Flat Mountain
       Horse & Cattle Ranch
        A Visit From Teachers 
      From the Marshall Islands
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 Reflections from Ellia Sablan-Zebedy:

As for the Marshallese students, they are elementary teachers from six different schools in the Capital, Majuro Atoll. The Marshall Islands is located in the Pacific Ocean 7 degrees north of the equator and about 2,800 miles southwest of the Hawaiian Islands. The islands are low-lying coral atolls about 6-7 feet from sea level. Most families have the ocean or the lagoon as their backyard. Livelihood is sustained by harvesting and living on marine resources. The country is well known for the tuna that is harvested from its 200 miles Exclusive Economic Zone.   


This past summer 17 teachers started their Secondary Education: STEM (Math & Science) major at the University of Maine at Fort Kent. The program is unique as it is a blended type of learning where students come on campus to start some of their courses, meet their instructors and online support staff as well as learn to navigate Blackboard. Blackboard is the platform for our online studies where students download course syllabuses, reading materials, watch video clips, communicate with instructors and upload assignments and projects.  The students were on campus for a period of six weeks. During the six weeks, the university arranged student activities and a few of the activities involved teaching students about the culture and heritage of the people in the St. John Valley.


The comments I had from students were plentiful and in favor of the farm as well as Anne and John. In the islands, most people raise pigs and chickens. Some families (those that can afford it) import goats and ducks. Horses, cattle, cows, and rabbits are animals that the students only see on T.V. So you can imagine the delight, awe and surprise when students were able to see and touch these animals. The smell of the animals was very new to them too. I had students tell me “oh, I didn’t know that horses’ hair felt like course hair and that they have this slight smell” or “oh, the rabbit’s fur feels so soft and that animal is so cuddly”. The students also had the opportunity to drink ‘fresh, raw’ milk and because they are so used to pasteurized milk, the fresh milk tasted very different --- less creamy and light. Overall, Babin’s farm was the highlight of their trip to Northern Maine.


We also have a cohort of nurses that just completed our RN-BSN program this fall semester. They’ve completed 44 credit hours of nursing courses. Most of the students are nurse practitioners in Majuro Atoll.  Some of them are planning to participate in UMFK’s graduation ceremony this coming May 2014.



When Unique Maine Farms visited Flat Mountain Horse & Cattle Ranch, a group of teachers from the Marshall Islands enrolled in the STEM major program at the University of Maine at Fort Kent came to the Babin property to learn about their farm and enjoy a farm tour and a covered wagon ride.  Ellia Sablan-Zebedy, the Dean of Enrollment Services and Student Life at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, kindly shared the information about the teachers and the Marshall Islands below: