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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.

BayScaping

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 Headmaster, our mobile pumpout vessel, which services recreational boats at marinas and moorings from South Portland to Freeport. Since 1995, our pumpout program has kept nearly 200,000 gallons of sewage from marine toilets from going into the Bay.

Casco Bay Bay Papers

Our Bay Papers are one page primers to help you engage in conversations about issues facing the Bay. The Bay Papers are designed to inspire our volunteers to think of themselves as ambassadors and advocates, sharing information, data, and actions with their friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues. See our Bay Papers 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:

We’re still monitoring the health of Casco Bay, and you can too

March 25, 2020

It is lonely out on the pier where Staff Scientist Mike Doan is collecting data on the health of Casco Bay — and he is playing it safe, taking his own selfie as seen here. We are continuing to monitor the health of Casco Bay. Our Continuous Monitoring Station is still… Read more

Donate to Climate Change and Casco Bay Fund

March 24, 2020

Friends of Casco Bay is creating a $1.5 million fund to be used over the next ten years to understand how Casco Bay is being affected by climate change. We will launch and maintain three oceanographic Continuous Monitoring Stations at three coastal sites around the Bay to collect data on… Read more

Water Reporter Post of the Month

March 19, 2020

While you are advised to remain socially distant from other people, you don’t need to stay socially distant from Casco Bay! We encourage you to get outside and stroll by the waterfront, a beach, or rocky shore. While you are out there, keep an eye out for pollution, nuisance algal… Read more

Dreaming of a green yard…and a blue Bay

February 13, 2020

BayScaping helps you grow green yards that keep Casco Bay blue. By being a BayScaper, you can help keep pesticides and fertilizers from polluting the Bay. While there is snow on the ground when you really want to be digging in the garden, you can spend some carefree hours creating… Read more

We are celebrating our 30th—the “pearl anniversary”

January 8, 2020

Pearls are gemstones that mark a 30th anniversary. Pearls are symbolic of wisdom gained through experience. We have learned a lot in 30 years! A pearl is created by an oyster in response to an irritant. A pearl can form over time as an oyster secretes layer upon layer of… Read more

Three decades of success – the impact of Friends of Casco Bay

December 31, 2019

Friends of Casco Bay has a long history of success. Since our founding in 1989, our work-with, science-based approach has moved the needle toward a healthier, more protected Bay. We championed a halt to cruise ship pollution and won a No Discharge Area designation for Casco Bay, the first in… Read more