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Harpswell sunset. Photo by Stephen G. Hobson “To be hopeful means to be uncertain about the future, to be tender toward possibilities, to be dedicated to change all the way down to the bottom of your heart.” – Rebecca Solnit

10 Ways to Get Ready for Earth Day

Earth Day is on Monday, April 22, 2024. Here at Friends of Casco Bay, while every day is an opportunity to advocate for and protect clean waters and healthy communities, Earth Day is our reminder that collectively we can take positive actions to help nature and inspire hope.

Harpswell sunset. Photo by Stephen G. Hobson “To be hopeful means to be uncertain about the future, to be tender toward possibilities, to be dedicated to change all the way down to the bottom of your heart.” – Rebecca Solnit

In this spirit, here are 10 ways to show up, aid, and honor this one precious Earth we share.


1) Be the eyes of the Bay.

Water Reporter Susan Woodman enjoys photographing the eelgrass at Willard Beach in South Portland. “It feels as though you’re contributing something and looking after the beach.”
Water Reporter Susan Woodman enjoys photographing the eelgrass at Willard Beach in South Portland. “It feels as though you’re contributing something and looking after the beach.”

Become a Water Reporter. Volunteer Water Reporters help us act as the eyes of Casco Bay. Water Reporters use their smartphones to photograph algal blooms, sea level rise, pollution, eelgrass, wildlife sightings, and other notable observations from on and around the Bay. Their photos are shared with our staff through the Water Reporter app, creating an archive of observational data on how the Bay may be changing over time. Sign up here.


2). Learn about superhero seagrasses.

Attend our upcoming Coffee with the Casco Baykeeper: Eelgrass happening online Thursday, April 25, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. Friends of Casco Bay is part of a two-year eelgrass pilot project to monitor eelgrass meadows, study why they are shrinking, and, ultimately, test restoration solutions. Register to attend and learn more about this vital marine plant and the pilot project.


3) Find out what you can do about stormwater pollution by watching our Coffee with the Casco Baykeeper video on stormwater. Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca and Community Organizer Sara Freshley have a conversation over coffee that focuses on the increasing impact stormwater has on Casco Bay and what Friends of Casco Bay is doing to help address this issue (sneak peek: it’s a lot!). They also share upcoming opportunities for you to use your voice to advocate for clean water.

 


4) Educate yourself about “forever chemicals” by watching our Coffee with the Casco Baykeeper video on PFAS in Casco Bay. PFAS are known as forever chemicals because they break down slowly in the environment. They are associated with serious health issues and can be found in many common products such as fast food packaging, nonstick pans, candy wrappers, and firefighting foam.

Coffee with Casco Baykeeper PFAS YouTube Thumbnail

Ivy Frignoca and Community Organizer Sara Freshley have a casual conversation about our partnership with Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences to sample for PFAS in Casco Bay. Ivy shares insights from what we learned during our first year of PFAS monitoring in Casco Bay and we also talk about what’s next in 2024.


5) Clean up our watershed. Put your gloves on, grab a bag, and help clean up the Casco Bay watershed.

Friends of Casco Bay volunteers, Andrea Martin, Steffy Amondi and Trish Peterson collect and log the different types of trash collected along the shore of Bug Light Park in South Portland.

Here are four cleanup events happening soon:

  • Coastal Cleanup hosted by Mere Point Oyster Co. and Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust in Brunswick on Saturday, April 20.

  • South Portland Annual Cleanup hosted by South Portland Land Trust at Mill Creek Park on Sunday, April 21.

  • Earth Day Beach Cleanup hosted by Casco Bay Cleanup Project and MaineHealth Sustainability Committee at the East End Beach in Portland on Monday, April 22.

  • Red Brook Cleanup Day hosted by the Sebago Chapter of Trout Unlimited and Maine Fly Guys in South Portland on Saturday, May 4.

Thank you to the businesses and organizations hosting these events.

If none of these events work for you, host your own cleanup! Picking up waste anywhere in the watershed region is helpful to the Bay – it doesn’t have to be on the coast.


6) Celebrate sustainable cities

The City of Portland is celebrating Earth Day on Saturday, April 20 with live music, food trucks, e-bike demos, composting, stories and more. Info here.


7) Drink a beer for the Bay this April.

We are thrilled to announce that our Friends at Allagash Brewing Company have selected Friends of Casco Bay as their Charitable Partner this month! What this means is that their tasting room team forwards all funds their guests add to their tabs directly to us all April long. So if you’re looking for a tasty way to support us, head over to Allagash, enjoy a beer, and be sure to add a little extra when paying your tab!


8) Take personal action.

There are a myriad of ways to walk more gently on the earth, heal the wounds of pollution, and be part of the solutions. Here are just a few ideas:

Remember to pick up after your pooch
Photo by Sam Bengs

• Remember to pick up after your pooch, and carry it out too.

• Green your ride by biking, walking, or carpooling.

• Stop using pesticides and fertilizers on your lawn.

• Get an energy audit on your home.

• Compost or use a service like Garbage to Garden.

• Eat local.

• Use less plastic.

And remember: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin


9) Share some Earth love!

Clammers in Casco Bay. Photo by Heidi Holloway
Clammers in Casco Bay. Photo by Heidi Holloway

Post a photo of you and the Bay, then tag @FriendsofCascoBay on Facebook or Instagram.


10) Take a moment to connect with Casco Bay and the watershed. 

One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, ‘What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?’  –Rachel Carson

Harpswell sunset. Photo by Stephen G. Hobson
Harpswell sunset. Photo by Stephen G. Hobson

 


 

distress flare, marine flare billowing orange smoke on water surface

Got Flares? Expired Marine Flare Disposal Day on Saturday, April 13

If you’re a boater with expired or used marine flares lying around, please don’t toss them in the trash or ocean. Dispose of marine flares properly with the help of the Maine Fire Marshal and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Expired Marine Flare Disposal Day, Saturday, April 13, 2024

Expired Marine Flare Disposal Day
Saturday, April 13
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
At three Hamilton Marine stores: Portland, Rockland and Searsport

Commercial and recreational boat owners are aware of the safety requirement to have visual distress signals on their boats. Most often, pyrotechnic marine flares are used to meet this need. But marine flares must be replaced with new ones 42 months after the date of manufacture. Unfortunately, disposing of expired flares is challenging.

Pyrotechnic flares contain perchlorates, chemicals that can quickly dissolve and contaminate ground and surface water. They are known to cause reproductive problems and the EPA considers them a carcinogen. Because they are a hazardous waste, flares cannot be disposed of in household garbage. Fortunately, Maine has authorized the State Fire Marshal to collect flares and dispose of them properly.

On Saturday, April 13, the Maine State Fire Marshal and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary are hosting a disposal day in partnership with Hamilton Marine. You can drop off your expired flares at three locations:

In the parking lot, look for Coast Guard Auxiliary personnel, who will assist you.

 

You can also dispose of used and expired marine flares at Chase, Leavitt & Co. and Landing Boat Supply using their year-round flares dropbox, to be picked up by the Maine Fire Marshal. They will also be holding a week-long Open House with water safety demonstrations, a food truck, music, and more during the week of April 8-13Chase, Leavitt & Co is located at 84 Cove St Portland, ME.

Coffee with the Casco Baykeeper Eelgrass

Join us for Coffee with the Casco Baykeeper: Eelgrass

Join us on Thursday, April 25 for our last Coffee with the Casco Baykeeper event of the season. This time we’ll be talking about our eelgrass pilot project.

Like coral reefs, eelgrass meadows provide a variety of critical services for our oceans and planet:

Eelgrass meadows in Casco Bay declined in size by 54 percent between 2018-2022, a loss described as “staggering” by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection in a January 2023 report. Many factors can contribute to loss of eelgrass. Nitrogen pollution is one of them, and unlike other contributing factors such as warming water temperatures, the amount of nitrogen in the Bay can be controlled at a local level. Photo credit: Steve Karpiak

• Nursery habitat for fish, lobster, horseshoe crabs, and other shellfish
• Vital food source for birds and fish
• Stabilizes sediments, reducing erosion
• Raises pH levels and buffers the effects of ocean acidification
• Carbon capture, helping reduce the effect of climate change

We became alarmed when we learned that 54% of this critical habitat had disappeared between 2018 and 2022. This year we are partnering with other groups to launch an eelgrass pilot project to better understand what’s happening and explore how to restore eelgrass habitats. This is a collaborative project between Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, Friends of Casco Bay, Manomet, and Team Zostera.

On Thursday, April 25, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. grab a cup of coffee and hop online to join Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca and Community Organizer Sara Freshley for an early morning conversation about our eelgrass pilot project. Whether you’re cozy on your couch, doing your morning routine, or listening on your phone while you walk the dog, join us for this informative event.

What: Coffee with the Casco BaykeeperPFAS
When: Thursday, April 25, 8:00 to 8:45 a.m.
Where: Zoom, Register here to receive a link to attend

 

 

Coffee with the Casco Baykeeper webinar on PFAS

Coffee with the Casco Baykeeper: PFAS video

Coffee with the Casco Baykeeper: PFAS video

In this video from our Coffee with the Casco Baykeeper series, Ivy Frignoca and Community Organizer Sara Freshley have a casual early morning conversation about our partnership with Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences to sample for PFAS in Casco Bay. Ivy shares insights from what we learned during our first year of PFAS monitoring in Casco Bay. Sara and Ivy also talk about what’s next in 2024.

PFAS are chemicals that are used in a wide variety of products from clothing to firefighting foam. They break down slowly so they build up in our environment and are detrimental to human health. Last year, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and Friends of Casco Bay partnered as we conducted the first study of PFAS in the waters of Casco Bay. Ivy will share an overview of PFAS monitoring at Friends of Casco Bay’s seasonal sites in 2023. Sara and Ivy will then talk about our more extensive plans to monitor the Bay and lower watershed for PFAS in 2024. All of this work is in collaboration with Bigelow Laboratory scientists, who developed the protocols and are analyzing the samples. We are excited to share our plans with you and how the data will help further our understanding of the health of our waters.

PFAS Sampling Results in Casco Bay

Last updated: April 17, 2024

From the deck of our Casco Baykeeper boat R/V Joseph E. Payne, science staff from our organization and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences collected more than 100 PFAS samples at 18 sites across Casco Bay in 2023.

This is the most complete dataset yet of the concentrations of PFAS pollutants, so-called forever chemicals, in the waters of Casco Bay. Their results show widespread — but not alarming — levels of several of these chemicals across the region, highlighting the need for more research into the sources of PFAS and their possible impacts on the marine environment.

The first step in monitoring PFAS in Casco Bay

The results of this effort mark the first step of a multi-year, collaborative project to provide much-needed information on sources of these toxic chemicals and impacts to the coastal environment.

PFAS, which stands for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, have received significant attention in recent years, particularly in Maine. The state has emerged as a national leader in monitoring and regulating this persistent and commonly-used family of chemicals. However, until now, little had been done to track PFAS levels in Casco Bay’s marine waters.

A dynamic partnership

The latest results are the first phase of a multi-year study led by Bigelow Laboratory Senior Research Scientist Christoph Aeppli, Ph.D., in collaboration with Friends of Casco Bay staff. In 2023, the team collected water samples at Friends of Casco Bay’s seasonal monitoring sites. This year, the team plans to build upon this preliminary dataset to better understand the primary sources of PFAS into Casco Bay’s water and coastal sediment. That information, in turn, will help state agencies protect local water quality and respond to potential changes in federal regulations.

“We are delighted to partner with Bigelow Laboratory and their top-notch scientists,” says Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca. “The data we are collecting will complement existing monitoring of shellfish and fish tissues and discharges from wastewater treatment plants to give us a more complete understanding of PFAS levels in the Bay and whether there are areas that pose risks to the health of our waters and to people.”

As Dr. Aeppli notes, “PFAS compounds can travel through water, and we clearly have many different pathways for these chemicals to enter our waterways and flow into the estuary, including both small but powerful sources and widespread, diffuse sources.” Ivy offers, “Based on one year of study with six sampling events, we did not find alarming levels of certain PFAS compounds and cannot yet draw any conclusions from these results.” This year’s follow-up study will hone in on potential land-based sources.

Six months of sampling data from sites around Casco Bay were collected in 2023 by Bigelow Laboratory and Friends of Casco Bay scientists.
Six months of sampling data from sites around Casco Bay were collected in 2023 by Bigelow Laboratory and Friends of Casco Bay scientists.

PFAS found at all sites

PFAS were detected at all of the study’s monitoring sites. While there are no safe limits set for marine waters, all of our samples were lower than Maine’s interim drinking water standards. [Update on 4/17/24: The EPA finalized new and more stringent standards for drinking water on April 9, 2024. We understand that drinking water regulations are not the best framework to compare to marine waters since we don’t drink bay water. We are discussing how to evaluate the 2023 PFAS results and hope this continued study will help inform setting standards for PFAS in marine waters.] The levels appeared to dilute as offshore measurements were lower than those closer to shore.

The study did find elevated levels close to known sources, including the Brunswick Naval Air Station, an EPA Superfund site since 1987. Those levels decreased quickly further offshore. Levels were comparatively low in the waters around the heavily urbanized Portland area.

“Before, we didn’t even know how much PFAS there was or how long it takes to dilute in the water, and now we’ve identified some clear patterns across Casco Bay,” Dr. Aeppli said. “We can use that insight to begin a more in-depth study on the contributions of individual sources.”

The 2023 study was funded by Maine Sea Grant. All the samples were processed in Dr. Aeppli’s lab at Bigelow with a method capable of detecting 40 different PFAS compounds at concentrations akin to a single pinch of salt in a swimming pool.

The next phase will look at specific sources of PFAS

With a better understanding of the basic distribution and levels of PFAS across Casco Bay, Friends of Casco Bay and Bigelow Laboratory can now begin to focus on identifying the contributions of specific sources. They will also sample sediments to understand how these chemicals are accumulating in the near-shore environment. These efforts, which will continue through 2025, are supported, in part, by funding from the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Conversations with the public about PFAS

Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca and Science and Advocacy Associate Heather Kenyon are leading a stakeholder process to discuss results and hone the selection of monitoring sites for further study. The stakeholders include experts working across fields such as wastewater and stormwater management and shellfish health.

“We are grateful for Bigelow Laboratory’s leadership and partnership,” said Executive Director Will Everitt. “By working together with Chris Aeppli and his team this year, we can do a deeper dive into how PFAS may be getting into the Bay and work with decision-makers about what actions we collectively have to take to protect our coastal waters.”


Learn more at our Coffee with the Casco Baykeeper webinar

Invitation to Coffee with the Casco BayKeeper PFAS discussion

Learn more about Friends of Casco Bay’s ongoing data collection of PFAS in Casco Bay this Thursday, March 21 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. at our Coffee with the Casco Baykeeper webinar. Grab a cup of coffee and hop online to hear Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca and Community Organizer Sara Freshley discuss the results of this collaboration with Bigelow Laboratory.

What: Coffee with the Casco Baykeeper: PFAS
When: Wednesday, March 21, 8:00 to 8:45 a.m.
Where: Zoom, Register here to receive a link to attend

Film Fest for Casco Bay

Announcing this year’s date for Film Fest for Casco Bay: 
Saturday, November 2, 2024, 2-6 p.m. 

University of Southern Maine’s Abromson Auditorium, Portland

We hope to see you at our Film Fest for Casco Bay, an afternoon of movies curated by Maine Outdoor Film Festival. The event will feature an array of environmental and adventure films curated just for us. You won’t want to miss it!

We will also host a raffle for prizes such as local hand crafted goods, gift cards to local shops and eateries, art, Friends of Casco Bay hats and jackets, and even private boat cruises on Casco Bay!

What: Film Fest for Casco Bay

When: Saturday, November 2, 3-6:10 p.m. (doors open at 2 p.m.)

Where: University of Southern Maine’s Abromson Center, 88 Bedford Street, Portland

Our Top 10 Moments of 2023

As this year comes to an end, let’s reflect and celebrate the many ways that we worked together to protect the health of Casco Bay in 2023. Here are our top ten stories of the year:

1) We won a four-year moratorium on new sources of pollution into the lower Presumpscot River. The moratorium prevents the permitting of new industrial or wastewater discharges into the river near where it empties into Casco Bay. As the Presumpscot drains two-thirds of the Casco Bay watershed, this was a big win for our waters. Portland Press Herald wrote an in-depth story on this effort. Our lead advocate, Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca won the Chief Poulin Award for her work on the moratorium. Ivy is shown here receiving the award from Friends of the Presumpscot River board member, Will Plumley.

2) More than 100 of our volunteer Water Reporters deepened their knowledge about Casco Bay. Volunteer Water Reporters attended a wide array of meet-ups and trainings all around the Bay this year. Water Reporters spent time with experts and heard the most up-to-date information about living shorelines, marsh restoration, invasive species, and stormwater pollution.

3) The “Sensor Squad” is moving science forward for Casco Bay and all of Maine’s coastal waters. Good decisions are made using good data. Led, in part, by our Staff Scientist Mike Doan, the Sensor Squad is working to ensure we are using the most accurate climate change and acidification techniques and protocols we can. This work is a part of Maine Ocean Climate Collaborative, a coalition of scientists and marine organizations from the University of New Hampshire to the border of Maine and Canada working to improve climate change data collection. Friends of Casco Bay helps to lead the Collaborative.

4) Passamaquoddy Language Keeper Dwayne Tomah was the featured speaker at our Members Annual Meeting in August. He shared the Passamaquoddy word for ceremony, “olotahkewakon,” noting that our gathering was a ceremony for our mother earth. Dwayne’s refrain throughout the evening was “We are all in this together.” Watch the inspiring talk here.

5) We maintained the strength of the permit that regulates stormwater pollution from large urban communities. You may remember that we celebrated this stricter permit as our top story of 2022. Stormwater is one of the largest sources of pollution into Casco Bay. Since the permit that regulates urban stormwater went into effect in July 2022, we have been working to ensure that it is properly implemented. In November, the Maine Board of Environmental Protection agreed with us that the Maine Department of Environmental Protection must ensure that towns covered by the permit implement low-impact development ordinances that include nine strategies designed to reduce stormwater pollution from new construction and redevelopment.

6) The City of South Portland launched 100 Resilient Yards, providing a grassroots way to bring best practices in yard care directly to neighborhoods around the city. Residents and businesses who took part in the program were given technical and physical assistance to build healthy soils that protect Casco Bay. Experts and volunteers helped residents build rain gardens, grow pollinator gardens, and more. We hope other towns around the Bay look at this program as a model!

7) We organized 15 fun coastal cleanups, including one with the surf rock band Easy Honey and one with the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust. These cleanups gave community members a hands-on way to make a direct difference in the health of our waters by preventing waste and litter from being washed into the Bay.

8) We hired Community Organizer and Volunteer Coordinator Sara Freshley! Over the past 10 months, Sara has become an integral part of our team. She’s helped deepen the knowledge of our Water Reporters, organized storm drain stenciling and coastal cleanups, and worked to expand our outreach efforts.

Pile of expired flares9) We helped organize an expired flare collection event in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Casco Bay and the Maine State Fire Marshall. The event was a great success, collecting 1,945 expired marine flares. Marine flares are pyrotechnic devices that boaters can use as a distress signal in emergencies. They burn at high temperatures, posing a serious fire hazard for long-term storage. Flares also contain toxic chemicals that can contaminate water and soil. Due to these hazardous qualities, it is illegal to throw flares in the trash, and ill-advised to store them at home.

Scenic Category Winner 1st Place, Student Category Winner, Best of Show, by Ava McKinley

10) We got in touch with our artistic side! Our online event, Water as Inspiration, brought together three regional artists to draw the connections between creativity, the environment, and climate change. We had dozens of submissions to “Frame the Bay,” our first-ever photo contest at our Members Annual Meeting. And we shared the stage with filmmaker Maximillian Armstrong at our Film Fest for Casco Bay.

As YOU know, Casco Bay is an inspiration! Thank you for helping us protect this amazing place and for being a Friend of Casco Bay.

Ever-Changing Casco Bay

Casco Bay is everchanging. The Bay changes with each tide, each day, and each season. And now, because of climate change, our coastal waters are transforming in different ways and faster than we thought possible.

At our EverChanging Casco Bay event on November 28, Staff Scientist Mike Doan dove into the data we use to track the health of the Bay. Community Organizer and Volunteer Coordinator Sara Freshley shared observational data our volunteer Water Reporters posted over the course of the summer. Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca discussed how these scientific and observational data are helping to move the needle for a cleaner, more protected Casco Bay.

 

If you missed the event or want to rewatch it, click here. If you don’t have time to watch the whole event, you can click here to hear Mike delve into the datahere for Sara talking about Water Reporters, and here to listen to Ivy describe the big picture.

More than 60 Friends attended the event along with members of the media. The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday TelegramMaine PublicBangor Daily News, and WGME covered the event and the issues we discussed.

A Ceremony for Casco Bay and Mother Earth

Olotahkewakon.”

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. 

Passamaquoddy Language Keeper Dwayne Tomah

Until recently, Dwayne was the youngest fluent speaker of the Passamaquoddy language. He has dedicated his life to teaching Passamaquoddy language and culture to tribal members. As the Passamaquoddy Language Keeper, Dwayne has been an ambassador, using native words to teach others about his people’s culture while helping us all connect, heal, and learn together. 

His efforts have been vital to keeping the Passamaquoddy language alive. Beginning in the 1600s, European colonizers began taking tribal lands and attempted to extinguish tribal cultures. In the 1800s, Federal policies forced tribes to assimilate into white, christian culture by requiring children be taken from their community and put into boarding schools, among many other egregious acts. Through this process, much of the Passamaquoddy language was lost. 

However, in 1890, the heart of this forced assimilation era, many Passamaquoddy tribal members recorded stories, songs, facts, and conversations on wax cylinders borrowed from Thomas Edison. This was the first field recording of people telling stories and singing ever! 

Although these wax cylinders were owned by the Harvard Peabody museum, they were returned to the tribes in 1980. Dwayne Tomah and others have spent hours meticulously listening to and learning from these recordings, which has resulted in revived energy and pride in Passamaquoddy culture and sovereignty. As one tribal member stated about this project, “it isn’t just language preservation or cultural preservation, it’s people preservation.” Dwayne has been at the heart of this preservation effort.

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.

Scenic Category Winner 1st Place, Student Category Winner, Best of Show wooden posts: Portland Maine, April 2023 by Ava McKinley
Scenic Category 2nd Place Photographer: Timothy R. Brokaw
Scenic Category 3rd Place Photographer: John Bald
Working Waterfront Category Winner 1st Place Photographer: Glenn Michaels
Working Waterfront Category 2nd Place Photographer: Glenn Michaels
Working Waterfront Category 3rd Place Photographer: Adam Mistler
Wildlife Category Winner 1st Place Photographer: Stephen Hobson
Wildlife Category 2nd Place Photographer: Stacey Keefer
Wildlife Category 3rd Place Photographer: Stacey Keefer
Recreation Category Winner 1st Place Photographer: Heidi Holloway
Recreation Category 2nd Place Photographer: Glenn Michaels
Recreation Category 3rd Place Photographer: Bill Brokaw

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.