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Join us for a conversation about visual storytelling and Casco Bay

Visual Storytelling and Casco Bay: A Conversation with Knack Factory

30 Years of Friends of Casco Bay

In honor of our 30th anniversary, the creative agency Knack Factory made a short film about Friends of Casco Bay’s work.

Join us on the evening of December 2 to see the film they made and to hear a conversation with the filmmakers. Alex Steed, a partner at the agency, and Lindsay Heald, the producer and director of our film, will talk about what inspires them as visual storytellers and share some behind the scenes moments making our film.

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What: Visual Storytelling and Casco Bay: A Conversation with Knack Factory

Who:

Alex Steed, Producer and Partner at Knack Factory — Alex is a storyteller, writer, and co-creator and co-host of the podcast Why Are Dads?

Lindsay Heald, Producer and Photographer at Knack Factory — Lindsay specializes in documentary shoots and has been passionate about photography since high school.

When: Wednesday, December 2, 6-6:45 p.m.

Where: Online! You must register to join this event.

This event will take place via Zoom. We will send you instructions for joining the event after you register. We would love you to join us.

Register Now

 

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What Casco Bay is telling us

We had a lively and informative What Casco Bay is telling us: a Casco Bay Matters Event as more than 100 Friends joined us for the conversation. Here is a video of the event, for those of you who were not able to attend live or would like to relisten.

If you don’t have time to watch the entire event, here are some key moments that you may want to check out:

In this 3½ minute clip, Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca shares her observations on what the Bay was like during this very strange year.

Staff Scientist Mike Doan shares temperature data from our Continuous Monitoring Station (2½ minutes).

Mike explains how we can get a sense of the productivity of the base of the food chain and offers his thoughts as to why our waters have been so clear this season (3 minutes).

Ivy thanks our volunteer Water Reporters for the many ways they have helped us keep watch on the health of the Bay (2½ minutes).

Ivy reflects on what we must do to confront the impacts of climate change on the Bay (2 ½ minutes).

Last but not least, Cathy, Ivy, and Mike explain how our Climate Change and Casco Bay Fund is a game-changer for our work (4 minutes). [We are delighted that we have raised 94% of our $1.5 million goal for the Fund, with the help of many of you. If you have not yet made a contribution to the Fund, help us past the finish line!]

Join us for What is Casco Bay telling us?

This year has been unprecedented. Casco Bay is exhibiting changing conditions that may impact our community, marine heritage, and our economy in years to come.

Join Executive Director Cathy Ramsdell, Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca, and Staff Scientist Mike Doan for a conversation about what we have been seeing out on the Bay this year, what our data are telling us, and what we, as a community and a state, need to do to address some of the impacts of climate change on the Bay.

On Wednesday, October 21, grab your lunch, log on to Zoom, and join the conversation.

You must register to join this event. We would love you to join us.

Register Now

What: What Casco Bay Is Telling Us: A Casco Bay Matters Event

When: Wednesday, October 21, 12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m.

This event will take place via Zoom. We will send you instructions for joining the event after you register.

Celebrating Water

What a special evening we had for Celebrating Water – 30 Years of Friends of Casco Bay: A Film, A Poem, and A Conversation with Gary Lawless on July 27! Thank you to all who joined us for this one-of-a-kind event.

If you missed the event — or if you want to share it with some friends — you can watch the video of the celebration above.

We were delighted that Gulf of Maine Poet Gary Lawless joined us for this special event and took time for our conversation about the environment, art, and inspiration. You can read Gary’s poem, “For Casco Bay, For Us,” below.

It was wonderful to share Knack Factory’s film in honor of our 30th anniversary. You can watch the film here.

Special thanks to Friends of Casco Bay’s own Sara Biron for allowing us to use her paintings in promotion of this event. You can find out more about Sara and her art here.

Cathy spoke about our Climate Change and Casco Bay Fund for Technology, Science, and Community Engagement. You can learn about our plans over the next decade, and make a donation to support the Fund.

 

Internationally-renowned Gulf of Maine poet Gary Lawless wrote the poem below in honor of Friends of Casco Bay’s 30th Anniversary. Friends of the Bay heard the first (and second!) reading of this poem during our Celebrating Water – 30 Years of Friends of Casco Bay event on July 27, 2020.

For Casco Bay, for Us

By Gary Lawless

 

rising in the mountains, the water,

finding its way

from granite to the bay

we are water

and we want to flow

flow through our lives

here a forest, here

a town, flowing, down –

here are rocks, falls –

we fall, at the end,

at the mouth

into a larger body,

our body, body of

water, to become

to become more than we are –

where the future flows

into the sea,

and all that you see

we are water

we are patterns in water,

currents, eddies, we

pool and move

on, we flow –

how many rivers flow

into the bay

how many streams

into the rivers

where does the rain go

where does the wind go

bays to the ocean

how much moonlight

touches the water

how many fish

find their way home

we are water

and we want to flow –

in beauty, in light,

in whatever weather

the rocks are singing

as water passes over

it is high tide

and our hearts are full

it is low tide

and we are waiting

we have been waiting for you

for thousands of years

we are water

the water is the bay

the wind is the bay

the fish, the birds, the plants,

we are the bay

what happens to water

happens to us

we are water

and we want to flow, saying

this is our body and

we are home

we rise as water rises

we fall as water falls

we are water

we are the bay

we are water

we are the bay

 

About Gary Lawless:
Gary, originally from Belfast/Penobscot Bay, is the award-winning author of 21 poetry collections. In addition to sharing his own writings as a bio-regional poet, Gary has long worked to encourage others to bring their voices into the wider community. He has empowered combat veterans, homeless people, immigrants, refugees, adults with disabilities, and prison inmates to write poetry and publish their works. In honor of his poetry and his community work, the Maine Humanities Council awarded Gary the 2017 Constance H. Carlson Public Humanities Prize, the University of Southern Maine has given him an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, and the Emily Harvey Foundation has offered him two residencies in Venice, Italy. He and Beth Leonard opened Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick 40 years ago as a community hub.

 

Join us in looking back and looking ahead

This year, Friends of Casco Bay is celebrating its 30th anniversary–and you can join us in observing this occasion in two ways.

First, be sure you are registered for our 30th Anniversary Members Annual Meeting, which will be held online next Tuesday, June 16, from 5 to 6 p.m [more information about the event is below]. 

 

Register

 

Second, take a stroll down memory lane by checking out this timeline that 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. We hope that you find our 30-year timeline as inspiring as we do. Your support, and the support of our volunteers, donors, and community members have made all these accomplishments possible. 

More information about Friends of Casco Bay’s 30th Anniversary Members Annual Meeting

When: Tuesday, June 16, 5 to 6 pm. While the event will begin at 5 pm, please log on and join us earlier as we gather together online, a little before 5 pm, for a special slideshow celebrating 30 years of protecting the health of Casco Bay.

Where: online using Zoom. You must register to take part in the event. Click here to register.

Who should attend: You! Our Annual Meeting is open to the entire community: our members, volunteers, supporters, professional colleagues, and all who love Casco Bay!

Thirty years ago, a small group of concerned citizens formed Friends of Casco Bay after a report identified the Bay as one of the most polluted regions in the nation. Since then, we have used a science-based, community-oriented approach to improve the health of our coastal waters. Our work goes on. And we don’t do this work alone – thank you for your input and support. We look forward to seeing you online on June 16.

 

Friends of Casco Bay’s 2020 Members Annual Meeting

 

Friends of Casco Bay’s Members Annual Meeting

In this 30 second video, Executive Director Cathy Ramsdell invites you to join us to celebrate 30 years of working with you to keep Casco Bay blue!

In honor of this auspicious occasion, we are hosting a couple of online events, and we want you to join us for the first, on Tuesday, June 16. You will hear from our Congressionals, vote our Board of Directors into office, share in our collective successes, and hear about our plans for the decade ahead.

 

Register

 

Friends of Casco Bay’s Members Annual Meeting

When: Tuesday, June 16, 5 to 6 pm. While the event will begin at 5 pm, please log on and join us earlier as we gather together online, a little before 5 pm, for a special slideshow celebrating 30 years of protecting the health of Casco Bay.

Where: online using Zoom. Click here to register.

Who should attend: You! Our Annual Meeting is open to the entire community: our members, volunteers, supporters, professional colleagues, and all who love Casco Bay!

Thirty years ago, a small group of concerned citizens formed Friends of Casco Bay after a report identified the Bay as one of the most polluted regions in the nation. Since then, we have used a science-based, community-oriented approach to improve the health of our coastal waters. Our work goes on. And we don’t do this work alone – thank you for your input and support. We look forward to seeing you online on June 16.

 

Register

 

Casco Bay Matters: Maine Climate Council, the online presentation 4/30/2020

We had a lively Casco Bay and the Maine Climate Council: A Casco Bay Matters Event last week! Here is a video of the event, for those of you who were not able to attend live or would like to relisten.

The results of the poll taken during the event reflect which coastal and marine strategies participants thought were the most important for the Climate Council to consider. In addition to the poll, many participants told us that all of the strategies are important to them.

Participants asked so many great questions that Cassy and I could not answer them all during the event. Please see the Q&A section below to see responses to the questions we did not have time to answer online.

If you have ideas or thoughts you would like to share with the Coastal and Marine Working Group of the Maine Climate Council, email me at ifrignoca [at] cascobay [dot] org by Friday, May 8th. I will collate the feedback and pass it on to the Working Group.

You can find a list of the Maine Climate Council’s upcoming public events on the Council’s webpage.

We hope you enjoyed learning about the Maine Climate Council process, the Coastal and Marine Working Group, the Working Group’s draft recommendations, and how these efforts connect to Casco Bay.

If you have feedback on our online presentation itself, please email keeper [at] cascobay [dot] org. We are always looking to improve.

You can make a donation to support our work to improve and protect Casco Bay anytime at cascobay.org/donate.

Thank you for helping us care for Casco Bay. Your interest and enthusiasm truly inspire me.

Warm regards,
Ivy Frignoca
Casco Baykeeper
Friends of Casco Bay

Questions from the event and answers:

Q: What type of monitoring is in place and what additions are planned?
A: This is a terrific and broad question, too large in fact to answer quickly or for me to know precisely all of the monitoring in place coast-wide in Maine.

The Science and Technical Subcommittee of the Maine Climate Council is producing reports that catalogue the state of our knowledge across sectors.

The Coastal and Marine Working Group is recommending monitoring and information exchange strategies to provide as much data as possible to decision makers.

We have included with the draft monitoring strategy example sources of existing data. Some broad examples of categories of coastal and marine data include fisheries landings, ocean chemistry data, nitrogen data, bacteria data, harmful algal blooms data, acreage of salt marsh habitat, and projections of the impacts of sea level rise.

Friends of Casco Bay has been monitoring the health of Casco Bay for 28 years. Researchers and state agencies are considering using our Continuous Monitoring Station as a model for coastal monitoring efforts in other areas of the state. You can read more about our monitoring efforts on our website.

Q: Are you looking at incentives for private owners of coastal marshes or public acquisition of these areas?
A: The Coastal and Marine Working Group is exploring ways to preserve salt marshes, and I will share your question with the ecosystem subcommittee of the Working Group.

Q: How can eelgrass bed “salvation” be worked on. I live at Willard Beach and remember that years ago there was such a bed offshore here.
A: According to recent mapping, Willard Beach still has a dense and extensive eelgrass bed. Eelgrass bed salvation depends on the cause of its demise. If an eelgrass bed is unhealthy or dying because of excess nitrogen entering the marine system due to human causes, we can work on eliminating or reducing the sources of nitrogen. This is not necessarily easy but can be done. If the demise is due to invasive green crab foraging, we face a different challenge. Green crabs have proven very difficult to control.

Q: I’m wondering if there’s been any discussion about sources of carbon from coastal and marine systems and whether/how those could be addressed? I get the impression that this working group focuses mostly on impacts from climate change rather than sources of carbon emissions. That makes a lot of sense, but I still wonder about the marine contributions.
A: Yes, the Coastal and Marine Working Group is tasked with considering sources of carbon from coastal and marine sources. My best understanding is that marine vessels make up a small percentage of total carbon emissions. Nonetheless, we are exploring options, such as port electrification. The Department of Environmental Protection recently updated a report on air emissions from marine vessels. Follow this link to view the report and learn how complicated this topic can be to regulate: https://www.maine.gov/dep/publications/reports/index.html

Q: Can you comment on where the focus is for the working group, blue carbon or emission reductions or some relative amount of ‘all of the above’? My concern with integrating blue carbon sequestration into climate policy is that people use those carbon sinks as a reason to not limit fossil fuel combustion, which is ultimately the only adaptation strategy that will work. Also, warming water temperatures, rising sea levels, etc, make blue carbon sequestration really difficult to quantify (it already is, as you know).
A: This is an astute question. We must reduce our greenhouse gas emissions significantly to achieve the mitigation goals set forth by statute. A lot of Maine’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation sources. The portion of those emissions attributed to marine vessels is fairly small. We are considering mitigation of those sources. The ecosystem subcommittee (of which I am a member) really liked the blue carbon strategy because of the complete suite of mitigation, resilience, and adaptation benefits derived from improving and protecting the health of our marshes and eelgrass beds. I agree that carbon sequestration alone will not solve the problem, and other working groups are developing detailed strategies for transportation, energy, buildings, and more, all designed to reduce our carbon footprint.

Q: How do any of these strategies dovetail with similar GMRI strategies and how they are structured?
A: The Maine Climate Council was created by state law and is an action plan for the state. I cannot answer how the plan may ultimately align with the work of GMRI (Gulf of Maine Research Institute) or others. GMRI is participating in the council, as are many other research and marine organizations around the state, including, for example, Friends of Casco Bay, Island Institute, Downeast Institute, Maine Sea Grant, and Bigelow Labortatory.

Q: Can you comment on the potential benefits to lobster habitat from kelp and other aquaculture? 
A: This is outside of my area of expertise. The fisheries and aquaculture subcommittee has experts who are exploring such questions. If you have information to share in this regard or would like me to try to connect you with the appropriate expert, please email me directly.

Q: Do you think there might be a better recognition in the world’s society as to how we should more rapidly approach “catastrophic risk” planning regarding climate change, perhaps as we should have approached the planning for a pandemic?
A: As a world, we are way behind on coordinated action to address the climate crisis. Through the Maine Climate Council, hundreds of researchers, advocates, and policy experts are working to do what we can at the state level. The four year state action plan intends to build upon existing efforts, foster action, and be rooted in sound science. We are heartened that municipalities, such as Portland and South Portland, are adopting plans for mitigating and adapting to climate change. At Friends of Casco Bay, we are advocating for local, regional, and national solutions. It will be up to all of us to work together on many different levels to tackle these issues.

Q: How can we help Friends of Casco Bay?
A: We’re glad you asked! We have many ways you can help. You can make a donation to our work. You can also help keep an eye on the changes happening around the Bay by volunteering as a Water Reporter.

Q: Do the Maine Climate Council and the Working Groups have an email feed to keep up with meetings and document releases?
A: Yes, the Maine Climate Council does. Visit
https://www.maine.gov/future/initiatives/climate/climate-council and scroll down, looking on the right-hand side of the page to find the sign-up form.

Q: Is Friends of Casco Bay looking at an electric boat?
A: Although we continue to explore ways to reduce our carbon footprint, we are not looking at an electric boat at present. We chose our inboard diesel Baykeeper boat back in 2012, because it provided a large, safe, efficient, and fast enough platform for us to do our work out on the Bay.

Q: Will Ivy’s slides be available on the Climate Council website?
A: No, however the recording of this event is available here: https://youtu.be/fWxc_hHyt_M

Happy Holidays from Friends of Casco Bay

 

In this season of giving, please receive our special thanks for helping to protect the health of Casco Bay.

2019 has been a banner year for us. We continue our work at the local level and with focus on the importance of our coastal waters. We have moved the needle toward a healthier, more protected Bay. Our work has resonated in communities around the Bay and beyond:

  • We worked with state legislators and other environmental groups to draft a bill to establish a state-funded marine advisory commission. This bill was integrated into the Governor’s comprehensive climate bill, which established the Maine Climate Council. Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca was invited to serve on the Climate Council’s Coastal and Marine Working Group.
  • We organized stakeholder meetings with legislators, resource harvesters, scientists, and concerned citizens, to help the Maine Ocean and Coastal Acidification Partnership write the report, “An Action Plan to Address and Adapt to Ocean Climate Change in Maine.” The report will be used as a resource and guide for Maine Climate Council’s Coastal and Marine Working Group.
  • We presented three programs, free and open to the public, on Climate Change, Ocean Acidification, and You, in our first-ever Casco Bay Matters series. Friends of Casco Bay staff members described the research, policies, and actions needed to help address threats from climate change to Maine’s marine economy and quality of life. More than 380 people in Portland, South Portland, and Brunswick came to hear what we had to say. They left armed with actions they could take to make a difference.
  • Nearly 200 volunteers have signed up as Water Reporters, our observing network for Casco Bay. You can check out their observations here.
  • We amped up our work to understand a changing Casco Bay through our Continuous Monitoring Station in Yarmouth, which collects data hourly, year-round. The station is well into its fourth year of data collection. We continue to spot-check the health of the Bay at 21 additional sites around the Bay. Check out our “Cage of Science’s” data at cascobay.org/our-work/science/continuous-monitoring-station.

We would not be effective if not for our volunteers, members and the local businesses and foundations that support our work. You are all Friends of the Bay.

As we look ahead to 2020, we invite you to our 30th anniversary celebration on April 29, 2020, at Ocean Gateway in Portland. Mark your calendar and save the date!

May the beauty of the season find its way into your heart — along with our gratitude.

Warmest regards,

Cathy L. Ramsdell, CPA
Executive Director

What Do Shopping Carts, Soggy Newspapers, and Cigarette Butts Have in Common?

They don’t belong in the Bay!

We have 285 volunteers to thank for removing these items from the coastline this year.

Community Engagement Coordinator Sarah Lyman and our college interns Alexis Burns and Corey Ackerson conducted 22 coastal cleanups. We had so many requests for community service projects that volunteers sometimes scoured the same location only four days apart. “Still,” said Sarah, “we always found a surprising amount of trash to pick up!”

Volunteers entered data into Clean Swell, an app that tallies the amount of debris as it is collected. From May to September, volunteers collected over 16,122 cigarette butts, 6,680 tiny plastic pieces, and 2,541 food wrappers.

They hauled off a shopping cart, clothing, lobster buoys, a wicker chair, fireworks, bundles of soggy newspapers, broken glass, and three sets of keys.

Despite the challenges and a certain gross factor (we supply Latex gloves, tongs to pick up dangerous material, and hand sanitizer), volunteers were enthusiastic about their service. Staff members from L.L.Bean participated in a cleanup of Back Cove in late August. Team leader Sarah Callender wrote to Sarah and Alexis afterward, “It was very gratifying to see the visual impact of our pickup, as well as to receive encouragement from people walking by. I think seeing us cleaning up the waterfront may inspire others not to toss that straw or candy wrapper. We were surprised that those tiny pieces of debris added up to 30 pounds of trash in two hours! The fact that Friends of Casco Bay does so many clean-ups speaks to how important their role is in our community.”

A busy year for our volunteers:

Water Reporter: 185 volunteers, 775 observations posted for the Casco Bay watershed

Coastal Cleanups: 22 cleanup events, 285 participants, 937 lbs. of trash

Storm Drain Stenciling: 4 events, 46 volunteers, 322 storm drains stenciled

If you are interested in participating in coastal cleanups, starting next April, email volunteer [at] cascobay [dot] org.

It was another wild and scenic crowd!

Attendees gather and socialize before the show at the Friends of Casco Bay Wild and Scenic Film Festival, November 2, 2019. Photo by Deb Dawson. 

A sold-out audience embarked on an adventure with Friends of Casco Bay as we hosted the 12th Annual SYRCL’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival on Saturday, November 2nd, at the University of Southern Maine/Portland.

Since 1989, Friends of Casco Bay has been working to improve and protect the environmental health of Casco Bay through advocacy, research, and community engagement. The event is a chance to share our enthusiasm for the environment—and inspire action and activism—with 500 other friends of Casco Bay. This event is the conservation organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year, thanks in large part to show sponsors 98.9 WCLZ, Ocean Navigator, Knack Factory, Yelp Maine, TD Bank, and Eddie Woodin & Woodin & Company Store Fixtures, Inc.

This year’s festival featured heroic firefighters battling a massive blaze that consumed 50,000 acres in the Pacific Northwest, a lonely bicyclist who set his sight on traversing Canada from Montreal to the Arctic, and biologists tramping through marsh and muck to trace one of the few remaining wildlife corridors across Florida.

Photos of the event, including this one, were taken by Deb Dawson. Click here to see more photos from the event.

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival on Tour is the largest film festival of its kind in the United States. The festival’s name recognizes the status of 39 miles of the South Yuba River in California as a Wild & Scenic river, a designation that guarantees it will be preserved in its free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations.

Many thanks to the volunteers, donors, and sponsors, the supporters who made it possible for us to host our 12th SYRCL’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival. Hope to see you again next year!

98.9 WCLZ
Ocean Navigator
Knack Factory
Yelp
TD Bank
Woodin & Company Store Fixtures, Inc.

BCM Environmental & Land Law, PLLC
IDEXX Laboratories, Inc.
LT’s Inc
Martin’s Point Health Care
Oakhurst Dairy
Sabre Yachts & Back Cove Yachts

Brunswick Dental Health Associates
Coffee By Design, Inc.
Maine Conservation Alliance/Maine Conservation Voters
Poole Group of Companies

Bath Savings Institution
Bayview Rigging & Sails
Cabot Creamery Cooperative
Dale Rand Printing
David Wood
Points East Publishing, Inc.
Pratt Abbott
Scott Simons Architects LLC
Sevee & Maher Engineers, Inc.
Starboard Advisors LLC
Water Resource Protection, City of South Portland
Yarmouth Boat Yard