As more than 115 Friends of the Bay heard at We Are Water — Friends of Casco Bay’s Members Annual Meeting, “olotahkewakon” is the Passamaquoddy word for “ceremony.” Passamaquoddy Language Keeper Dwayne Tomah shared this word in his tribe’s native tongue noting that all of us coming together was a ceremony for our mother earth.
The tribes in Maine were the original stewards of this land and of Casco Bay, beginning more than 12,000 years ago, and today, although there are no official tribal lands on the shores of Casco Bay, Wabanaki people still live within the watershed. Passamaquoddy means “the people who spear pollock.” An important part of Passamaquoddy culture is protecting our air, land, and waters. It is in partnership to those values that we remain honored to have hosted Dwayne, who lives Downeast on Passamaquoddy Bay, as our featured speaker at the event.
Dwayne’s refrain throughout the evening was “We are all in this together.” The Annual Meeting was attended by local residents, dozens of our volunteers, current and former State Representatives from towns around Casco Bay, federal officials from the Environmental Protection Agency, staff from Maine Department of Environmental Protection, and colleagues from partner organizations, all of whom are working together to improve and protect the health of Casco Bay. As Dwayne said, “We are all in the same canoe, we just didn’t know it.”
You can listen to Dwayne talk by clicking play on the video below. As caveat, due to the tent we were under and the setting sun, the video quality is low, but we hope you find Dwayne’s talk as inspiring as we did.
Frame the Bay
At the Annual Meeting, we announced the winners of “Frame the Bay,” our inaugural photo contest. More than 60 photos were submitted to the contest, which asked Friends to share their favorite photos taken of, near, or on Casco Bay. Participants could submit up to five photos. The judges included internationally recognized sports photographer Kevin Morris, Lindsay Heald, a visual artist, photographer, and producer from Maine, and Board President Sandy Marsters, who has a background in photojournalism.
Our winners in the recreation category were:
First Place: Heidi Holloway
Second Place: Glenn Michaels
Third Place: Bill Brokaw
Our winners in the wildlife category were:
First place: Stephen Hobson
Second Place: Stacey Keefer
Third Place: Stacey Keefer
Our winners in the Working Waterfront category were:
First Place: Glenn Michaels
Second Place: Glenn Michaels
Third place: Adam Mistler
Our winners in the scenic category were:
First place: Ava McKinley
Second Place: Timothy R. Brokaw
Third Place: John Bald
Ava was also our first place student photographer winner and her scenic photo won Best in Show.
Congratulations to all of our winners!
Casco Bay Award Winner Honorable Jay McCreight
As the State Representative for Harpswell for eight years, Joyce “Jay” McCreight has gone above and beyond for Casco Bay. Executive Director Will Everitt presented her with our Casco Bay Award. As he shared, “Over the course of her legislative career, Jay has been a true Clean Water Hero.” Her achievements include:
- Passing a bill to set up a process for the disposal of expired marine flares. All seagoing boats are required to have flares in the case of an emergency. These flares expire, remain a fire hazard, and contain toxic chemicals. Until Jay worked on this issue, there has been no safe, ecological, or cost effective way for fishermen and boat owners to dispose of marine flares.
- Ensuring that the state budget included funds to map eelgrass, a vital habitat known as “the nursery of the sea.”
- Hosting a forum on water quality in Casco Bay that helped shape recommendations for the Maine Climate Council.
- Convening conversations about aquaculture siting.
- Working hard for fishing families by sponsoring a bill to allow an immediate family member of a lobsterman to fish with their license if the licensee has a serious illness or injury. She introduced this bill after hearing from a lobsterman with cancer who needed his son to keep hauling his traps while he went through treatment.
After eight dauntless years and four rounds of being elected to the statehouse, she was term limited but Jay’s clean water work continues. Jay now serves on Harpswell’s Resiliency and Sustainability Committee and she remains tireless in continuing to help get the flares disposal bill implemented.
Down to Business
Our We Are Water event began with the official business of our Members Annual Meeting. As they looked out at Casco Bay from Spring Point in South Portland, Friends of Casco Bay members unanimously voted Mark Green and Steve Bushey to their second terms on the Board of Directors. We are proud to have their wisdom, experience, and dedication, all in service to our mission to improve and protect the health of the waters we all love.