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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 Headmaster, our mobile pumpout vessel, which services recreational boats at marinas and moorings from South Portland to Freeport. Since 1995, our pumpout program has kept nearly 200,000 gallons of sewage from marine toilets from going into the Bay.

Casco Bay Bay Papers

Our Bay Papers are one page primers to help you engage in conversations about issues facing the Bay. The Bay Papers are designed to inspire our volunteers to think of themselves as ambassadors and advocates, sharing information, data, and actions with their friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues. See our Bay Papers 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:

Coastal Cleanup at Bug Light Park

August 7, 2019

September is World Cleanup Month. Join us at Bug Light Park for a Coastal Cleanup! When: Saturday, September 14, 2019, 9 AM – Noon Where: Bug Light Park RSVP using the form below. Questions? Email Sarah at slyman [at] cascobay [dot] org Do you want to help keep Casco Bay… Read more

And how is your summer going?

July 23, 2019

Summer is going swimmingly here at Friends of Casco Bay, and we have a lot of good news to share: Our priority legislative bill to create a state-level Climate Change and Ocean Acidification Council was incorporated nearly word-for-word into the Governor’s comprehensive Climate Change Council bill. An Act to Promote… Read more

Our growing observing network on Casco Bay

July 11, 2019

Yesterday was the first anniversary of our launching Friends of Casco Bay’s Water Reporter effort. To date, 162 volunteers have made more than 500 posts. We call that a great start! A standing-room only crowd of 37 Friends of the Bay gathered in South Portland on June 24th for an informal training on… Read more

Water Reporter App

Water Reporters: you are a growing observing network on Casco Bay

July 10, 2019

Water Reporters, this is your reference for using the Water Reporter app. It summarizes the topics covered at the Water Reporter training event held in June 2019. We are so pleased to see how volunteers like you are having an impact by being Water Reporters. Types of Water Reporter Posts… Read more

Maine takes a BIG step forward to address climate change

June 20, 2019

We have good news to share: on June 19, 2019, the Maine Legislature passed LD 1679, Governor Janet Mills’ bill to establish the Maine Climate Council. We fervently supported the Governor’s bill because it focuses on the root causes of climate change and recognizes that we must act now to… Read more

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