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Film Fest for Casco Bay

November 4, 2023, 2-6 p.m. 

University of Southern Maine’s Abramson Auditorium, Portland

We hope to see you at our Film Fest for Casco Bay, an afternoon of movies curated by Maine Outdoor Film Festival. The event will feature a variety of environmental and adventure films curated just for us. You won’t want to miss it!

Tickets are available below.

If you’d like to volunteer at the event, email sfreshley [at] cascobay [dot] org.

Join us! Stormwater impacts and water sampling

Want to know how heavy rainfalls, like those we have experienced this summer, impact Casco Bay?

Join Friends of Casco Bay staff in South Portland on September 8 at 10 a.m. to learn about the impacts of stormwater on our local waters using both observational and scientific data.

What: Stormwater Impacts and Water Sampling
When: Friday, September 8, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30  a.m.
Where: Yerxa Park725 Broadway, South Portland.
Meet in the parking lot to the left of the old Sea Dog Brewing.
RSVP:  by emailing Sara Freshley at sfreshley [at] cascobay [dot] org

At this event, Friends of Casco Bay staff will guide you through what to look for when posting to Water Reporter.

Did you know that stormwater is the largest source of pollution into Casco Bay by volume? Stormwater that flows from these outfalls can be a source of excess nitrogen. Too much nitrogen can lead to nuisance algal blooms and eelgrass decline. You can help us track pollution from stormwater pipes that empty into our coastal waters.

At this event, we will also take water samples to demonstrate the link between observational data and water quality data. Our science staff, Mike and Heather, will bring the samples back to the lab for an analysis of total nitrogen. Once we have the nitrogen data, we will follow up with attendees, comparing what we observed in the field.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Thank you to L.L.Bean, Ferris Olson Family Foundation for Ocean Stewardship, Allagash Brewing Company, and our members for their support of our Water Reporter program.

A Ceremony for Casco Bay and Mother Earth


As more than 115 Friends of the Bay heard at We Are Water — Friends of Casco Bay’s Members Annual Meeting, “olotahkewakon” is the Passamaquoddy word for “ceremony.” Passamaquoddy Language Keeper Dwayne Tomah shared this word in his tribe’s native tongue noting that all of us coming together was a ceremony for our mother earth.

The tribes in Maine were the original stewards of this land and of Casco Bay, beginning more than 12,000 years ago, and today, although there are no official tribal lands on the shores of Casco Bay, Wabanaki people still live within the watershed. Passamaquoddy means “the people who spear pollock.” An important part of Passamaquoddy culture is protecting our air, land, and waters. It is in partnership to those values that we remain honored to have hosted Dwayne, who lives Downeast on Passamaquoddy Bay, as our featured speaker at the event. 

Dwayne’s refrain throughout the evening was “We are all in this together.” The Annual Meeting was attended by local residents, dozens of our volunteers, current and former State Representatives from towns around Casco Bay, federal officials from the Environmental Protection Agency, staff from Maine Department of Environmental Protection, and colleagues from partner organizations, all of whom are working together to improve and protect the health of Casco Bay. As Dwayne said, “We are all in the same canoe, we just didn’t know it.” 

You can listen to Dwayne talk by clicking play on the video below. As caveat, due to the tent we were under and the setting sun, the video quality is low, but we hope you find Dwayne’s talk as inspiring as we did. 

Passamaquoddy Language Keeper Dwayne Tomah

Until recently, Dwayne was the youngest fluent speaker of the Passamaquoddy language. He has dedicated his life to teaching Passamaquoddy language and culture to tribal members. As the Passamaquoddy Language Keeper, Dwayne has been an ambassador, using native words to teach others about his people’s culture while helping us all connect, heal, and learn together. 

His efforts have been vital to keeping the Passamaquoddy language alive. Beginning in the 1600s, European colonizers began taking tribal lands and attempted to extinguish tribal cultures. In the 1800s, Federal policies forced tribes to assimilate into white, christian culture by requiring children be taken from their community and put into boarding schools, among many other egregious acts. Through this process, much of the Passamaquoddy language was lost. 

However, in 1890, the heart of this forced assimilation era, many Passamaquoddy tribal members recorded stories, songs, facts, and conversations on wax cylinders borrowed from Thomas Edison. This was the first field recording of people telling stories and singing ever! 

Although these wax cylinders were owned by the Harvard Peabody museum, they were returned to the tribes in 1980. Dwayne Tomah and others have spent hours meticulously listening to and learning from these recordings, which has resulted in revived energy and pride in Passamaquoddy culture and sovereignty. As one tribal member stated about this project, “it isn’t just language preservation or cultural preservation, it’s people preservation.” Dwayne has been at the heart of this preservation effort.

Frame the Bay

At the Annual Meeting, we announced the winners of “Frame the Bay,” our inaugural photo contest. More than 60 photos were submitted to the contest, which asked Friends to share their favorite photos taken of, near, or on Casco Bay. Participants could submit up to five photos. The judges included internationally recognized sports photographer Kevin Morris, Lindsay Heald, a visual artist, photographer, and producer from Maine, and Board President Sandy Marsters, who has a background in photojournalism.

Scenic Category Winner 1st Place, Student Category Winner, Best of Show wooden posts: Portland Maine, April 2023 by Ava McKinley
Scenic Category 2nd Place Photographer: Timothy R. Brokaw
Scenic Category 3rd Place Photographer: John Bald
Working Waterfront Category Winner 1st Place Photographer: Glenn Michaels
Working Waterfront Category 2nd Place Photographer: Glenn Michaels
Working Waterfront Category 3rd Place Photographer: Adam Mistler
Wildlife Category Winner 1st Place Photographer: Stephen Hobson
Wildlife Category 2nd Place Photographer: Stacey Keefer
Wildlife Category 3rd Place Photographer: Stacey Keefer
Recreation Category Winner 1st Place Photographer: Heidi Holloway
Recreation Category 2nd Place Photographer: Glenn Michaels
Recreation Category 3rd Place Photographer: Bill Brokaw

Our winners in the recreation category were:
First Place: Heidi Holloway
Second Place: Glenn Michaels
Third Place: Bill Brokaw

Our winners in the wildlife category were:
First place: Stephen Hobson
Second Place: Stacey Keefer
Third Place: Stacey Keefer

Our winners in the Working Waterfront category were:
First Place: Glenn Michaels
Second Place: Glenn Michaels
Third place: Adam Mistler

Our winners in the scenic category were:
First place: Ava McKinley
Second Place: Timothy R. Brokaw
Third Place: John Bald

Ava was also our first place student photographer winner and her scenic photo won Best in Show. 

Congratulations to all of our winners!

Casco Bay Award Winner Honorable Jay McCreight

As the State Representative for Harpswell for eight years, Joyce “Jay” McCreight has gone above and beyond for Casco Bay. Executive Director Will Everitt presented her with our Casco Bay Award. As he shared, “Over the course of her legislative career, Jay has been a true Clean Water Hero.” Her achievements include:

  • Passing a bill to set up a process for the disposal of expired marine flares. All seagoing boats are required to have flares in the case of an emergency. These flares expire, remain a fire hazard, and contain toxic chemicals. Until Jay worked on this issue, there has been no safe, ecological, or cost effective way for fishermen and boat owners to dispose of marine flares.
  • Ensuring that the state budget included funds to map eelgrass, a vital habitat known as “the nursery of the sea.”
  • Hosting a forum on water quality in Casco Bay that helped shape recommendations for the Maine Climate Council. 
  • Convening conversations about aquaculture siting.
  • Working hard for fishing families by sponsoring a bill to allow an immediate family member of a lobsterman to fish with their license if the licensee has a serious illness or injury. She introduced this bill after hearing from a lobsterman with cancer who needed his son to keep hauling his traps while he went through treatment.

After eight dauntless years and four rounds of being elected to the statehouse, she was term limited but Jay’s clean water work continues. Jay now serves on Harpswell’s Resiliency and Sustainability Committee and she remains tireless in continuing to help get the flares disposal bill implemented.

Down to Business

Our We Are Water event began with the official business of our Members Annual Meeting. As they looked out at Casco Bay from Spring Point in South Portland, Friends of Casco Bay members unanimously voted Mark Green and Steve Bushey to their second terms on the Board of Directors. We are proud to have their wisdom, experience, and dedication, all in service to our mission to improve and protect the health of the waters we all love. 

Coast Week Clean Up | September 9, 2023

You are invited to join us on Saturday, September 9th, at 10 a.m for a Coastal Clean up in Harpswell. 

Friends of Casco Bay has joined up with Harpswell Heritage Land Trust for this special cleanup. By taking part you’ll join hundreds of volunteers around the state as part of the 35th Maine Coastal Cleanup, hosted by Maine Coastal Program in the month of September. 

What: Harpswell Coastal Cleanup

Where: Meet at Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, 153 Harpswell Neck Rd, Harpswell

When: Saturday, September 9, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

RSVP: Sign up by filling out the form below

What to expect:

We will meet at Harpswell Heritage Land Trust where Friends of Casco Bay and Harpswell Heritage Land Trust staff will give an introduction and an orientation. Then you will be assigned a location in Harpswell to clean up! Most sites will be Harpswell Heritage Land Trust land. You will be provided with all of the supplies you need as well as a map. After a couple of hours, we will meet back at Harpswell Heritage Trust where you can leave your trash. 

This is an excellent way to meet other community members and explore the beautiful peninsulas of Harpswell.

Bring a friend! All are welcome.

Have questions? Email Sara at sfreshley [at] cascobay [dot] org.

Harpswell Coastal Cleanup Volunteer Release and Waiver of Liability Form

  • Every participant is asked to fill out this form before participating in a cleanup or stenciling event with us. This should be done at least 24 hours before the event begins. We look forward to having your help as we improve and protect Casco Bay.
    We would like to contact you from time to time to tell you about important updates about the health of Casco Bay, special events, and how you can support our mission. Please opt in to receiving these updates by sharing your email address below. You can opt out at any time by clicking the unsubscribe links at the bottom of each email.
  • Volunteer Release and Waiver of Liability Form This Release and Waiver of Liability (the “release”) executed on the date this form is completed by the volunteer ("Volunteer") who completes this form releases Friends of Casco Bay, a nonprofit corporation existing under the laws of the State of Maine, and each of their directors, officers, employees, and agents. The Volunteer desires to provide volunteer services for Friends of Casco Bay and engage in activities relating to serving as a volunteer to protect the environmental health of Casco Bay. Volunteer understands that the scope of Volunteer’s relationship with Friends of Casco Bay is limited to a volunteer position and that no compensation is expected in return for services provided by Volunteer; that Friends of Casco Bay will not provide any benefits traditionally associated with employment to Volunteer; and that Volunteer is responsible for his/her own insurance coverage in the event of personal injury or illness as a result of Volunteer’s service to Friends of Casco Bay.
    1. Waiver and Release: I, the Volunteer, release and forever discharge and hold harmless Friends of Casco Bay and their successors and assigns from any and all liability, claims, and demands of whatever kind of nature, either in law or in equity, which arise or may hereafter arise from the services I provide to Friends of Casco Bay. I understand and acknowledge that this Release discharges Friends of Casco Bay from any liability or claim that I may have against Friends of Casco Bay with respect to bodily injury, personal injury, illness, death, or property damage that may result from the services I provide to Friends of Casco Bay and occurring while I am providing volunteer services.
    2. Insurance: Further I understand that Friends of Casco Bay do not assume any responsibility for or obligation to provide me with financial or other assistance, including but not limited to medical, health or disability benefits or insurance of any nature in the event of my injury, illness, death or damage to my property. I expressly waive any such claim for compensation or liability on the part of Friends of Casco Bay beyond what may be offered freely by Friends of Casco Bay in the event of such injury or medical expenses incurred by me.
    3. Medical Treatment: I hereby Release and forever discharge Friends of Casco Bay from any claim whatsoever which arises or may hereafter arise on account of any first-aid treatment or other medical services rendered in connection with an emergency during my tenure as a volunteer with Friends of Casco Bay.
    4. Assumption of Risk: I understand that the services I provide to Friends of Casco Bay may include inherently dangerous activities that may be hazardous to me including, but not limited to water sampling and/or attending events that are near or on the ocean, slippery docks, rocks, piers, wharves, and boats. As a volunteer, I hereby expressly assume the risk of injury or harm from these activities and release Friends of Casco Bay from all liability for injury, illness, death, or property damage resulting from the services I provide as a volunteer and occurring while I am providing volunteer services.
    5. Photographic Release: I grant and convey to Friends of Casco Bay all rights, title, and interests in any and all photographs, images, video, or audio recordings of me or my likeness or voice made by Friends of Casco Bay in connection with my providing volunteer services to Friends of Casco Bay.
    6. Email Signup: We would like to contact you from time to time to tell you about important updates about the health of Casco Bay, special events, and how you can support our mission. Please opt in to receiving these updates by sharing your email address below. You can opt out at any time by clicking the unsubscribe links at the bottom of each email.
    7. Other: As a volunteer, I expressly agree that this Release is intended to be as broad and inclusive as permitted by the laws of the State of Maine and that this Release shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of the State of Maine. I agree that in the event that any clause or provision of this Release is deemed invalid, the enforceability of the remaining provisions of this Release shall not be affected.
    By completing this form and checking the box below, I express my understanding and intent to enter into this Release and Waiver of Liability willingly and voluntarily.

Invasive Marine Species Water Reporter Event

Join Friends of Casco Bay and fellow Water Reporters to learn how to identify invasive species!

Water Reporters joined Marine Geologist Peter Slovinsky in June to learn about salt marshes, coastal erosion, and restoration efforts. As Water Reporters, learning from expert scientists is a great way to improve our understanding of Casco Bay!

Water Reporters are invited to the shores of Casco Bay to learn from an invasive species expert, Jeremy Miller. Jeremy is a marine scientist at the Wells Research Reserve where he helps monitor invasive species in Maine.

Jeremy will give us a brief lesson about the types of invasive species he studies and how to identify them. Then we will head down to the beach and get our hands dirty as we look for examples – bryozoanstunicates, and more! – in the intertidal zone and under the docks. This is a fun opportunity to learn about often overlooked marine animals.

RSVP by emailing keeper@cascobay.org.

If you’re not already a Water Reporter, please sign up and join us! We would love to see you at this event.

What: Invasive Marine Species Water Reporter Event
When: Friday, July 14 from 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Where: Friends of Casco Bay Office
Southern Maine Community College
43 Slocum Drive, South Portland, Maine.

Thank you to L.L.Bean, Ferris Olson Family Foundation for Ocean Stewardship, Allagash Brewing Company, and our members for their support of our Water Reporter program.


Presumpscot Celebration

You’re invited to celebrate the healthy future of the Lower Presumpscot with Friends of Casco Bay and Friends of the Presumpscot River!

Where: Riverton Trolley Park and Allagash Brewing Company in Portland
When: Thursday, July 13, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Join us at Riverton Trolley Park on the banks of the Presumpscot to hear about how the new moratorium on industrial and wastewater discharges into the river supports the health of the Casco Bay watershed. After some brief remarks at the park, we will head to nearby Allagash Brewing to raise a toast and celebrate.

Please RSVP by emailing keeper@cascobay.org.

We hope to see you there!

Pile of expired flares

Expired Marine Flare Collection Event

Do you have expired marine flares on your boat or in your home? Do you know someone who does? 

You can safely dispose of expired flares at the Expired Marine Flare Collection event in Harpswell, this Saturday! 

Pile of expired flares
Marine flares are pyrotechnic devices that boaters can use as a distress signal in emergencies. Properly disposing of expired flares is important because of the health and safety risks they pose.

What: Expired Marine Flare Collection
Where: Harpswell Town Offices, 263 Mountain Road, Harpswell, Maine
When: Saturday, June 24, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Who: Free and open to everyone

Marine flares are pyrotechnic devices that boaters can use as a distress signal in emergencies. They burn at high temperatures, posing a serious fire hazard for long-term storage. Flares also contain toxic chemicals that can contaminate water and soil. Due to these hazardous qualities, it is illegal to throw flares in the trash. For the same reasons it is not recommended to store expired flares at home.

If you have expired marine flares, you can bring them to Harpswell’s collection event. The collection service is free and open to everyone, not just Harpswell residents

At the event, the Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office will collect expired flares for safe disposal. If you are unable to attend the collection event, you can call the Maine State Fire Marshal’s office to arrange for your expired flares to be picked-up. The Fire Marshall can be reached at (207) 626-3870. 

Friends of Casco Bay is a proud sponsor of this event. We are grateful to the Harpswell Harbormaster, Harpswell Department of Safety and Emergency Services, and the Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office for helping to protect Casco Bay!

Water Reporter Event: Salt Marsh Restoration

On June 29, Water Reporters are invited to Wharton Point in Brunswick to learn about salt marshes from an expert scientist. Salt marshes are under threat from erosion, rising sea levels, and green crabs. Come and learn about these important coastal ecosystems in Casco Bay and what to look for as Water Reporters when observing changes in salt marshes.

Thank you to all the Water Reporters who made it to our kickoff event at Winslow Park in May.

If you’re not already a Water Reporter, please sign up and join us! We would love to see you at this event.

At the event, coastal geologist Peter Slovinsky will lead a lesson about all things salt marsh. Peter works on salt marsh restoration projects among his many duties as a sea level rise and coastal erosion scientist with the Maine Geological Survey.

RSVP by emailing sfreshley@cascobay.org. We hope to see you there!

This image from early spring in 2021 shows a “living shoreline” at Wharton Point in Brunswick. Living shorelines are a technique for stabilizing eroding salt marshes while maintaining the ecosystem’s natural land-water interface.

What: Salt Marsh Restoration Water Reporter Event
When: Thursday, June 29 from 5:00-6:00 p.m.
Where: Wharton Point, Brunswick (Wharton Point is at the southern end of Maquoit Road)

As always, please reach out to Community Organizer and Volunteer Coordinator Sara Freshley if you have questions or want to meet face-to-face to talk about Water Reporter and Casco Bay. Sara can be reached at sfreshley@cascobay.org
or at (207) 807-0785.

We Are Water: Friends of Casco Bay Members Annual Meeting

Wednesday, August 2, 2023, 5:00-7:30 p.m.

Program begins at 6:30 p.m.

Location: Spring Point Field, Southern Maine Community College
50 Lighthouse Circle, South Portland, Maine

Friends of Casco Bay invites you to celebrate the Bay we all love! Join us for delicious hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and the company of Friends who, like you, care about clean water. At the event we will: 

  • Hear Passamaquoddy Language Keeper Dwayne Tomah talk about the importance of working together for cleaner waters and a better world
  • Share a special update on the health of the Bay from Executive Director Will Everitt
  • Announce the winners of the Casco Bay photo contest
  • Celebrate clean water heroes for Casco Bay 

Bring a friend! Let’s connect!

$25 suggested donation is appreciated, not required. Event includes hors d’oeuvres, cash bar.

Directions: From I-295, Take the Forest Avenue South exit (6A). Follow Route 77 (State Street) across the Casco Bay Bridge into South Portland. As you come over the bridge, continue straight. You are on Broadway. Stay on Broadway for approximately 1 mile, until it ends. At the stop sign, turn right onto Pickett Street. At the stop sign, turn left onto Fort Road and take it to the end. Look for Friends of Casco Bay signs.

Thank you to Southern Maine Community College for hosting us.

Announcing: Frame the Bay
The Casco Bay photo contest 

Submissions have closed for Frame the Bay.

Winners in five photo categories – scenic, recreation, wildlife, working waterfront, and student photographer – will be announced at We Are Water! Click here to learn more

Materials for the Annual Meeting portion of the event

2022 Annual Meeting Minutes, Friends of Casco Bay

Friends of Casco Bay 2022 Annual Report to the Community

Board of Directors Elections

New directors are elected by the Board during the year and ratified by the membership at each Members Annual Meeting. Directors serve three-year terms, and they are limited to three consecutive terms. The following board members will be voted on as a slate at the meeting:

For their third three-year term: Board President Sandy Marsters, Sebastian Milardo