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Community Engagement

Connecting with the Community: Volunteers, Education, and Outreach

A wry journalist once asked us, “If you are the Casco Baykeeper, then where do you keep the Bay?”

Our response: “In the public eye.”

Outreach projects such as presentations, forums on emerging issues, reports and guides, coastal cleanups, and stenciling storm drains with the message “Don’t dump! Drains to Casco Bay,” help rally the community around Casco Bay.

Education is a vital part of Friends of Casco Bay’s work to protect the health of our coastal waters. Each year, our presentations, community events, and public service projects reach more than 2,400 people directly; many thousands more hear our message through online efforts, mail, and traditional media.

Our educational and outreach efforts take many forms and are tailored for many audiences.

BayScaping

BayScaper Sign in Garden
If you use lawn care practices that eliminate the need for pesticides and fertilizers, please come by our office on the Southern Maine Community College Campus to get our new BayScaper sign.

Our BayScaping program is about growing green lawns that keep Casco Bay blue. We are educating residents and decision makers about the harmful effects of lawn care chemicals—pesticides and fertilizers—while recommending Bay-friendly alternatives. We continue to work with concerned citizens in towns around the Bay to help explore ordinances aimed at reducing the use of lawn chemicals.

Casco Bay Curriculum

Classroom teachers and parents both play essential roles as educators in building an appreciation for protecting the health of the Bay in younger generations. Twenty curriculum activities and supporting background materials help teachers connect the value of our estuary with ways they can help reduce impacts from climate change and the changing chemistry of our coastal waters.  We have tailored some activities as lessons parents can use at home. Check out our Kids’ Corner on the the Casco Bay Curriculum page.

Baykeeper Speaker Series

Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca speaks at many community events.

We deliver our stewardship message at a variety of public education events, from informal neighborhood socials to presentations to civic and community organizations. Learn more or request one of our speakers here.

Casco Bay Matters

We host periodic presentations and panel discussions on issues of current concern though our Casco Bay Matters series, open to the public.

Pumpout Program

Pumpout Coordinator Jim Splude operates Baykeeper II, our mobile pumpout vessel, which services recreational boats at marinas and moorings from South Portland to Freeport. Since 1995, our pumpout vessel has kept nearly 180,000 gallons of sewage from marine toilets from going into the Bay.

Champions for Casco Bay

Through training workshops and “Bay Papers”—one page primers to help you engage in conversations about  issues facing the Bay—we are inspiring our volunteers to think of themselves as ambassadors and advocates, sharing information, data, and actions with their friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues. Become a champion here.

Coastal Cleanups

If you want to make a hands-on difference in the health of Casco Bay, join us for a couple of hours at a coastal cleanup. Cleanups are a core component of Friends of Casco Bay’s volunteer opportunities.

Stencil storm drains with the message “Do not dump—drains to Casco Bay”

Kids Storm Drain Stenciling
Stenciling storm drains is a great community service project. Photo from Friends School of Portland

Storm drains are a tempting place for residents to dump dangerous pollutants, “out of sight, out of mind.”  Our storm drain stenciling program trains volunteer groups about the fine art—and science!—of keeping pollution out of storm drains. We lend our stenciling kits, with informational door hangers and other supporting outreach materials, to community groups at no charge.

Public Inquiries

Responding to unexpected situations is fundamental to the environmental watchdog role we play in our community. Calls from concerned citizens often require us dropping the task at hand to hop aboard our Baykeeper boat to investigate. We try to help the community to be prepared for the unexpected, such as what would likely happen if a major oil spill occurs in Portland Harbor. If you ever have a question or see something concerning please contact the appropriate staff member.

Help us engage the community as we work together to tackle the biggest threats to the Bay

Read more about our Community Engagement work:

It Takes a Village

May 20, 2019

Rick Frantz keeps an eye on Casco Bay as he commutes between his home on Great Diamond Island and Andy’s Old Port Pub, the restaurant that he and his wife Jennifer Fox own on the Portland waterfront. When he sees something out of the ordinary, good or bad, he takes… Read more

Mike and Ivy on the Boat

Casco Bay Matters: Advancing the conversation—and action—on climate change

May 20, 2019

Living close to the ocean, Casco Bay residents are witnessing the effects of climate change happening here now: warming water temperatures, increasing ocean acidity, and more severe storms. We too are seeing the changes in our data and when we are out on the Bay. From April through October, our… Read more

launch pumpout boat

You’re invited to our Pumpout Boat Launch Party!

May 20, 2019

On Monday, June 10 as the newest member of Friends of Casco Bay’s fleet will be christened and launched. We hope you will join us at this auspicious event. Read more

Testimony in support (with amendments) of LD 1679: An Act To Establish the Maine Climate Change Council To Assist Maine To Mitigate, Prepare for and Adapt to Climate Change (Governor’s bill)

May 16, 2019

May 17, 2019 Senator Carson Representative Tucker Committee on Environment and Natural Resources c/o Legislative Information Office 100 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333 Re: Friends of Casco Bay and Maine Ocean and Coastal Acidification (MOCA) Steering Committee testimony in support (with amendments) of LD 1679: An Act To Establish… Read more

Luke’s Lobster & Allagash team up with us for a Back Cove Cleanup on May 11, 2019

April 24, 2019

This event is limited to 60 participants, and we have reached that limit. Please consider signing up as a volunteer here: https://www.cascobay.org/about-us/volunteer. Can you think of a better combination than lobster, beer, and the Bay? On Saturday, May 11, Friends of Casco Bay, Luke’s Lobster, and Allagash Brewing are teaming… Read more

Friends of Casco Bay testimony opposing LD 1518 to the extent it seeks to enact 22 MRSA § 1471-CC

April 22, 2019

April 22, 2019 Senator Jim Dill Representative Craig Hickman Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry c/o Legislative Information Office 100 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333 Re: Friends of Casco Bay testimony opposing LD 1518 to the extent it seeks to enact 22 MRSA § 1471-CC Dear Senator Dill, Representative… Read more