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Community Engagement

Connecting with the Community: Volunteers, Education, and Outreach

A wry journalist once asked us, “If you are the Casco Baykeeper, then where do you keep the Bay?”

Our response: “In the public eye.”

Outreach projects such as presentations, forums on emerging issues, reports and guides, coastal cleanups, and stenciling storm drains with the message “Don’t dump! Drains to Casco Bay,” help rally the community around Casco Bay.

Education is a vital part of Friends of Casco Bay’s work to protect the health of our coastal waters. Each year, our presentations, community events, and public service projects reach more than 2,400 people directly; many thousands more hear our message through online efforts, mail, and traditional media.

Our educational and outreach efforts take many forms and are tailored for many audiences.


BayScaper Sign in Garden
If you use lawn care practices that eliminate the need for pesticides and fertilizers, please come by our office on the Southern Maine Community College Campus to get our new BayScaper sign.

Our BayScaping program is about growing green lawns that keep Casco Bay blue. We are educating residents and decision makers about the harmful effects of lawn care chemicals—pesticides and fertilizers—while recommending Bay-friendly alternatives. We continue to work with concerned citizens in towns around the Bay to help explore ordinances aimed at reducing the use of lawn chemicals.

Casco Bay Curriculum

Classroom teachers and parents both play essential roles as educators in building an appreciation for protecting the health of the Bay in younger generations. Twenty curriculum activities and supporting background materials help teachers connect the value of our estuary with ways they can help reduce impacts from climate change and the changing chemistry of our coastal waters.  We have tailored some activities as lessons parents can use at home. Check out our Kids’ Corner on the the Casco Bay Curriculum page.

Baykeeper Speaker Series

Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca speaks at many community events.

We deliver our stewardship message at a variety of public education events, from informal neighborhood socials to presentations to civic and community organizations. Learn more or request one of our speakers here.

Casco Bay Matters

We host periodic presentations and panel discussions on issues of current concern though our Casco Bay Matters series, open to the public.

Pumpout Program

Pumpout Coordinator Jim Splude operates Baykeeper II, our mobile pumpout vessel, which services recreational boats at marinas and moorings from South Portland to Freeport. Since 1995, our pumpout vessel has kept nearly 180,000 gallons of sewage from marine toilets from going into the Bay.

Champions for Casco Bay

Through training workshops and “Bay Papers”—one page primers to help you engage in conversations about  issues facing the Bay—we are inspiring our volunteers to think of themselves as ambassadors and advocates, sharing information, data, and actions with their friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues. Become a champion here.

Coastal Cleanups

If you want to make a hands-on difference in the health of Casco Bay, join us for a couple of hours at a coastal cleanup. Cleanups are a core component of Friends of Casco Bay’s volunteer opportunities.

Stencil storm drains with the message “Do not dump—drains to Casco Bay”

Kids Storm Drain Stenciling
Stenciling storm drains is a great community service project. Photo from Friends School of Portland

Storm drains are a tempting place for residents to dump dangerous pollutants, “out of sight, out of mind.”  Our storm drain stenciling program trains volunteer groups about the fine art—and science!—of keeping pollution out of storm drains. We lend our stenciling kits, with informational door hangers and other supporting outreach materials, to community groups at no charge.

Public Inquiries

Responding to unexpected situations is fundamental to the environmental watchdog role we play in our community. Calls from concerned citizens often require us dropping the task at hand to hop aboard our Baykeeper boat to investigate. We try to help the community to be prepared for the unexpected, such as what would likely happen if a major oil spill occurs in Portland Harbor. If you ever have a question or see something concerning please contact the appropriate staff member.

Help us engage the community as we work together to tackle the biggest threats to the Bay

Read more about our Community Engagement work:

Volunteer Appreciation & Annual Member’s Meeting

November 20, 2017

Volunteer Appreciation Celebration & 2018 Annual Members Meeting Join us as we recognize those who help us protect the health of Casco Bay. We will provide the updated Casco Bay Health Index based on data collected by volunteer Citizen Stewards over the past 25 years, and we will share new… Read more

Wild and Scenic Film Festival

July 27, 2017

Thank you for a great 10th Anniversary Wild & Scenic Film Festival!!

Save the Date for 2018’s Film Fest: Saturday, November 3, 2018 Read more

What’s in a name?

June 26, 2017

What’s in a name?   Casco Bay has had many names. Where did the name Casco come from? The Abenakis called this place Aucocisco [ah-coh-sis-ko], which may translate as “Place of the Herons.” Some people say it may actually have meant “marshy place” or “place of the slimy mud.” White… Read more

Did you know…How many lighthouses are in Casco Bay?

June 26, 2017

Did you know…How many lighthouses are in Casco Bay? All are in the southwest region of the Bay, which is not surprising, since this where ship traffic is concentrated. Draw them on a chart of Casco Bay. 1. “Bug Light,” South Portland, Portland Breakwater 2. Spring Point Ledge, South Portland,… Read more

Become a pollution detective

June 26, 2017

Become a Pollution Detective! What is polluted runoff? What are sources of pollution in stormwater runoff? (pesticides & fertilizers, pet wastes, litter, oil & road salt, soil & sand, leaky septic systems, motor oil) On the next rainy day, grab your rain gear and boots, and investigate your own neighborhood… Read more

So you think you know Casco Bay

June 26, 2017

So You Think You Know Casco Bay   1. What are the landward and seaward boundaries of Casco Bay?   _________________ _______________________ 2. How many coastal or island communities border Casco Bay? ____________________   3. What is an estuary and why is it important?   ______________________________________________________________   ______________________________________________________________   4.… Read more