday to faculty, peers, Chewonki staff, and numerous community members. This semester, all students were asked to focus on a human ecology issue in their home communities. Students chose to explore a wide variety of topics, from food waste and environmental education to sustainable fashion and beauty products. 

Here’s a quick recap of Semester 60 HECs:


High School

Home Town

 Human Ecology Capstone


Croton-Harmon High School

Croton-on-Hudson, NY

KinderGARDEN; Evaluating the Emotional, Intellectual and Spiritual Benefits of Outdoor Classroom Settings


Waynflete School

Waldoboro, ME

A Chirp off the Old Block; Teaching Youth to be Inspired by and Aware of the Natural World through Birdfeeders


Glen Ridge High School

Glen Ridge, NJ

Increasing Sustainability at Glen Ridge High School


Match Charter Public High School

Boston, MA

The Usefulness of Community Gardens in Cities


Brookline High School

Brookline, MA

Alternatives to Road Maintenance Salt in Brookline, MA


Concord-Carlisle High School

Carlisle, MA

Lettuce Eat; the Benefits of Hydroponic Lettuce


Ethical Culture Fieldston School

New York, NY

Food Waste and How It Intersects with Food Insecurity: At Fieldston and Beyond


Charlotte Country Day School

Charlotte, NC

Ecology Short Story; Demonstrating the Importance of Maintaining Sustainable Practices


Greely High School

Cumberland Center, ME

Effects of Warming in the Gulf of Maine on Lobstering


The Nightingale-Bamford School

New York, NY

Introducing Safer, Green-Certified Cleaning Products to the Nightingale-Bamford School


Heights High School

Houston, TX

Environment and Society: A New Unit; A Curriculum that Includes Environment and Society for Heights High School


Lakeside School

Seattle, WA

Food for Thought; A student-run Instagram that displays the “behind the scenes” work of the kitchen and the benefits of local food


Cambridge Rindge and Latin School

Cambridge, MA

Bike Promotion in Cambridge; Proposal to Increase Biking by Adding a Repair Station and Safer Locking System


The Chapin School

New York, NY

My School Tries Something New: Composting!


Saint Ann’s School

New York, NY

Outdoor Education Through Art for Preschool Students


Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences

Santa Monica, CA

Together, Crossroads; A  Student Mentorship Program to Facilitate Teamwork, Leadership and Reflection


Garrison Forest School

Highland, MD

Dealing with Development; Raising Awareness for the Importance of Farmland in Highland, Maryland


Charlotte Country Day

Charlotte, NC

Water Justice for North Carolina; Raising Awareness for Water Quality Inequity


Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences

Pacific Palisades, CA

The Story of an Aimless Worm; A Children’s Book on Composting


Newton South High School

Newton, MA

Sustainability at Summer Camp; Raising Awareness Around Recycling and Environmental Issues at my Summer Camp


Arlington High School

Arlington, MA

Greenhouse Waste Water Treatment in Arlington, MA


South Kent School


Why every American Boarding School Should Build an Environmental Therapy Program!


Friends Seminary

New York, NY

Building on Energy Efficiency; Educating People on How Much Energy Their Buildings Consume 


The Nightingale-Bamford School

New York, NY

Making Sustainable Personal Care Products Accessible


Hunter College High School

Brooklyn, NY

Introducing Place-Based Learning to Hunter College High School


Shead High School

Eastport, ME

Human Ecology and the Gulf of Maine; How Can We Understand the Warming of the Gulf of Maine through the Lens of Human Ecology?


Northampton High School

Florence, MA

Textile Recycling; Educating Students about the Social and Environmental Problems Created by Fast Fashion Culture


Central High School

St. Paul, MN

Land Ethic; Creating a Framework for a Sustainable Fashion Company


The Thacher School

San Rafael, CA

Severe Drought in Ojai, California; Exploring the Short and Long-term Solutions and Citizen Initiatives


Packer Collegiate Institute

Brooklyn, NY

Gowanus Canal Clean Up; Raising Awareness For Volunteerism through Music


Carrboro High School

Chapel Hill, NC

Raising Awareness of Fruit Stickers in Compost & Soil


The Chapin School

New York, NY

Being Green in NYC; Raising Awareness for Eco-Friendly Practices


Match Charter Public High School

Boston, MA

School Food Distributors and Their Effect on Students in Boston, MA


Concord Academy

Elmhurst, NY

Reducing Food Waste by Addressing Food Insecurity


Milton Academy

Newton, MA

Examining Wealth Inequity through Environmental Education in Boston Schools


Yarmouth High School

Yarmouth, ME

The Power of Protest Music: Climate Change in Maine


Greenwich Academy

Greenwich, CT

Tick Prevention and Awareness


Concord-Carlisle High School

Concord, MA

Spreading Awareness Around Invasives in the Sudbury- Assabet- Concord River Watershed


Brunswick High School

Brunswick, ME

Sustainable Land-Based Salmon Farming


F.W. Parker Charter Essential School

Littleton, MA

Sailing with a Purpose; Exploring Organizations with a Mission to Bring People Together through Sailing


Moses Brown School

Riverside, RI

Connecting Refugees in Providence with Local Community Gardens

A few photos of students presenting their Human Ecology Capstones:

More News from Maine Coast Semester:

Connected by Creativity

Game Night

The Game With No Name


Live From Chewonki, It’s Saturday Night!!!

DITL: Maine Coast Semester

Wild Wonki Wizards!

Oh Dear, A Deer!

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