Spring is a time of new beginnings. Ospreys are at their nests. Alewives are swimming upriver. At Friends of Casco Bay, spring means the start of a new fiscal year and the start of Water Quality Monitoring season–in fact, this is our 31st year of collecting data on the health of the Bay!
As we mark these milestones, I want to share our deep appreciation for the many Friends of the Bay who filled out the member survey we sent you last fall. The survey was anonymous, so if you were one of the 400 who responded, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.
Your insights and ideas informed our board and staff as we crafted our new 2023-2028 Strategic Plan and our 2023 Operating Plan. You helped us to recognize where our work is the strongest, as well as identify areas for growth.
It may be no surprise to you that most Friends who took the survey said they consider Casco Bay “home.” The vast majority of you find inspiration and are uplifted by being near the Bay. Whether you are walking trails, visiting islands, or navigating its waters, Casco Bay is a special place to so many of us and supports our emotional well-being.
We were heartened to hear that many Friends think highly of our Science, Baykeeping, and Community Engagement efforts. We were gratified to learn that we help so many of you understand scientific data about the health of the Bay. We were honored to know that you find us to be a collaborative and trusted organization.
When it comes to the issues we work on most often, Friends who took the survey said they are most concerned about sewage discharges and sewer overflows, oil spills, and climate change. Focusing specifically on the impacts of climate change, we heard that species change and loss, and the changing coastal chemistry of the Bay (like ocean and coastal acidification) are most concerning. All of these issues remain top priorities at Friends of Casco Bay.
In regard to areas of improvement, many of you shared that there should be more opportunities to take action on issues impacting the Bay. In the coming months, we hope to ramp up our community engagement efforts as we now have a full-time staff person dedicated to this work. You also shared ideas for how we can be more inclusive and representative of the community. This goal has become a part of our strategic plan.
Friends of Casco Bay is always learning. We constantly strive to improve our work. Your thoughts and insights help us to do both. Thank you for caring about the health of our waters, and if you ever have suggestions or ideas, please let me know.