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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

Mike deploys our Portland Harbor Continuous Monitoring Station

Celebrating Data and New Stations

 

Last month we celebrated the launch of our new Continuous Monitoring Stations by taking a first look at the data they are collecting in Casco Bay.

Staff Scientist Mike Doan walked us through preliminary data on temperature, salinity, pH, chlorophyll, and carbon dioxide from all three Continuous Monitoring Stations. These detailed data sets reveal similarities and differences in water quality across the Bay and can show the influence of local conditions and weather events. After sharing these new data with us, Mike was joined by Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca to discuss how we are using science to fuel our advocacy and protect the health of Casco Bay.

Here is a recording of the event for those of you who were unable to attend or would like to revisit the conversation. If you don’t have time to watch the whole recording, here are a few clips of key moments you may find interesting:

Here’s a video of all three of our Continuous Monitoring Stations splashing down, ready to collect data 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

 

After our Yarmouth station was launched in 2016, we realized we needed additional stations to fully grasp changing conditions across the Bay. In this 2 minute clip, Mike shares why it is important to have three stations and explains why we located our new stations in Harpswell and Portland Harbor. 

 

In this 7 minute clip, Mike shares preliminary data from all three Continuous Monitoring Stations. While years of data will be required to assess trends and the impacts of climate change, these first three weeks of data highlight the influence of weather events and the variability in conditions across the Bay.

 

In this 2 minute clip, Ivy concludes our event with her response to a critical question about our Continuous Monitoring Stations: How important are these stations to combating climate change and keeping the Bay healthy?

 

Data from our three Continuous Monitoring Stations can be viewed at www.cascobay.org/our-work/science/continuous-monitoring-stations/.

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!

Rising seas and storm surges in Casco Bay

We had an inspiring and informative conversation at our latest Casco Bay Matters event, Sea level, storms, and surges, oh my! How Maine’s coasts can be resilient to climate change. Marine Geologist Peter Slovinsky from Maine Geological Survey joined Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca to illuminate the latest science on rising seas, and how we can work together to make our coastline and waters resilient to climate change.

Here is a video of the event, for those of you who were unable to attend live or would like to rewatch. Attendees asked more questions than we had time to answer, so we also created a bonus video where we answered them, see below.

If you don’t have time to watch the full event, there are a few key moments you may want to check out. We’ve assembled these three clips into one playlist to make it easy to watch. The playlist is eight minutes long.

In the first clip, Peter shares how rising seas can dramatically increase the frequency and duration of “nuisance” flooding events in Portland and along the shores of Casco Bay. Thee, Peter discusses the historical trends of sea level rise in Portland, dating back to 1912. He points out that over the past 118 years, nearly 50% of the increase in sea level has occurred since 1990. Finally, Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca shares how we can respond to rising seas through adaptable policy informed by science.

 

Your sea level rise questions answered!

Event attendees asked more questions than we had time to answer . . . until now.

Community Engagement Coordinator Sarah Lyman recently followed up with Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca and Marine Geologist Peter Slovinsky to answer questions we did have time to address during the event. Including:

  • Where can we get good local information about projected sea level rise in our community?
  • Can future governors disband Maine’s Climate Council?
  • What will it cost us if we don’t begin to adapt to coming changes?
  • What are some useful actions we can take to help address climate change and sea level rise?

We hope you enjoy this Casco Bay Matters bonus content!

In this bonus content video, Pete and Ivy mention a number of resources. Here are links to those resources:

We are beginning to see the effects of climate change here in Casco Bay. Anticipating and adapting to the impacts of rising seas and stronger storms will prove critical to protecting the health of our coastal waters. If you are on our email list, we will keep you informed on ways you can help make your voice heard on these issues as state and local decision makers continue to develop climate change policies. Joining our email list is also the best way to stay up to date about future events.

If you want to do more, you can always support our work by making a donation or volunteering.

How can our coast be more resilient to climate change?

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.

Register Now

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

 

Sponsored by

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.