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#YouMaine University of Maine student Sarah Manning shares exciting MaineBound adventures

Sarah Manning is a second-year student from Hampsteaad, New Hampshire. She is passionate about outdoor activities such as rock climbing and hiking. Although Manning chose the university for her love of the state and the beauty of the campus, her primary reason was a bit more specific. 

“I really wanted to work at Maine Bound…It was one of the main reasons I applied,” Manning said. 

Manning was hired the first semester of her freshman year, and she speaks highly of the students who work there. She also admires the dedication that everyone displays. 

“It’s a pretty hard job to get…People put a lot of effort and work into it and it’s a little bit more than just your average, college part-time job.” 

Although Manning jokes that she often feels like she is majoring in Maine Bound, her true major is ecology and environmental science. She is pursuing a minor in education. 

“I chose it because I wanted to go into teaching but I didn’t really want to be teaching in a normal public school system, so I decided that I wanted to teach outside and teach environmental education,” Manning said. 

Manning already has extensive experience working with kids. In high school, she coached a gymnastics summer camp between 2018 and 2021. She brought the team to nationals in Florida during her last year. Manning currently teaches an after school climbing program through Maine Bound, and in the upcoming weeks is going to be leading an outdoor adventure class at the Indian Island School. In the future, she hopes to continue working with and educating children through the National Park Service. Her favorite national parks are Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine, and Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. 

Maine Bound is also very useful for helping Manning achieve these goals. 

“They [Maine Bound] care about the professional development of each of their staff. So they have a lot of, like, really good training opportunities, certification opportunities, that you need to be good in your future career in the outdoors, if that’s what you’re looking for.” Manning said. 

Currently, Manning has her outdoor leadership and climbing wall instruction certifications. She also has her wilderness first responder certification through Acadia Mountain Guides and is hoping to eventually take classes in wilderness EMT training. 

Although Manning is now a full-fledged “outdoorsy” person, she wasn’t always that way. 

“I was, like, an indoor kid…I watched lots of TV, and I hated bugs and the heat and anything that involved the outdoors,” Manning said. 

Manning, like many others, found a new appreciation for nature during the height of the pandemic. 

“I climbed trees for, like, three months during the pandemic and then I just explored the woods and conservation lands…and the rest was history,” Manning said.

Although winter in Maine can be harsh, Maine Bound operates year-round. Manning recently completed a trip to Grafton Notch State Park in Newry, Maine, which showed her the wonders of ice climbing. 

“It was so cool to ice climb…you’ve got, like, knives on your feet and on your hands.” Manning said.  

Although she is incredibly involved in the Maine outdoors, Manning has hiking goals that extend to other states. 

“Over the next couple years, I really want to finish up the 4,000-footers in New Hampshire. There’s 48 of them, I’ve done 10. So I’ve got a really long way to go, but I really want to do a lot of those,” Manning said. 

There are a variety of multi-level hikes for students in and around campus. The University Forest has numerous walking and hiking trails, located behind the Recreation Center. For a beginner hike, Manning recommends Chick Hill in Clifton, Maine, about 40 minutes from campus. She appreciates the views Chick Hill has to offer, and the less intense nature of the hike. For more experienced hikers, she recommends Cathedral Trail on Mount Katahdin in Penobscot, Maine.


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