Relearning Place Program

The Relearning Place Program (RPP) is a collaborative initiative consisting of a diverse group of intergenerational individuals, which promotes the cross-pollination of ideas from new and old ways of thinking and learning related to land, place and people. The Relearning Place Program is a movement-building initiative that emerged from within the Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative. It eventually expanded to consist of a relationship between Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative and the Maine Environmental Education Association. In its current iteration, the steering committee includes individuals from the conservation sector, environmental education, educators, and changemakers. The way we do our work is focused on slow intentional relationship building.

pictured from right to left, top to bottom: Red Fong (they/them), Lokotah Sanborn (he/they), Daphne James (she/her), Emily Greene (she/her), Olivia Griset (she/her), Jessica Burton (she/her), Amara Ifeji (she/her), Estephanie Martinez-Alfonzo (she/they), Stefan Jackson (he/they) – not pictured Deb Bicknell

Our work intentionally focuses on the deconstruction of settler-colonial dominion of land, specifically through conservation, which according to a survey by the Maine Land Trust Network, holds over 25% of the land in what is currently known as Maine. Conservation contributes to the active erasure of black, Indigenous, other people of color, communities at risk to climate change, and otherwise culturally, financially, or socially excluded communities by favoring the interests of white culture.

The Relearning Place Program works toward and envisions a future where:

  • We live in a system that contributes the well-being of all communities
  • We continually ask critical questions of ourselves and the system we live in
  • Black, Indigenous, and other people of color who are systematically denied healthy lives under colonialism and oppression are self-determining
  • All communities have reciprocal relationships with the environment and land that are grounded in interconnectedness and interdependence
  • Deep values, appreciation, and understandings of land are central to our cultural, communal, and personal values
  • Indigenous values, ways of thinking, and connections to land are centered in decision-making

Red Fong, former Summer Associate in 2019, is now SMCC’s Relearning Place program manager. Red has played a major role in the development of the Relearning Place program. Graduating from Colby College in 2020 with a degree in Environmental Humanities, Red has a passion for equity in the environmental and conservation movements. Lover of quiet walks in the woods and long bike rides, Red is familiar with the outdoors in many settings. Red shares their time with the Maine Environmental Education Association as its Director of Operations.

For more information about the Relearning Place Program, please contact