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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 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:

Help name our new Pumpout Boat!

April 2, 2019

Our new pumpout boat needs a name Thank you to everyone who submitted name ideas for Friends of Casco Bay’s New Pumpout Boat! The contest is closed and we will be choosing a winner in the coming weeks. You can help. We are looking for a dynamic name for the… Read more

A call to action before Tuesday: make your voice heard

April 1, 2019

Casco Bay needs your help! Please take a few minutes to let legislators know you are concerned about climate change and the health of Casco Bay. On Tuesday, April 2, at 1 p.m., the Committee on Marine Resources of the Maine Legislature is holding a public hearing on a bill we strongly support: LD 1284, “An… Read more

Perspectives on Casco Bay

March 28, 2019

    8 miles of shoreline 200 square miles of water 8 official lighthouses and 8 historic forts 13 municipalities from Cape Elizabeth to Phippsburg, including Long Island and Chebeague Island, abut Casco Bay. 1 in 5 Mainers live in the 42 communities of the Casco Bay watershed, from Bethel to the Bay. 1989 Friends of Casco Bay was founded… Read more

Friends Appreciation Celebration and Members Annual Meeting

March 21, 2019

It takes a community to protect the health of the Bay! Please come celebrate with us. Read more

Climate Change, Ocean Acidification, and You

March 15, 2019

Climate Change Science and Data The climate is changing faster than expected. Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, are the culprits. The burning of fossil fuels for homes, industry, and transportation releases almost 10,000 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. 1 Carbon dioxide… Read more

Ocean Acidification, Climate Change, and You: A Casco Bay Matters Event

February 8, 2019

Climate change is affecting the health of Casco Bay faster than anyone could have predicted. Warming temperatures and increasing acidity threaten the ocean and the livelihoods of those who depend on the sea. Research is showing that changes in our coastal waters from climate change are putting lobstering, clamming, and… Read more