25 Years for Citizen Stewards and 22 Years for Peter

Posted on May 24, 2017


25 Years for Our Citizens Stewards

When Don Gower met Friends of Casco Bay’s Citizen Stewards Coordinator Peter Milholland, he recalls, “I was 40-plus years removed from my high school chemistry class and pretty anxious about learning the various testing requirements.”

Peter trained Don in the art and science of water quality monitoring. “Peter did a fantastic job of making me feel welcome and walked me through all the procedures, step by step. It was easy to follow along and master each item. I’m happy I didn’t let the fear of learning new skills hold me back from this rewarding experience.”

Don is one of nearly 100 volunteers who spend part of ten Saturdays from April through October sampling sea water along the shores of Casco Bay. They are carrying on an ambitious effort that has engaged more than 750 volunteers in assessing the health of Casco Bay over 25 years!


22 Years for Peter

Peter Milholland, Friends of Casco Bay’s Citizen Stewards Coordinator for 22 years, managed a huge variety of volunteers, from citizen scientists collecting water quality data to volunteers doing beach cleanups and storm drain stenciling to college interns getting a start on their professional careers in marine science, education, and advocacy.  Now Peter is getting started on a new career, as he launches his own ecotourism business on Casco Bay: Calendar Islands Tours.

Thanks to Peter’s exceptional work managing the Citizen Stewards Water Quality Monitoring Program, it was awarded the first National Water Monitoring Award for Program Excellence by the US Environmental Protection Agency in 2002.

At the event last night, Wyman Briggs, Coast Guard Emergency Management Specialist, presented Peter with the US Coast Guard Certificate of Appreciation for his work on oil spill prevention and response, on behalf of Sector Commander Captain Baroody.

In 1996, when the oil tanker Julie N hit the Million Dollar Bridge across the Fore River, Citizen Stewards Coordinator Peter Milholland and former Casco Baykeeper Joe Payne were on the scene within 20 minutes. Peter jumped aboard Seacoast Ocean Services’s boat to help pull the first protective boom across the harbor. Peter served as the point of contact for volunteers for the duration of the oil spill response.

In 2010, Peter was assigned as the first-ever Volunteer Coordinator in the Coast Guard’s Spill of National Significance exercise in Portland. Over the course of the 36-hour simulation, Peter singlehandedly dealt with problems thrown at him to make the oil spill scenario as real and as complicated as possible. Peter co-authored a Volunteer Management Plan on how to recruit and train volunteers to help clean oiled wildlife in an actual spill. Three weeks later, the manual was sent to Gulf of Mexico Waterkeepers to assist in the response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Peter worked with the Coast Guard and other responders in Maine and New Hampshire on region-wide oil spill preparedness. Peter took Maine oil spill response staff members out on the Bay on our Baykeeper vessel to identify sensitive coastal wildlife habitats that will be given the highest priority during cleanup operations following an oil spill.

Peter has participated in and recruited volunteers for several oiled wildlife training workshops with Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, Tri-State Bird Rescue, International Bird Rescue, and most recently, with the Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency and other responders. The event was so popular that dozens of would-be volunteers had to be turned away.

Other awards that Peter has received include Bates College-Morse Mountain Environmental Stewardship Award 2017, and the Gulf of Maine Visionary Award for Maine in 2011.

Peter also piloted and maintained our Baykeeper boat and coordinated many of our research projects. Captain Peter will continue to sail on Casco Bay as he embarks on his newest venture: ecotourism. You may see him aboard his new boat, Pamela B, teaching residents and visitors alike about what makes Casco Bay the special place he has worked to protect for more than 22 years. We wish him Bon Voyage, on many levels!

One Comment

  1. So well deserved peter Milholland!!