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We are hiring: Science and Advocacy Associate

Science and Advocacy Associate – full time with a comprehensive benefits package

Friends of Casco Bay is hiring a Science and Advocacy Associate. This new position will report to and work closely with our Casco Baykeeper and Staff Scientist to monitor the health of Casco Bay and advocate for actions to improve and protect the environmental health of Casco Bay. This position requires both science and legal/environmental policy skills. 

Our Science Program provides much of the data that informs our Baykeeping Program. The Associate position is a role that is designed to bridge and support both programs. The Associate will work on a diverse array of issues, including climate change, stormwater pollution, nitrogen pollution, watershed development, plastic pollution, and other emerging issues. The Associate will help us expand our work to address issues affecting the tributaries that influence the health of Casco Bay. We offer a collegial workplace, a competitive salary, and excellent benefits.

About Friends of Casco Bay

Friends of Casco Bay works to improve and protect the health of Casco Bay, an Estuary of National Significance located in the Gulf of Maine. Our science program monitors the health of the Bay and tracks changing conditions. These data inform what actions we take to advocate for the Bay and how we engage the community in our stewardship efforts. 

As part of the Gulf of Maine, and as our data show, Casco Bay is warming more quickly than almost all other marine waters in the world in response to excess greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. We play a leading role in our region to reduce pollution, encourage stewardship, and address the causes and consequences of climate change. 

We are home to the Casco BAYKEEPER®, our lead advocate who acts as the eyes, ears, and voice of Casco Bay. We are one of the seven founding members of WATERKEEPER® Alliance, a network that includes more than 300 independent organizations working to protect waters around the world. Thanks to our efforts, industrial pollution has decreased, municipalities are working to reduce sewage and stormwater pollution, and the Bay has been designated a No Discharge Area, making it one of the most protected water bodies in the country. 

A Board of 15 Directors oversees the work of Friends of Casco Bay. More than 2,500 households and donors support our organization. More than 500 volunteers assist us in our efforts. We are known as an exceptional place to work, with dedicated, cohesive, long-time staff. We currently have seven full-time employees. We balance our ability to leverage collaborative efforts, funds, and volunteers, with the capacity and capabilities of staff — a talented team, each passionate about our mission. We work to improve and protect the health of this special place for everyone. We are committed to creating a culture and practices that integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion into our work.

Our Science Program: Friends of Casco Bay collects long-term data on the health of the Bay. Our Science program consists primarily of two efforts. One component builds on a 30-year dataset that provides monthly “snapshot” conditions at more than twenty sites spread around the Bay. The second collects hourly data from three Continuous Monitoring Stations: one in Portland Harbor, one close to the middle of the Bay in waters off Yarmouth, and one in the eastern end of the Bay in waters off Harpswell.

Our Baykeeping Program: Baykeeping is our mission put into practice: acting to improve and protect the environmental health of Casco Bay. In short, Baykeeping is about reducing pollution and addressing climate change. We work within many coalitions and networks. We analyze and use the law to advance policy. Although this work is primarily at a state and local level, it sometimes requires action at a federal level.

The job of Science and Advocacy Associate
Science: The Associate will work with our Staff Scientist to learn to maintain, calibrate, and deploy our seasonal and continuous monitoring equipment. The Associate will monitor water quality in the field with our Staff Scientist and Casco Baykeeper. Training will be provided consistent with our Quality Assurance Project Plans and protocols. The Associate also will augment the capacity of our Staff Scientist to graph, analyze, and present data to support our advocacy and education efforts.

In due time, the Associate would be responsible for investigating and collecting data related to issues of concern that plague the health of the Bay and its tributaries. For example, this person might be trained to help monitor for PFAS, microplastics, and/or the effects of nitrogen pollution. This person also might help us investigate emergent, unexpected issues such as fish kills and loss of eelgrass.

Baykeeping: The Associate will be expected to engage in legal research and creative problem solving to help advance policy, laws, and regulations. The Associate will help draft comments on Clean Water Act permits that regulate the discharge of pollution in the Casco Bay watershed. The Associate will be expected to work collaboratively within our many networks and partnerships. The Associate will spend considerable time attending meetings and getting to know our community, with an aim toward covering certain topics independently. This position is similar to an associate environmental attorney position. Baykeeping covers many topics and requires a keen ability to quickly master diverse subject matter, identify strategies, and implement solutions. The Associate should possess skills that lean toward that model of work and a willingness to constantly learn and have an open mind. In time, the Associate may be called upon to testify before the legislature, in administrative forums, or at municipal meetings. 

The Associate will work at the direction of the Staff Scientist and Casco Baykeeper; all staff report to the Executive Director.

Attributes, Skills, and Experience

Qualified candidates must have the following:

  • A background in biology, environmental science, marine science, or a related science 
  • Advanced legal and/or policy education, preferably a juris doctorate, and/or relevant experience
  • Dedication to our mission
  • Ability to lift and move items up to 30 pounds without assistance due to the physical nature of our fieldwork

Qualified candidates should demonstrate:

  • Strong research and writing skills
  • Ability to implement detailed scientific protocols
  •  Ability to use scientific data and research to support policy changes and action
  • Strategic and dynamic thinker and collaborator
  • Commitment to study the background of issues and their regulatory context
  • Ability to sometimes work outside of normal business hours
  • A personal and professional commitment to environmental stewardship and passion for applying that to the mission of Friends of Casco Bay
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills; ability to prioritize and meet deadlines
  • Clear verbal communication skills
  • Ability to work independently and with teams

Qualified candidates might also have:

  • Knowledge of state and federal laws, regulations, and policies that affect marine water quality and habitat 
  • Understanding of the political and legislative process, and how policy, ordinances, and laws are made and enforced
  • Relevant field experience, such as monitoring water quality or investigating causes of pollution
  • Experience leading field trips 
  • Comfort with public speaking 
  • Knowledge of Casco Bay
  • Comfortable on the water in variable conditions

Salary and benefits:
The salary range is $55,000 to $60,000/year ($26.04-$28.85/hour), commensurate with experience. We offer an excellent benefits package, including paid vacation time, 13 state and federal holidays, health and dental insurance (employer pays 75% and contributes to a health savings account), paid sick days, life insurance, and retirement plan, including a 4% employer match. 

Location and public health expectations
Friends of Casco Bay is located in South Portland, Maine, in the greater Portland region. We currently work using a hybrid model of working from home and working in the office. This is not a “remote” only position. By its nature, this position requires showing up in person at meetings and doing work on the Bay. The Greater Portland area offers a vibrant cultural scene and easy access to the state’s many recreational opportunities. 100% of our staff are vaccinated against COVID-19 and we expect our newest employee to be too. 

Start date
As soon as possible upon job offer.

Application Instructions

A complete application package from interested applicants must include:

  • A cover letter citing why you are qualified for the position
  • A resume
  • A writing sample that you have written, not to exceed 750 words, preferably on a matter of science or environmental policy or environmental law

Email your application as a single PDF document to keeper [at] cascobay [dot] org. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis with priority given to applications received by June 15. Screenings and interviews will be conducted initially by phone and online; finalists will be interviewed in person as CDC guidelines allow. No phone calls, please.

About Casco Bay

Casco Bay encompasses 14 coastal communities, including two of Maine’s largest cities, Portland and South Portland, and two of Maine’s newest towns, Long Island and Chebeague Island. Casco Bay is both a working waterfront—a port of call for cruise ships, oil tankers, and container ships—and a scenic postcard of historic forts, stalwart lighthouses, secluded anchorages, and many islands.

We are home to the Casco Baykeeper

Baykeeping is our mission put into practice: acting to improve and protect the environmental health of Casco Bay. Our Baykeeping Program exists to advocate for solutions to environmental challenges facing the Bay.

30 Years of Friends of Casco Bay

This timeline highlights our biggest victories as well as some of the most significant moments of Friends of Casco Bay’s history over the past three decades. 

We are hiring: Development Director

Development Director- full time with comprehensive benefits package

Friends of Casco Bay is hiring a Development Director. The Development Director will work closely with our Executive Director and communications and development staff to design, implement, and successfully execute a comprehensive fundraising program that ensures that we have the support we need to fulfill our mission.

About Friends of Casco Bay

Friends of Casco Bay’s mission is to improve and protect the environmental health of Casco Bay, an Estuary of National Significance, located in the Gulf of Maine. Our science program monitors the health of the Bay and tracks changing conditions. These data inform our advocacy and how we engage the community in our stewardship efforts. 

Casco Bay is changing. As part of the Gulf of Maine, and as our data show, Casco Bay is warming more quickly than almost all other marine waters in the world in response to excess greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. We play a leading role in our region to reduce pollution, encourage stewardship, and address the causes and consequences of climate change. 

We are home to the Casco BAYKEEPER®, our lead advocate who acts as the eyes, ears, and voice of Casco Bay. We are one of the seven founding members of WATERKEEPER® Alliance, a network that includes more than 300 independent organizations working to protect waters around the world. Thanks to our efforts, industrial pollution has decreased, municipalities are working to reduce sewage and stormwater pollution, and the Bay has been designated a No Discharge Area, making it one of the most protected water bodies in the country. 

A Board of 15 Directors oversees the work of Friends of Casco Bay. More than 2,500 households and donors support our organization. More than 500 volunteers assist us in our efforts. We are known as an exceptional place to work, with dedicated, cohesive, long-time staff. We currently have eight full-time employees. We balance our ability to leverage collaborative efforts, funds, and volunteers, with the capacity and capabilities of staff — a talented team, each passionate about our mission. We work to improve and protect the health of this special place for everyone. We are committed to creating a culture and practices that integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion into our work.

Friends of Casco Bay receives restricted and unrestricted funds from individuals, corporations, foundations, governments, nonprofits, and events. Annual revenue is in the range of $1,300,000. Our fundraising strategies are donor-centric and collaborative.

The job of the Development Director

The Development Director (DD) works to ensure Friends of Casco Bay’s long-term success through developing and sustaining diverse funding sources. This position requires collaboration with all of our staff. The DD is responsible for the research, identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of donors. Relationship building is crucial to our work. The DD will broaden our visibility, increase engagement, highlight our work, and encourage action. The DD will work with our communications team to tell stories that connect us with our communities. The DD must adhere to the work plan and calendar to meet deadlines. The Development Director reports to the Executive Director (ED). The DD manages and oversees the Development Assistant (DA). Specific duties include:

Development Efforts

  • Manage our renewal process for our existing donors
  • Develop a prioritized list of prospective individual major donors, corporate donors, and foundations
  • Continue to recruit new members and donors while encouraging deepening commitments from those already aboard
  • Research funders and submit proposals to foundations, corporations, government agencies, and others, to fund our initiatives and programs
  • Provide fundraising input as new program initiatives are developed
  • Work with the ED and the Community Engagement Committee of the Board of Directors to identify and contact corporate donors and corporate sponsors
  • Facilitate and organize meetings between major donors, businesses, and foundations and the ED, the Casco Baykeeper and/or Board members
  • Submit updates to funders, generating content in collaboration with staff, to report on how funds have been used
  • Conduct membership acquisition campaigns: obtain, sort or generate lists; write appeals; coordinate production and mailing
  • Develop strategic opportunities to partner with other organizations for funding 
  • Work with ED and Board to develop and implement capital campaigns as appropriate

Research, Planning, and Collaboration

  • Work with the ED to set fundraising goals while developing the next year’s revenue budget; prepare a twelve-month fundraising plan with monthly goals and deadlines
  • Work with the ED to develop short-term and long-term communication and fundraising strategies to:
    • Increase the number and the amount of individual donations
    • Increase the number and the amount of gifts to the Annual Fund
    • Identify benchmarks, set measurable goals, and organize implementation strategies for our communications and development work
  • Work with ED and Staff Writer to develop monthly and weekly communications plans to engage supporters and would-be supporters
  • Help plan and implement public events, such as our Annual Members Meeting; Donor Appreciation Event; house parties, Casco Bay Matters events, and others
  • Work with staff to advance our visibility through cohesive visual branding in our documents, publications, website, emails, social media, presentations, and other materials
  • Help keep our website up-to-date 

Execution

  • Meet monthly and annual fundraising goals
  • Manage the writing and submittal of grant proposals and donor requests
  • Solicit and close gifts personally and/or as part of a team
  • Manage Development Assistant for most efficient and effective use of time and skills relative to our operating plan
  • Work with the Office Manager to coordinate mailings and billing notices
  • Manage our monthly renewal cycle was well as our biannual annual fund and special appeal mailings
  • Facilitate contract finalization for government work, if requested.
  • Generate all follow up correspondence to major donors and foundations (e.g., thank you acknowledgements, thank you telephone calls/messages, reports to grantors, and the like)
  • Collaborate with the ED, Staff Writer, and other staff on the concept/theme for newsletters, the Annual Fund Appeals and Special Appeals

Tracking and Reporting

  • Maintain the tracking systems for all donors via Raiser’s Edge and, when appropriate, paper records
  • Prepare reports for the ED and Community Engagement Committee of the Board on the status and progress of targeted funds and on the successes to date
  • Help develop and design materials, including invitations, mailing pieces, newsletters, fact sheets, and emails
  • Attend staff, board, and Community Engagement Committee meetings.
  • Be alert to professional development opportunities

Attributes, Skills, and Experience

  • Substantial and successful fundraising experience: raising money for environmental causes from a combination of foundations, governments, corporations, and individuals. 
  • Experience in membership, sponsorship, and annual fundraising appeals 
  • Communication ability: Excellent written and verbal communication skills 
  • Environmental or marine science knowledge: ability to understand scientific issues and present them in an accessible and effective manner
  • Passion for the environment and the ability to articulate our work in terms of a compelling vision
  • Knowledge of the local, state and regional funding communities: businesses, individuals, foundations, philanthropists, and government sources; experience with federal government grants, a plus
  • Computer skills: Competence in use of PC word processing, database, social networking, and spreadsheet software. Friends of Casco Bay currently uses Word, Excel, Raiser’s Edge, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WordPress 
  • Organizing skills: Must be organized, calendar oriented, able to keep others organized and motivated around fundraising activities, able to meet deadlines, think strategically, reach goals, pay strict attention to detail, and convey information in organized and meaningful presentations.
  • Fundraising principles and accounting: Ethical commitment to the proper recording and recognition of income in compliance with nonprofit accounting principles is essential. Understanding of accrual basis and the ability to help reconcile fundraising records with those provided by accounting, a plus.

Salary and benefits:

The salary range is $63,000 to $75,000/year, commensurate with experience, with an excellent benefits package, including paid vacation time, 13 state and federal holidays, health and dental insurance (employer pays 75% and contributes to a health savings account), paid sick days, life insurance, and retirement plan, including a 4% employer match.

Location and public health expectations

Friends of Casco Bay is located in South Portland, Maine, in the greater Portland region. We currently work using a hybrid model of working from home and working in the office. This is not a “remote” only position. By its nature, this position requires showing up in person at meetings and doing work on the Bay. The Greater Portland area offers a vibrant cultural scene and easy access to the state’s many recreational opportunities. 100% of our staff are vaccinated against COVID-19 and we expect our newest employee to be, too.

Start date

As soon as possible upon job offer.

Application Instructions

A complete application package from interested applicants must include:

  • A letter of application citing why you are qualified for the position
  • A resume
  • A writing sample that you have written not to exceed 750 words, preferably for a fundraising request or proposal

Email your application as a single PDF document to keeper [at] cascobay [dot] org. This is a priority position that we hope to fill with the right candidate as soon as possible. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. Screenings and interviews will be conducted initially by phone and online; finalists will be interviewed in person as CDC guidelines allow. No phone calls, please.

About Casco Bay

Casco Bay encompasses 14 coastal communities, including two of Maine’s largest cities, Portland and South Portland, and two of Maine’s newest towns, Long Island and Chebeague Island. Casco Bay is both a working waterfront—a port of call for cruise ships, oil tankers, and container ships—and a scenic postcard of historic forts, stalwart lighthouses, secluded anchorages, and many islands.

We are home to the Casco Baykeeper

Baykeeping is our mission put into practice: acting to improve and protect the environmental health of Casco Bay. Our Baykeeping Program exists to advocate for solutions to environmental challenges facing the Bay.

30 Years of Friends of Casco Bay

This timeline highlights our biggest victories as well as some of the most significant moments of Friends of Casco Bay’s history over the past three decades. 

We are hiring: Executive Director

Friends of Casco Bay, a science-based, community-oriented, environmental nonprofit organization that has worked for over 30 years to improve and protect the environmental health of Casco Bay, is hiring an Executive Director.

About Friends of Casco Bay

Friends of Casco Bay works to improve and protect the environmental health of Casco Bay, an Estuary of National Significance, located in the Gulf of Maine. We monitor the health of the Bay, documenting changes and issues of concern. We use those data to engage our community in our work and advocate for solutions that improve the health of our coastal waters.

Casco Bay, like the Gulf of Maine, the fastest-warming body of water in the world, is changing quickly. We play a leading role in our region to reduce pollution, encourage stewardship, and address the causes and consequences of climate change to Casco Bay. Our work is guided by science, the regulatory environment, common decency, and passion for protecting our coastal waters. We are home to the Casco BAYKEEPER®, our lead advocate who acts as the eyes, ears, and voice of Casco Bay. We use the Research Vessel Joseph E. Payne to collect data, to investigate concerns, and as an educational platform. We are one of the seven founding members of WATERKEEPER® Alliance, a network that has grown to include more than 300 independent organizations working to protect waters around the world. Thanks to our efforts, industrial pollution has decreased, municipalities are working to reduce sewage and stormwater pollution, and the Bay has been designated a No Discharge Area, making it one of the most protected water bodies in the country.

A Board of 13 Directors oversees the work of Friends of Casco Bay. More than 2,500 households and donors support our organization. More than 500 volunteers assist us in our efforts. We are known as an exceptional place to work, with dedicated, cohesive, long-time staff. We currently have seven full-time employees. We balance our ability to leverage collaborative efforts, funds, and volunteers, with the capacity and capabilities of staff — a talented team, each passionate about our mission.

We work to improve and protect the health of this special place for everyone. We are committed to creating a culture and practices that integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion into our work.

The Job of the Executive Director (ED)

The Executive Director (ED) is responsible for general oversight of our programs, fiscal operations, human resources, administrative functions, benefits administration, fundraising, and organizational planning. The ED facilitates turning the organization’s vision, strategies, and values into specific actions to support our mission while helping us continue to build a strong, resilient organization. The ED works with the Board and staff to establish strategic goals, and works with the staff to develop annual operating plans that will move the organization toward those goals. The ED oversees our development efforts to ensure the financial stability of our organization. It is anticipated that our ED will become a recognized figure in Maine and especially in the Casco Bay region. The ED works in service to our mission and reports to the Board through the Board President. All staff report to the ED.

The ED’s core Program and Administrative responsibilities are to:

  • Facilitate our organization’s vision for our work and provide leadership to move us toward that vision.
  • Provide oversight of Friends’ staff and activities through coordinating and implementing an annual operating plan and budget for review by the Board of Directors. Work with staff to continue development and evaluation of program, fundraising, community engagement, communications, operating, and administrative strategies.
  • Work closely with the Casco Baykeeper, our lead advocate and voice of the Bay, on policy directions and issue positioning. Work with the Casco Baykeeper to ensure compliance with Waterkeeper Alliance Quality Standards.
  • Identify new opportunities for partnerships and collaborations and work with the Board and staff to foster those relationships.

The ED’s core Fiscal responsibilities are to:

  • Ensure compliance with all applicable laws, filing deadlines (e.g. IRS Form 990) to protect the assets and integrity of the organization. Monitor all matters pertaining to the organization’s IRS 501(c)3 status and state charitable organization designation.
  • Maintain good internal financial controls and separation of duties. Oversee financials, cash flow, and bookkeeping/accounting processes. Authorize expenditures and sign off on bills to be paid. Prepare financial reports for the Board.
  • Understand and maintain adequate insurance coverages (business, watercrafts, Directors & Officers, employee benefits, etc).
  • Negotiate and fulfill requirements of occupancy lease, if a lease is in effect. Ensure that the building is well maintained and that all staff have adequate space, resources, and equipment to do their jobs.
  • Work with the Office Manager and staff to maintain technology, equipment, and software renewal upgrades and schedules, from computers, server, and printers, to boats and water quality monitoring equipment.

The ED’s core Fundraising and Marketing responsibilities are to:

  • Ensure funding adequate to maintain Friends as a vital part of improving and protecting the environmental health of Casco Bay by working with the Board, Communications and Development Director, and other staff, to raise revenue to equal or exceed revenue budget. Assist in fundraising efforts, especially identifying, cultivating, soliciting, and closing major donors, foundations, corporations, governmental entities, and other nonprofits.
  • Facilitate and implement a marketing strategy with development and communications staff, the Casco Baykeeper, and Board to achieve successful fundraising, increase the visibility of the organization, and increase public awareness of the issues on which we are focused.
  • Further develop mutually beneficial networking relationships with other environmental, business, municipal, and community organizations.

The ED’s Personnel responsibilities are to:

  • Train, mentor, develop, and manage staff. Recruit new staff as needs arise. Conduct staff reviews and evaluations. Assess staffing needs. Create and revise job descriptions as needed.
  • Maintain, update, and administer our Staff Policy Handbook.
  • Assure compliance with all employment laws.
  • Oversee benefits program – administration, adequacy, and cost effectiveness.
  • Ensure a safe, trusting, and harassment-free work environment, wherein staff members grow professionally, are valued, and work together as an ensemble while maintaining their core areas of responsibility.

The ED’s core Board Relations responsibilities are to:

  • Be the lead liaison between the Board and staff; the ED communicates regularly with the Board President and other Directors regarding Friends’ activities.
  • Attend Board meetings, Executive Committee meetings, Community Engagement Committee meetings, and other Board committee meetings as appropriate.
  • Work with the Board President to craft Board meeting agendas that both engage the Board and help provide staff with the guidance and attention they deserve.
  • When in doubt or when anything unexpected and of a material nature arises, bring it to the attention of the Board President and Executive Committee as soon as possible.

The ED’s core Communications responsibilities are to:

  • Keep up with what is going on in the Casco Bay region and integrate that knowledge into staff meetings and plans.
  • Ensure our advocacy positions, communications, and program work are in line with our mission.
  • Help facilitate the generation of a wider variety of communications efforts to share our work with the community.
  • Represent Friends to our diverse community at a wide variety of public and private meetings and engagements in ways that build our visibility and credibility.

The Executive Director must possess: strong communications skills; proven ability to effectively manage people and projects; demonstrated ability in managing finances; proven success at fundraising; the ability to create and maintain relationships with collaborative partners and policy makers; experience in community networking; and strong computer skills.

The ideal candidate holds an advanced degree in a field relative to this work or has deep professional experience in such a field. The ED should have experience working with nonprofits and familiarity with marine science or ecology or community engagement or organizing or environmental policy.

This is a full time professional position and often requires long hours. All staff members, including the ED, help with event setup and clean up, as well as greeting visitors, answering the phone, responding to public inquiries in a timely manner, and providing other organizational support as needed.

Salary and benefits

The salary range is $98,000 to $112,000 a year, commensurate with experience, with an excellent benefits package, including health and dental insurance (75%), life insurance, and retirement plan. 

 

Location and public health expectations

The ED must live in the Casco Bay watershed, or move to the Casco Bay watershed, within 6 months of being hired. Friends of Casco Bay’s office is currently located in South Portland, Maine, in the greater Portland region. Portland is a diverse oceanfront city in southern Maine offering a vibrant cultural scene and easy access to the state’s many recreational opportunities. 100% of our staff are vaccinated against COVID-19 and we expect our ED to be, too.

 

Start date

As soon as possible upon job offer.

Application Instructions

Cover letter, resume, and writing sample in response to the following prompt, not to exceed 500 words (writing sample is for use in the application process only): What role does a regional nonprofit environmental group have in confronting the global threat of climate change?

Email your application as a single PDF document to searchcommittee [at] cascobay [dot] org by January 2, 2022. Screenings and interviews will be conducted initially by phone and online; finalists will be interviewed in person as CDC guidelines allow. No phone calls please.

About Casco Bay

Casco Bay encompasses 14 coastal communities, including two of Maine’s largest cities, Portland and South Portland, and two of Maine’s newest towns, Long Island and Chebeague Island. Casco Bay is both a working waterfront—a port of call for cruise ships, oil tankers, and container ships—and a scenic postcard of historic forts, stalwart lighthouses, secluded anchorages, and many islands.

We are home to the Casco Baykeeper

Baykeeping is our mission put into practice: acting to improve and protect the environmental health of Casco Bay. Our Baykeeping Program exists to advocate for solutions to environmental challenges facing the Bay.

30 Years of Friends of Casco Bay

This timeline highlights our biggest victories as well as some of the most significant moments of Friends of Casco Bay’s history over the past three decades. 

Celebrating Cathy Ramsdell

After 18 years of serving as our Executive Director at Friends of Casco Bay, Cathy Ramsdell retired on September 2, 2021. In honor of Cathy and her leadership, we hosted a celebration on August 26. Cathy arrived to the party by boat. At the event, staff and board shared reflections on Cathy’s leadership and Gulf of Maine poet Gary Lawless read his poem, “For Casco Bay, For Us.

Celebrating Cathy Ramsdell – A Retirement Party

Executive Director Cathy L. Ramsdell is retiring

A letter from Cathy:

Dear Friends,

I have news to share with you today. I have decided to retire.

I am elated to have spent the better part of the past two decades serving as Executive Director of Friends of Casco Bay. When I say “the better part of the past two decades,” I mean that in every way. Friends of Casco Bay has been my top priority and I am delighted to have been able to play a part in making a difference; together we have accomplished so much.

It won’t surprise you to know that I tried to plan the timing of my retirement in a way that would be optimal for Friends, not just for me. That moment is now.

Our three Continuous Monitoring Stations are positioned strategically to monitor water quality hourly, year-round, allowing us to hear what the Bay is telling us about how conditions are changing. We have a fund dedicated to supporting this work over the next decade, and it is gratifying to know that we will continue to “listen” to the Bay for years to come. Our Casco Baykeeper is tackling the regulatory environment in unique ways to improve water quality and help build coastal resilience in the face of climate change. And, community members around the Bay are becoming citizen steward Water Reporters, documenting all kinds of issues and changing conditions, and their reports are getting the attention of environmental and enforcement agencies.

Our mission is durable, our approach is collaborative, and our efforts have led to many wins for the Bay while we have built a resilient, responsive organization that knows how to evolve. The balance sheet is strong, and the staff and board are working together better than ever.

I cannot imagine a more wholesome time for my departure, or a more dedicated and experienced group of people than our board and staff to guide Friends of Casco Bay into the next phase of its organizational life.

Let me take this moment to Thank You. Each person who has worked with us in any capacity has helped make my job easier and more fulfilling. My heart is full of gratitude for the special moments, the challenges and the accomplishments that together we have been able to experience.

It is impossible to imagine what each day will be like not interacting with my colleagues on the staff and on the board. I have learned so much from each one over the years.

I will express my appreciation by continuing to invest in the work of Friends of Casco Bay, both by contributing financially on an annual basis, and by joining the Anchor Society to make Friends a beneficiary of my estate. The Anchor Society has many ways we can make planned gifts that make good sense, so please consider joining me in this.

As Friends of Casco Bay begins to envision new leadership for this next exciting phase, I too am beginning to try to envision life in the future without Friends of Casco Bay top of mind.

I look forward to seeing what adventures lie ahead. Maybe I’ll start by watching the fall migrations, or sitting down to write more often, with whimsy or intent. I have pieces of poems everywhere, and maybe I can get back to work on those books, the one on my dad’s investigations into metaphysics and the other on the challenges of our remote work on seabird colonies in the Bering Strait. I’ll have time to follow the development of big weather fronts if I feel like it, and time to have long talks and go on long walks in special spots around the Bay. And then there is simply being instead of doing . . . I think I’ll start there.

In the meantime, I’ll know Friends is in good hands.

With much love,
Cathy

Cathy L. Ramsdell
Executive Director
Friends of Casco Bay

A message from our Board President

On a recent evening while Cathy and I were discussing her retirement (as advised by the estate planning law firm in Indiana), Cathy reflected that looking back on all of her years with Friends of Casco Bay, it feels good to think that she may have made a difference. In response, I retorted that this comment may have been the understatement of her career. 

Cathy’s leadership over the past 18 years has brought more success to our organization and to the health of Casco Bay than I could ever summarize. As Executive Director, Cathy ushered Friends toward our exceptionally strong financial footing and organizational structure, while leading our staff and infusing our program work with her lifelong passion for the marine environment. Today, Casco Bay is cleaner, more protected, and healthier thanks to Cathy’s dedication to our work. 

Cathy’s retirement timing is impeccable. Organizationally, we are stronger than ever: our finances are sound, we have a team of interdisciplinary staff producing incredible work, and our visibility is at an all-time high. Cathy’s presence and perspective will certainly be missed, and we are so grateful that she has waited for our organization to reach its current state of maturity and stability before moving on to the next phase of her life. We will launch a search for our next Executive Director after taking some time to reflect on what we have achieved together and the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead. 

Thank you, Cathy, for your service to our organization, our community, and above all else, the marine waters that define our home: Casco Bay. 

Andrew “Sandy” Marsters
President, Board of Directors 
Friends of Casco Bay

Save the Date! Cathy’s retirement party

In honor of Cathy and her leadership, we are throwing a celebration and we would love for you to join us.

On Thursday, August 26, we will gather outside at Portland Yacht Services for our first in person gathering in 18 months! We will be sending out more information about Cathy’s party soon. In the meantime we welcome you to RSVP online, here.

RSVP

Behinds the scenes of the making of our film

Here is a behind-the-scenes montage of the week Knack Factory spent with our staff and volunteers as they filmed our documentary. Consider this 4½-minute clip from the event as a big Thank You to all those who made this documentary possible: Lindsey Heald, Thomas Starkey, and Tadin Brown of Knack Factory, volunteers Tony and Hilary Jessen and Joan Benoit Samuelson, LightHawk and their volunteer pilot Jim Schmidt, and Handy Boat.

You can see our film here.