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Topsham education alliance hires Brunswick man as director

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Topsham education alliance hires Brunswick man as director

TOPSHAM — After three years with Maine Aububon, Matt Dubel of Brunswick is the Cathance River Education Alliance's new executive director.

Dubel, who joined the organization in mid-October, replaced Ron Hall.

Dubel, 41, has worked in education for 18 years and was director of the Fields Pond Aububon Center from 2010-2013. He is a former teacher who was involved in the development of the country's first Sustainability Academy, a public magnet school in Burlington, Vt., offering a sustainability theme for students in kindergarten through fifth grade, according to creamaine.org.

Dubel, who co-authored two books on place-based education and is married with one child, said he was attracted to CREA by its reputation for programs that allow people of all ages to connect with nature, and learn from it.

"I was drawn to (CREA) because of its clear focus on educating the public and the fact that it has both a beautiful home base at the Cathance River Preserve and Ecology Center in Topsham, as well as an outreach effort that offers programs in schools and other locations in the community," Dubel said Monday in an email. "I bring a background in designing innovative educational programs for people of all ages, as well as a research and evaluation focus: I have a strong conviction that we draw on the best available research to design programs that help people learn and rigorously track the impact we're having."

In 2014, Dubel said, CREA will expand its children's vacation programs, relaunch its Environmental Youth Leadership program for high school students, and look into partnership options with other organizations. The organization will also maintain its community nature programs at Topsham Public Library, its open hours at the Ecology Center, and its outreach programs and field trips for schools, he said.

"I think our ecological literacy – our understanding of how ecological systems work and how to work with them – is the key to improving the well-being of people and communities over the years to come," Dubel said.

"And the best way to build your ecological literacy, no matter what age you are, is to do two things: explore ecosystems to learn from them first-hand, and apply what you learn to solving real problems in your life and your community," he added. "CREA's programs and our Ecology Center offer opportunities to do both of those things and the Cathance River Preserve is a great place to do these things on your own."

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.