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We are hiring: Executive Director

Friends of Casco Bay, a science-based, community-oriented, environmental nonprofit organization that has worked for over 30 years to improve and protect the environmental health of Casco Bay, is hiring an Executive Director.

About Friends of Casco Bay

Friends of Casco Bay works to improve and protect the environmental health of Casco Bay, an Estuary of National Significance, located in the Gulf of Maine. We monitor the health of the Bay, documenting changes and issues of concern. We use those data to engage our community in our work and advocate for solutions that improve the health of our coastal waters.

Casco Bay, like the Gulf of Maine, the fastest-warming body of water in the world, is changing quickly. We play a leading role in our region to reduce pollution, encourage stewardship, and address the causes and consequences of climate change to Casco Bay. Our work is guided by science, the regulatory environment, common decency, and passion for protecting our coastal waters. We are home to the Casco BAYKEEPER®, our lead advocate who acts as the eyes, ears, and voice of Casco Bay. We use the Research Vessel Joseph E. Payne to collect data, to investigate concerns, and as an educational platform. We are one of the seven founding members of WATERKEEPER® Alliance, a network that has grown to include more than 300 independent organizations working to protect waters around the world. Thanks to our efforts, industrial pollution has decreased, municipalities are working to reduce sewage and stormwater pollution, and the Bay has been designated a No Discharge Area, making it one of the most protected water bodies in the country.

A Board of 13 Directors oversees the work of Friends of Casco Bay. More than 2,500 households and donors support our organization. More than 500 volunteers assist us in our efforts. We are known as an exceptional place to work, with dedicated, cohesive, long-time staff. We currently have seven full-time employees. We balance our ability to leverage collaborative efforts, funds, and volunteers, with the capacity and capabilities of staff — a talented team, each passionate about our mission.

We work to improve and protect the health of this special place for everyone. We are committed to creating a culture and practices that integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion into our work.

The Job of the Executive Director (ED)

The Executive Director (ED) is responsible for general oversight of our programs, fiscal operations, human resources, administrative functions, benefits administration, fundraising, and organizational planning. The ED facilitates turning the organization’s vision, strategies, and values into specific actions to support our mission while helping us continue to build a strong, resilient organization. The ED works with the Board and staff to establish strategic goals, and works with the staff to develop annual operating plans that will move the organization toward those goals. The ED oversees our development efforts to ensure the financial stability of our organization. It is anticipated that our ED will become a recognized figure in Maine and especially in the Casco Bay region. The ED works in service to our mission and reports to the Board through the Board President. All staff report to the ED.

The ED’s core Program and Administrative responsibilities are to:

  • Facilitate our organization’s vision for our work and provide leadership to move us toward that vision.
  • Provide oversight of Friends’ staff and activities through coordinating and implementing an annual operating plan and budget for review by the Board of Directors. Work with staff to continue development and evaluation of program, fundraising, community engagement, communications, operating, and administrative strategies.
  • Work closely with the Casco Baykeeper, our lead advocate and voice of the Bay, on policy directions and issue positioning. Work with the Casco Baykeeper to ensure compliance with Waterkeeper Alliance Quality Standards.
  • Identify new opportunities for partnerships and collaborations and work with the Board and staff to foster those relationships.

The ED’s core Fiscal responsibilities are to:

  • Ensure compliance with all applicable laws, filing deadlines (e.g. IRS Form 990) to protect the assets and integrity of the organization. Monitor all matters pertaining to the organization’s IRS 501(c)3 status and state charitable organization designation.
  • Maintain good internal financial controls and separation of duties. Oversee financials, cash flow, and bookkeeping/accounting processes. Authorize expenditures and sign off on bills to be paid. Prepare financial reports for the Board.
  • Understand and maintain adequate insurance coverages (business, watercrafts, Directors & Officers, employee benefits, etc).
  • Negotiate and fulfill requirements of occupancy lease, if a lease is in effect. Ensure that the building is well maintained and that all staff have adequate space, resources, and equipment to do their jobs.
  • Work with the Office Manager and staff to maintain technology, equipment, and software renewal upgrades and schedules, from computers, server, and printers, to boats and water quality monitoring equipment.

The ED’s core Fundraising and Marketing responsibilities are to:

  • Ensure funding adequate to maintain Friends as a vital part of improving and protecting the environmental health of Casco Bay by working with the Board, Communications and Development Director, and other staff, to raise revenue to equal or exceed revenue budget. Assist in fundraising efforts, especially identifying, cultivating, soliciting, and closing major donors, foundations, corporations, governmental entities, and other nonprofits.
  • Facilitate and implement a marketing strategy with development and communications staff, the Casco Baykeeper, and Board to achieve successful fundraising, increase the visibility of the organization, and increase public awareness of the issues on which we are focused.
  • Further develop mutually beneficial networking relationships with other environmental, business, municipal, and community organizations.

The ED’s Personnel responsibilities are to:

  • Train, mentor, develop, and manage staff. Recruit new staff as needs arise. Conduct staff reviews and evaluations. Assess staffing needs. Create and revise job descriptions as needed.
  • Maintain, update, and administer our Staff Policy Handbook.
  • Assure compliance with all employment laws.
  • Oversee benefits program – administration, adequacy, and cost effectiveness.
  • Ensure a safe, trusting, and harassment-free work environment, wherein staff members grow professionally, are valued, and work together as an ensemble while maintaining their core areas of responsibility.

The ED’s core Board Relations responsibilities are to:

  • Be the lead liaison between the Board and staff; the ED communicates regularly with the Board President and other Directors regarding Friends’ activities.
  • Attend Board meetings, Executive Committee meetings, Community Engagement Committee meetings, and other Board committee meetings as appropriate.
  • Work with the Board President to craft Board meeting agendas that both engage the Board and help provide staff with the guidance and attention they deserve.
  • When in doubt or when anything unexpected and of a material nature arises, bring it to the attention of the Board President and Executive Committee as soon as possible.

The ED’s core Communications responsibilities are to:

  • Keep up with what is going on in the Casco Bay region and integrate that knowledge into staff meetings and plans.
  • Ensure our advocacy positions, communications, and program work are in line with our mission.
  • Help facilitate the generation of a wider variety of communications efforts to share our work with the community.
  • Represent Friends to our diverse community at a wide variety of public and private meetings and engagements in ways that build our visibility and credibility.

The Executive Director must possess: strong communications skills; proven ability to effectively manage people and projects; demonstrated ability in managing finances; proven success at fundraising; the ability to create and maintain relationships with collaborative partners and policy makers; experience in community networking; and strong computer skills.

The ideal candidate holds an advanced degree in a field relative to this work or has deep professional experience in such a field. The ED should have experience working with nonprofits and familiarity with marine science or ecology, community engagement or organizing, or environmental policy.

This is a full time professional position and often requires long hours. All staff members, including the ED, help with event setup and clean up, as well as greeting visitors, answering the phone, responding to public inquiries in a timely manner, and providing other organizational support as needed.

Salary and benefits

The salary range is $98,000 to $112,000 a year, commensurate with experience, with an excellent benefits package, including health and dental insurance (75%), life insurance, and retirement plan. 

 

Location and public health expectations

The ED must live in the Casco Bay watershed, or move to the Casco Bay watershed, within 6 months of being hired. Friends of Casco Bay’s office is currently located in South Portland, Maine, in the greater Portland region. Portland is a diverse oceanfront city in southern Maine offering a vibrant cultural scene and easy access to the state’s many recreational opportunities. 100% of our staff are vaccinated against COVID-19 and we expect our ED to be, too.

 

Start date

As soon as possible upon job offer.

Application Instructions

Cover letter, resume, and writing sample in response to the following prompt, not to exceed 500 words (writing sample is for use in the application process only): What role does a regional nonprofit environmental group have in confronting the global threat of climate change?

Email your application as a single PDF document to searchcommittee [at] cascobay [dot] org by January 2, 2022. Screenings and interviews will be conducted initially by phone and online; finalists will be interviewed in person as CDC guidelines allow. No phone calls please.

About Casco Bay

Casco Bay encompasses 14 coastal communities, including two of Maine’s largest cities, Portland and South Portland, and two of Maine’s newest towns, Long Island and Chebeague Island. Casco Bay is both a working waterfront—a port of call for cruise ships, oil tankers, and container ships—and a scenic postcard of historic forts, stalwart lighthouses, secluded anchorages, and many islands.

We are home to the Casco Baykeeper

Baykeeping is our mission put into practice: acting to improve and protect the environmental health of Casco Bay. Our Baykeeping Program exists to advocate for solutions to environmental challenges facing the Bay.

30 Years of Friends of Casco Bay

This timeline highlights our biggest victories as well as some of the most significant moments of Friends of Casco Bay’s history over the past three decades. 

Looking back and looking ahead: leadership at Friends

Dear Friends,

It has already been three weeks since we gathered with 200 Friends of the Bay to celebrate the career, contributions, and retirement of our longtime Executive Director, Cathy Ramdsell. Cathy’s send-off party, held outdoors at Portland Yacht Services’ boatyard, marked our first in-person event since the onset of the pandemic. It was heartwarming and rejuvenating to see so many supporters, partners, and colleagues after so much time apart. Cathy shared it meant the world to her that we could all be together for this watershed moment. You can view photos and revisit that special evening here.

So what’s next?

Friends of Casco Bay’s Board of Directors will officially launch the search for our next Executive Director soon. As Board President Sandy Marsters has said, “We are grateful that Cathy waited for our organization to reach its current state of maturity and stability before moving on to the next phase of her life. Organizationally, we are stronger than ever: our finances are sound, we have a team of interdisciplinary staff producing incredible work, and our visibility is at an all-time high.”

In the meantime, the board has appointed me to serve as Interim Director. Having worked with our exceptional staff, board members, and community since 2006, and knowing our collective passion for Casco Bay, I am honored to serve our organization during this transition.

Here are some examples of the incredible efforts our staff and volunteers have pursued over the past few weeks.

While we were organizing Cathy’s retirement party, we were also responding to an oil spill at Willard Beach in South Portland. The beach was closed for three days as state, local, and private cleanup teams removed 2,000 pounds of contaminated material. Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca toured the beach soon after the spill was reported. You can read about Ivy’s experience at the cleanup here.

The spill was a stark reminder that protecting the health of the Bay requires vigilance.

This is why we are delighted to have more than 375 volunteer Water Reporters helping us keep watch over Casco Bay. Some Water Reporters recently took a field trip with Ivy and Community Engagement Coordinator Sarah Lyman to the Mere Point Boat Launch to share how they all could be better stewards. If you volunteer your time as a Water Reporter, thank you. If you want to join this observing network, we would love to have you aboard. You can learn more here.

As autumn begins, we are concluding our first summer with three Continuous Monitoring Stations in the water, gathering data every hour on a changing Casco Bay. These data have already begun to offer new insights about our waters. The data is used in our efforts to reduce pollution and help our communities be more resilient to the effects of climate change. To learn about these insights and what else Ivy and Staff Scientist Mike Doan observed this field season, keep an eye out for our next Casco Bay Matters event.

September is coastal cleanup month. Our community members are taking to our coast to pick up trash and litter. In the process they are helping to protect wildlife, collect data for marine debris research and advocacy efforts, and keeping our shores cleaner and safer. Click here for ways you can join them.

Your support means more to us than ever. We look forward to keeping you updated about our search for new leadership and about our work ahead. Thank you for caring about the health of Casco Bay.

With appreciation,

Will Everitt
Interim Director
Friends of Casco Bay

Photos by: Kevin Morris, Ivy Frignoca, and Glenn Michaels

Celebrating Cathy Ramsdell

After 18 years of serving as our Executive Director at Friends of Casco Bay, Cathy Ramsdell retired on September 2, 2021. In honor of Cathy and her leadership, we hosted a celebration on August 26. Cathy arrived to the party by boat. At the event, staff and board shared reflections on Cathy’s leadership and Gulf of Maine poet Gary Lawless read his poem, “For Casco Bay, For Us.

Celebrating Cathy Ramsdell – A Retirement Party

Executive Director Cathy L. Ramsdell is retiring

A letter from Cathy:

Dear Friends,

I have news to share with you today. I have decided to retire.

I am elated to have spent the better part of the past two decades serving as Executive Director of Friends of Casco Bay. When I say “the better part of the past two decades,” I mean that in every way. Friends of Casco Bay has been my top priority and I am delighted to have been able to play a part in making a difference; together we have accomplished so much.

It won’t surprise you to know that I tried to plan the timing of my retirement in a way that would be optimal for Friends, not just for me. That moment is now.

Our three Continuous Monitoring Stations are positioned strategically to monitor water quality hourly, year-round, allowing us to hear what the Bay is telling us about how conditions are changing. We have a fund dedicated to supporting this work over the next decade, and it is gratifying to know that we will continue to “listen” to the Bay for years to come. Our Casco Baykeeper is tackling the regulatory environment in unique ways to improve water quality and help build coastal resilience in the face of climate change. And, community members around the Bay are becoming citizen steward Water Reporters, documenting all kinds of issues and changing conditions, and their reports are getting the attention of environmental and enforcement agencies.

Our mission is durable, our approach is collaborative, and our efforts have led to many wins for the Bay while we have built a resilient, responsive organization that knows how to evolve. The balance sheet is strong, and the staff and board are working together better than ever.

I cannot imagine a more wholesome time for my departure, or a more dedicated and experienced group of people than our board and staff to guide Friends of Casco Bay into the next phase of its organizational life.

Let me take this moment to Thank You. Each person who has worked with us in any capacity has helped make my job easier and more fulfilling. My heart is full of gratitude for the special moments, the challenges and the accomplishments that together we have been able to experience.

It is impossible to imagine what each day will be like not interacting with my colleagues on the staff and on the board. I have learned so much from each one over the years.

I will express my appreciation by continuing to invest in the work of Friends of Casco Bay, both by contributing financially on an annual basis, and by joining the Anchor Society to make Friends a beneficiary of my estate. The Anchor Society has many ways we can make planned gifts that make good sense, so please consider joining me in this.

As Friends of Casco Bay begins to envision new leadership for this next exciting phase, I too am beginning to try to envision life in the future without Friends of Casco Bay top of mind.

I look forward to seeing what adventures lie ahead. Maybe I’ll start by watching the fall migrations, or sitting down to write more often, with whimsy or intent. I have pieces of poems everywhere, and maybe I can get back to work on those books, the one on my dad’s investigations into metaphysics and the other on the challenges of our remote work on seabird colonies in the Bering Strait. I’ll have time to follow the development of big weather fronts if I feel like it, and time to have long talks and go on long walks in special spots around the Bay. And then there is simply being instead of doing . . . I think I’ll start there.

In the meantime, I’ll know Friends is in good hands.

With much love,
Cathy

Cathy L. Ramsdell
Executive Director
Friends of Casco Bay

A message from our Board President

On a recent evening while Cathy and I were discussing her retirement, Cathy reflected that looking back on all of her years with Friends of Casco Bay, it feels good to think that she may have made a difference. In response, I retorted that this comment may have been the understatement of her career. 

Cathy’s leadership over the past 18 years has brought more success to our organization and to the health of Casco Bay than I could ever summarize. As Executive Director, Cathy ushered Friends toward our exceptionally strong financial footing and organizational structure, while leading our staff and infusing our program work with her lifelong passion for the marine environment. Today, Casco Bay is cleaner, more protected, and healthier thanks to Cathy’s dedication to our work. 

Cathy’s retirement timing is impeccable. Organizationally, we are stronger than ever: our finances are sound, we have a team of interdisciplinary staff producing incredible work, and our visibility is at an all-time high. Cathy’s presence and perspective will certainly be missed, and we are so grateful that she has waited for our organization to reach its current state of maturity and stability before moving on to the next phase of her life. We will launch a search for our next Executive Director after taking some time to reflect on what we have achieved together and the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead. 

Thank you, Cathy, for your service to our organization, our community, and above all else, the marine waters that define our home: Casco Bay. 

Andrew “Sandy” Marsters
President, Board of Directors 
Friends of Casco Bay

Save the Date! Cathy’s retirement party

In honor of Cathy and her leadership, we are throwing a celebration and we would love for you to join us.

On Thursday, August 26, we will gather outside at Portland Yacht Services for our first in person gathering in 18 months! We will be sending out more information about Cathy’s party soon. In the meantime we welcome you to RSVP online, here.

RSVP

You’re invited to our Members Annual Meeting

Friends of Casco Bay will be hosting the Members Annual Meeting on Tuesday July 20, from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

We will celebrate our collective victories for Casco Bay over the past year, vote on term renewals for some members of the Board of Directors, and together consider the work ahead as we continue our efforts to protect the health of our coastal waters. We will share details about an in-person event we are planning in August — our first in-person event in more than 19 months.

Register Now

What: Friends of Casco Bay 2021 Members Annual Meeting

When: Tuesday, July 20, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Where: This will be an online event. You must register to attend.

Materials for the event:

990 Friends of Casco Bay
Financial Statements
Annual Report
Our Financial Information
2020 Annual Meeting Minutes

Thank you for caring about Casco Bay!

Why does Casco Bay’s water look so clear?

Peering over the side of the R/V Joseph E. Payne, Staff Scientist Mike Doan could see schools of small fish swimming in the water below, while the red hood of a lion’s mane jellyfish floated by on the other side of our Baykeeper boat. What caught Mike’s eye, however, was not the sight of marine life, but rather the fact that his view was unobstructed: for this time of year, the waters of Casco Bay are exceptionally clear.

There are many factors that can affect the clarity of the water in Casco Bay. One major determinant is the abundance of phytoplankton – the tiny marine plants at the base of the ocean food web. Just like plants on land, phytoplankton contain chlorophyll, the green pigment that enables photosynthesis. When phytoplankton are abundant the Bay is a greenish-blue hue. In their absence, the water is often clear and bluer, reflecting the color of the sky above.

The importance of phytoplankton to the health of Casco Bay and the world at large is difficult to overstate. Globally, phytoplankton are estimated to produce 50 percent of the oxygen in the air we breathe. In addition, phytoplankton are key in the food web as they are grazed on by zooplankton, which in turn are fed on by small fish and progressively larger animals. In short, tiny phytoplankton have an oversized impact, providing foundational support for nearly all marine life.

The spring phytoplankton blooms in 2019 and 2021 each peaked in February and trailed off into March. In contrast to these earlier blooms, the spring blooms of 2018 and 2020 were larger in magnitude, with each peaking in March and carrying over into April. This variability may be typical or a sign of changing conditions in Casco Bay – only more data will tell.

Phytoplankton derive their name from the Greek words “phyto” (plant) and “plankton” (wandering, drifting) because they are unable to swim against the flow of the water and instead drift where currents carry them. As phytoplankton have no choice but literally “to go with the flow,” their activity and abundance fluctuate throughout the year as the characteristics and properties of water quality change with the seasons.

As we reported in March, spring in Casco Bay kicks off with a phytoplankton bloom. Warmer waters, more sunlight from longer days, and increased nutrient availability from melting snow and runoff are among the factors that create ideal conditions for this seasonal boom in phytoplankton activity. The spring bloom declines as phytoplankton deplete the available nutrients from the water and are consumed by zooplankton.

We track phytoplankton blooms in Casco Bay by measuring chlorophyll levels at our Continuous Monitoring Stations. This year, our data suggest the spring phytoplankton bloom occurred early, peaking in February and trailing off into March. Our data show a similar pattern in 2019. These early blooms stand in contrast to the larger spring blooms of 2018 and 2020, both of which peaked in March and carried over into April.

“Science has shown there is variability in the timing, duration, and size of spring phytoplankton blooms, so these ‘early’ blooms we’re seeing in our data may be entirely typical,” says Mike. “At the same time, factors like weather, water temperature, and ocean chemistry have large effects on phytoplankton, so marine scientists are concerned that spring blooms may be sensitive to climate change. Because phytoplankton are at the base of the marine food web, a significant change to the timing of the phytoplankton bloom could have implications for every level of Casco Bay’s ecosystem.”

If climate change is affecting the spring phytoplankton bloom in Casco Bay, we will be among the first to know. While Maine has decades of data that show the temperatures of our coastal waters are increasing and that our seas are rising, identifying trends in seasonal phenomena such as the spring bloom requires a detailed, long-term data set – just like the data we are collecting with our Continuous Monitoring Stations. We can track phytoplankton blooms in addition to some of the factors that impact them, such as water temperature or the quantity of spring runoff.

“We’re still in the beginning stages of this effort,” says Mike. “With five years of data from one station, we’re beginning to get a sense of the seasonal changes we can expect to see in the Bay. As more data accumulates, we may have a deeper understanding of how climate change is contributing to changing conditions in the water. With these scientifically grounded insights, we’ll be better prepared to advocate for the policies and practices that will protect the health of the Bay.”

Mike deploys our Portland Harbor Continuous Monitoring Station

Continuous Monitoring Stations are Game Changer

Mike deploys our Portland Harbor Continuous Monitoring Station
Mike deploys our Portland Harbor Continuous Monitoring Station

More than 700 Friends have contributed $1.5 million to help maintain three stations for a decade.

Casco Bay is invaluable to the economy and quality of life in Maine. Our coastal waters provide us with food, recreation, transportation, inspiration, and economic opportunities.

But Casco Bay is changing and changing quickly.

How is climate change impacting Casco Bay? Is the Bay getting warmer? Are our waters acidifying? How can we continue to protect the health of Casco Bay for generations to come?

Addressing these questions involves collecting water quality data on a frequent basis and for a long time. In 2019, we created the Climate Change and Casco Bay Fund for Technology, Monitoring, and Community Engagement to launch and maintain three Continuous Monitoring Stations around the Bay and communicate changing conditions to the public. This winter we reached our goal of raising $1.5 million, thanks to more than 700 Friends who donated to the Fund, making our plan a reality.

In March, we launched a new station in eastern Casco Bay in Harpswell’s Cundys Harbor. And, as the photo above shows, in May we deployed our new Portland Harbor station. They complement our existing station located at the coastal center of the Bay in Yarmouth, collecting data hourly on how the Bay is changing, 365 days a year.*

“With climate change already impacting the Bay, the launch of these stations is a game changer for us,” says Executive Director Cathy Ramsdell. “Their steady streams of data will strengthen our reporting to the community and bolster our advocacy and stewardship efforts.”

Staff Scientist Mike Doan designed our Continuous Monitoring Stations, affectionately known as our “cages of science.” Oceanographic equipment in the cages collects data on temperature, acidity, dissolved oxygen, carbon dioxide, chlorophyll, dissolved organic matter, turbidity, salinity, and water depth.

“With three stations working at once, the science only gets better from here,” says Mike. “The Portland Harbor location is key because it is in the most heavily used part of the Bay. In eastern Casco Bay, water quality may be influenced by the Kennebec River, and our Harpswell station will track that. Across the board, these stations are deepening our knowledge of what is happening in Casco Bay.”

Data from the stations are available here.

To commemorate the launch of our two new Stations and the completion of the Climate Change and Casco Bay Fund that is making this all possible, please join us for an online Casco Bay Matters event to celebrate! On Wednesday, June 16, from 5:30-6:15 p.m., Staff Scientist Mike Doan will share and compare, for the first time, data from all three Continuous Monitoring Stations.

Mike will be joined by Executive Director Cathy Ramsdell and Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca to discuss how these new stations will enhance our advocacy on behalf of Casco Bay for years to come.

We hope you can join us!

What: Celebrating Data From Our New Continuous Monitoring Stations — A Casco Bay Matters Event

When: Wednesday, June 16, from 5:30-6:15 p.m.

Please register to attend this online event.

Register Now

 

 *We remain grateful that the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership has supported the launch and maintenance of our initial station.

Join us: new stations, a celebration, and data!

As spring settles on Casco Bay, ospreys return to their nests, and alewives leave the sea and swim upriver to spawn in freshwater.

The arrival of spring has always brought seasonal shifts to Casco Bay, but today climate change and human influences are impacting our coastal waters at a scale and pace we do not fully understand. That is why we are expanding our array of Continuous Monitoring Stations to monitor changing conditions in three regions of Casco Bay, every hour of every day, 365 days a year.

In March, we launched a new Continuous Monitoring Station in Harpswell’s Cundys Harbor to track conditions unique to the embayments and coves of eastern Casco Bay. Today, we launched our Portland Harbor Station to monitor water quality in the Bay’s busiest and most populated region. These two new Stations join our original Continuous Monitoring Station located at the coastal center of the Bay off Yarmouth.

To commemorate the launch of our two new Stations and the completion of the Climate Change and Casco Bay Fund that is making this all possible, please join us for an online Casco Bay Matters event to celebrateOn Wednesday, June 16, from 5:30-6:15 p.m., Staff Scientist Mike Doan will share and compare, for the first time, data from all three Continuous Monitoring Stations.

Register Now

Mike will be joined by Executive Director Cathy Ramsdell and Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca to discuss how these new stations will enhance our advocacy on behalf of Casco Bay for years to come.

We hope you can join us!

What: Celebrating Data From Our New Continuous Monitoring Stations — A Casco Bay Matters Event

When: Wednesday, June 16, from 5:30-6:15 p.m.

Please register to attend this online event.

Register Now

Welcome our new Staff Writer!

Welcome aboard, Robby!

Our new Staff Writer brings experience translating science and policy into community news

Friends of Casco Bay is delighted to announce the hiring of Robby Lewis-Nash as our Staff Writer. Tasked with translating our water quality data and policy positions into stories to inform and educate Casco Bay’s communities, Robby brings his journalistic experience covering environmental issues across Maine and an academic background in ecological science.

Following undergraduate coursework in biology and disease ecology, Robby stepped into the field of environmental writing, reporting on pollution and environmental justice at the state and local levels. This past summer he covered out-of-state waste piling up at Maine’s largest landfill and its potential to contaminate the Penobscot River and investigated the decades-long drinking water crisis at the Passamaquoddy Water District in Downeast, Maine. In December, he covered Maine CDC’s analysis of newly released air quality data showing an excess of airborne carcinogens in Portland and South Portland associated with emissions from local storage tank farms.

“With Robby’s track record of translating scientific data, policy, and environmental justice into compelling stories Maine communities can use, we are thrilled to have him join our team,” said Cathy Ramsdell, Executive Director of Friends of Casco Bay. “As we continue our core work monitoring and advocating for the environmental health of Casco Bay, communicating what we are learning from the science is paramount to exploring with our community what we need to do together to identify policies and actions to mitigate the effects of climate change.”

“As a part of the generation born into a world anticipating the impacts of climate change, I’ve long grappled with the existential threat posed by this crisis,” said Robby. “Rising sea levels, warming oceans, and the effects of climate change are too often considered through a global lens. I’m excited to tell stories that illuminate the local context of these world-wide phenomena, and to bring a sense of urgency to the work of protecting the health of Casco Bay.”

If you want to welcome Robby aboard, send your well-wishes to him by replying to this email. We will share your greetings with him!

Our top 10 moments of 2020

As this very odd year comes to a close, let’s celebrate the large and small ways our community helped us protect the health of Casco Bay in 2020. Here are our top ten for the year:

1.) On December 2, the Maine Climate Council released its four-year Climate Action Plan, “Maine Won’t Wait.” We are heartened that the plan sets a roadmap for achieving carbon neutrality in Maine by 2045 and includes important mitigation measures to help coastal communities adapt to looming changes.

2.) Our volunteer Water Reporters were chosen as CommUNITY Champions. More than 240 volunteers are helping us keep watch over the health of the Bay.

3.) Gulf of Maine Poet Gary Lawless wrote the poem, “For Casco Bay, For Us,” in honor of our 30th anniversary. You can read the poem here and hear Gary read it at our Celebrating Water event in July, hosted by Executive Director Cathy Ramsdell.

4.) The South Portland City Council passed a groundbreaking fertilizer ordinance to promote soil health and to protect Casco Bay from nitrogen pollution.

5.) In October, Staff Scientist Mike Doan and Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca shared what they saw on the Bay this field season during What Casco Bay is Telling Us: A Casco Bay Matters Event.  Ivy also hosted a Casco Bay Matters event earlier this year about the Maine Climate Council.

6.) Knack Factory made this short documentary about our work in honor of our 30th anniversary. If you liked that film, watch this behind the scenes montage about how it was made!

7.) We were delighted that Royal River Conservation Trust selected Executive Director Cathy Ramsdell and Friends of Casco Bay as recipients of their Conservation Champion Award.

8.) On Facebook, this huge lion’s mane jellyfish and this beautiful rainbow were our two most shared images from this year.

9.) We launched the public phase of our $1.5 million Climate Change and Casco Bay Fund. We are now less than $15,000 from crossing the finish line! And we will soon be launching two more continuous monitoring stations, thanks to the Fund!

10.) While we couldn’t celebrate our 30th anniversary in person, we were honored to have these community partners reflect on our success over the past three decades. We also took a trip down memory lane by scrolling through this timeline of our biggest victories and milestones.

We look forward to keeping you updated in the New Year. Thank you for being a Friend of Casco Bay.