PISCATAQUIS/SOMERSET COUNTIES – Jessica Leahy, a professor in the School of Forest Resources at the University of Maine, heard from rural community leaders that they were concerned about young people moving out of their towns.
Leahy and her research partner from Oregon State University, Mindy Crandall, decided to create the “Rural Youth Future Study.”
According to Leahy, they had over 600 middle and high schoolers from Piscataquis and Northern Somerset Counties respond to a survey regarding their communities.
“We found out that for the most part, they really love their school and the community that they’re growing up in. They love the outdoor opportunities that are around for them,” Leahy said. “They have some concerns both for to reach their career goals and their education goals.”
Leahy said many of the survey respondents are concerned about having to leave their communities to make money.
She hopes the information collected will show community leaders what is needed and help more young people achieve their goals.