News & Notes


Action Alert: Final action needed to advance solar policy

Posted on: Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

Please ask your legislators to vote in support of the veto override on LD 1649

 

Recently, the Legislature voted on the comprehensive solar bill (LD 1649). The good news: the bill passed by strong margins, 91-56 in the House and 35-0 in the Senate.

The bad news: we don’t have enough votes in the House to override the veto and we may lose votes in the Senate.

We will need 2/3 support in both the House and Senate to override Governor LePage’s expected veto. The veto override vote is on April 29This means we need your help!

Please contact your legislators right away and ask them to vote in support of solar!

They need to hear from you NOW so they can help us succeed in the veto override scheduled for April 29.

If your legislators voted in support of LD 1649, please thank them.  If your representative voted against, please urge him/her to reconsider.

To see how your representative voted, here’s the roll call.  To learn more about the bill, go to our website.

Solar jobs are on the line. Maine is already in last place for solar in the region, but the Governor and his allies have pushed hard all session to further roll back solar in Maine. This could bring solar development to a halt and put hundreds of existing solar jobs at risk.

Please ask your legislators to vote in support of the veto override on LD 1649.

Thank you,
JenniferJenn Burns Gray
Maine Audubon Staff Attorney and Advocate
[email protected]
(207) 781-2330 x224

 

 

To sign up for Maine Audubon’s Action Alert e-mails, please click here.

Predicting Hummingbird Arrivals

Posted on: Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

Spring is coming and many of our most loved birds will be here any day! Thanks to long running citizen science projects we can pretty accurately predict when certain species are going to arrive. One migrant that a lot of people are already talking about and eagerly awaiting is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Let’s take a look at some resources available to predict their arrival.

 

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Hummingbirds.net
Possibly the best known site for tracking hummingbird migrations is hummingbirds.net. The owner posts little dots on a map based on reports that are submitted. The dots are labelled with a date and color based on the week. You can see the most recent updates at this link but here is a snapshot from 11 April 2016 showing where Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have been reported:

hummingbirds.net (1)

eBird.org
Compare the map above to this map from eBird.org (also a snapshot from 11 April 2016). You can also see the most recent map from eBird at this link.

eBird RTHU (1)

Discussion
It is pretty clear that there are some discrepancies with these two maps, most notably that the hummingbirds.net map shows our Ruby-throated Hummingbird significantly further north than eBird.org.

My problem with hummingbirds.net is the lack of credibility; anyone can submit a sighting with very little review. From their site: “The map is artwork produced by hand; the dots are placed by eyeball after looking up each report in Google Maps. Reports are mapped if they illustrate migration progress, and fit without reducing legibility.” So you have reports that are going unreviewed (seriously, I think anyone could submit a report from Maine and it would be plotted because it seems to fit with the “progress”) and there is a whole issue with observer bias from the site owner plotting the location, rather than the person who actually observed the bird.

This is assuming the reported bird was even a hummingbird. Quick glimpses of kinglets hover-feeding or even large insects can easily be mistaken for hummingbirds. I do think that hummingbirds.net provides an interesting illustration of the first wave of migrants but I always struggle with the lack of credability.

On the other hand, all reports to eBird.org (for Maine) that are submitted before May 1st require review from one of four state-reviewers. Here is a great article on the eBird data review process. There are currently about 15 records for Ruby-throated Hummingbirds before May 1st in Maine, for all years. From eBird, here is a frequency chart showing the timing of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird’s arrival in Maine:

frequency (1)

The first week of May
Though there are a few records in April, it is primarily in the first week of May that we should expect Ruby-throated Hummingbirds to return. So you’ve still got time to get your hummingbird feeder cleaned and hung (or your native plants sown) before these gems return.

-DougDoug Hitchcox Head Shot - please credit  M. Kathleen Kelly (1)

Meet Doug Hitchcox, Maine Audubon Staff Naturalist A Maine native, Doug grew up in Hollis and graduated from the University of Maine in 2011. Throughout college Doug worked at Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center and was hired as Maine Audubon’s staff naturalist in the summer of 2013, a long time “dream job.” In his free time, Doug volunteers as one of Maine’s eBird reviewers, is the owner and moderator of the ‘Maine-birds’ listserv and serves as York County Audubon board member and Secretary of the Maine Bird Records Committee.

 

Action Alert: Help Ensure Funding for LMF and Stream Crossings

Posted on: Friday, April 15th, 2016

Gilsland-Farm-Audubon-Center-Option-1-300x200

Please Contact Your Legislators NOW and Urge Them to Support New Bond Funding for Land for Maine’s Future (LD 1248) and Stream Crossings (LD 1069)

 

The Appropriations Committee voted yesterday on bonds. The good news is that a majority of the committee voted in favor of both the Land for Maine’s (LMF) Bond (LD 1248) and the Stream Crossings Bond (LD 1069). Unfortunately, we do not have the two thirds support that we need to pass the bonds.

Please contact your legislators now before it’s too late and urge them to support both the LMF and Stream Crossings Bonds. 

The LMF Bond has been amended to propose $5 million of new bond funding for the state’s land conservation program.

The Stream Crossings Bond has been amended to propose $5 million of new bond funding to help municipalities upgrade their culverts.

These are modest investments that will benefit our environment and our economy. 

For more information about the Stream Crossings bond, click here
 
For more information about the Land for Maine’s Future bond, click here
 
Please contact your legislators NOW and urge them to support LMF and Stream Crossing Bonds.
 
Thank you for your support,

JenniferJenn Burns Gray
Maine Audubon Staff Attorney and Advocate
[email protected]
(207) 781-2330 x224

 

 

To sign up for Maine Audubon’s Action Alert e-mails, please click here.

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine Audubon Seeks Anglers for Brook Trout Survey Project

Posted on: Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

MEDIA RELEASE

For Immediate Release

April 12, 2016

Contact: Leslie Taylor, Media Manager
[email protected]
207-781-2330 x276
mobile: 347-225-1510

troutlogos

Falmouth – Maine Audubon, Trout Unlimited and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) are seeking volunteer anglers to survey remote Maine ponds and coastal streams for brook trout this fishing season. Information gathered by volunteers will be used to identify populations of previously undocumented wild brook trout across the state.

Brook trout require clean, cold water, extensive inter-connected stream networks and a lack of competing species to survive and thrive.Wild brook trout have significantly declined throughout their native range due to development, land use practices, the introduction of competing fish species and angler exploitation.

Although Maine still has the most extensive distribution and abundance of brook trout remaining in the United States, the quality and abundance of some of Maine’s brook trout populations have declined in recent years. In order to protect the last stronghold in the United States of these iconic fish, understanding the extent of the species’ current range is crucial.

“Identifying the remote ponds and coastal streams with wild brook trout will greatly assist MDIFW in planning our conservation and management strategies over the next several decades,” noted Merry Gallagher, MDIFW Fisheries Research Biologist.

Volunteer anglers are needed to survey hundreds of ponds in northern Maine and coastal streams ranging from Kittery to Lubec. Project partners will provide maps, data sheets and instructions on how to survey ponds and streams. Surveys can be completed any time before September 30, 2016. The prime time for coastal stream surveys is mid-April through June, while pond fishing can be productive in both the spring and fall.

“Volunteers should be enthusiastic about fishing for brook trout, be comfortable in remote settings and have a sense of adventure,” said Jeff Reardon of Trout Unlimited.

This year marks the sixth year of the Remote Pond Survey. To date, volunteers have surveyed 380 remote Maine ponds for which no data were previously available, and 166 of those ponds were recommended to MDIFW for further surveys after volunteers caught or observed brook trout in them. Fisheries biologists subsequently confirmed wild brook trout in 57 new ponds. As a result of this volunteer-driven survey effort, Maine has added 21 new ponds to the list of State Heritage Fish Waters, which affords certain protections to help maintain healthy, viable populations of wild brook trout. More are likely to be listed in the future.

The Coastal Stream Survey was initiatedin 2014 to collect baseline data about which coastal streams sustain wild brook trout populations. Wild brook trout that live in coastal streams may migrate between fresh and saltwater, a life history strategy called diadromy. In theory, any coastal stream with access to the ocean where wild brook trout are present has the potential to harbor a population of these sea-run brook trout, or “salters”. To date, volunteers have surveyed 76 coastal streams and confirmed the presence of wild brook trout in over half of those streams.

“The success of this project is entirely dependent on volunteer participation,” noted Emily Bastian, Trout Project Coordinator at Maine Audubon. “This is an exciting opportunity for people who care about conservation and love to fish to make a meaningful contribution to the conservation of wild brook trout, a significant and unique ecological, economic and cultural resource for Maine.”

To sign up to volunteer, please contact Emily Bastian at (207) 781-2330 x207 or [email protected].  For more information about the Brook Trout Survey Project, please visit maineaudubon.org/brooktrout.

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About Maine Audubon

Maine Audubon’s science-based approach to conservation, education and advocacy advances wildlife and wildlife habitat conservation in Maine. Our citizen science programs connect Maine people to engaging volunteer opportunities that make meaningful contributions to conservation research. The largest Maine-based wildlife conservation organization, Maine Audubon has eight centers and wildlife sanctuaries and serves over 50,000 people annually, with 15,000 members and 2,000 volunteers.

Conserving Maine’s wildlife.

Please visit www.maineaudubon.org for more information.

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Solar Rally at the State House

Posted on: Monday, April 11th, 2016

solarformeJoin Maine Audubon and our Solar for ME coalition partners for a big solar rally at the State House next Wednesday, April 13 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

RSVP for the solar rally!

Maine is already in last place for solar in the region, but Governor LePage and his allies are working hard to further roll back solar in Maine, which would put hundreds of existing solar jobs at risk and bring much-needed solar development to a halt. Come to the State House next week to show support for solar power and LD 1649 — the comprehensive solar energy bill.

The House and the Senate will vote on LD 1649 next week, so we need to act fast. Please rally with us to stop the attack on Maine’s solar industry. There’s a lot on the line, and we need your help more than ever.

You can meet us at 8:30 a.m. at NRCM’s office to pick up a yellow solar t-shirt before the rally. If you already have a solar t-shirt, please wear it! There is a parking garage and lots of parking near NRCM’s office, which is across from the State House. Please consider carpooling to this event.

If you are unable to join us for the solar rally, please urge your legislators to support LD 1649 —we cannot let Governor LePage and his Public Utilities Commission weaken Maine’s already lagging solar industry. Phone calls and personalized emails are most effective. Find your state senator here. Find your state representative here. Or send a quick email to your legislators right now.

Join us at the State House next Wednesday, April 13, to rally for solar power. There’s a lot on the line and we need your help more than ever.

Share this rally with your friends on Facebook: www.facebook.com/events/1688228294751832/

Action Alert: Land for Maine’s Future Is Nearly Out of Money

Posted on: Monday, April 11th, 2016

Gilsland-Farm-Audubon-Center-Option-1-300x200The legislative session is wrapping up quickly and we need legislators to vote in support of bond funding for the Land for Maine’s Future program before they adjourn. Please contact your legislators and urge them to support LD 1248.

LD 1248 proposes $20 million of new bond funding for the state’s land conservation program.

For more than two decades, LMF has benefited the state’s long-term economic health by conserving such key assets as working farms, forests and waterfronts as well as key tourism and recreation sites all across Maine. But there is next to no more money available for future projects. Without new funding, opportunities will be lost! For more information, visit our web page.

The Land for Maine’s Future program has an outstanding record of success at protecting Maine’s natural legacy.

Land for Maine’s Future program has a history of broad, bi-partisan support.

  • More than 59% of Maine voters supported the 2010 ballot initiative.
  • Democratic and Republican legislators have consistently shown strong support for LMF.

Please contact your legislators today and urge them to support LD 1248.

Thank you for your support,

JenniferJenn Burns Gray
Maine Audubon Staff Attorney and Advocate
[email protected]
(207) 781-2330 x224

 

 

To sign up for Maine Audubon’s Action Alert e-mails, please click here.

Meeting the Maine Audubon Community

Posted on: Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

Don Annis and Ole Amundsen III

Greetings!

I have had a fast-paced month at Maine Audubon and have been able to get out and tour some of our sanctuaries and meet a range of folks who are engaged with our organization.

On April 1, I visited Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary, near Greenville. I hiked up the snow covered trail and crossed the frozen ponds to reach our remote lodge. This was not April fool’s joke but a serious outing.

The Borestone sanctuary is a stunning example of all that Maine Audubon embodies, a magnificent landscape of rugged peaks, mature forests and cold streams and ponds – a wonderful palette for wildlife. I was privileged to get a tour of the lands, environmental center and the remote lodge with retired State Game Warden Don Annis, who has been heavily involved with caring for both the visitors and the lodge complex. His knowledge of the land, history of the facilities and people involved with Borestone over the past decade was moving.

(Left to right) Ole Amundsen II, Penobscot Valley Chapter members Jim Zeman and Gordon Russell, Properties Manager Peter Baecher

(Left to right) Ole Amundsen III, Penobscot Valley Chapter members Jim Zeman and Gordon Russell, Properties Manager Peter Baecher

I have also visited Fields Pond Audubon Center, just outside of Brewer, and met with representatives of the Penobscot Valley Chapter of Maine Audubon. These deeply committed volunteers are making a real different in their communities and at Fields Pond.

Later this month, I will be meeting with representatives from all of our seven chapters at our biannual Chapter Congress. This is a chance for people involved with Maine Audubon from across the state to connect and learn from each other. I look forward to hearing the different regional concerns and approaches to conservation issues.

Time and again, I see a deep commitment to stewardship and conservation among Maine Audubon volunteers and staff. The stewardship ethic embodied by these individuals is about a concern for the future and the land itself — rather than for ourselves as individuals. That’s a special commitment that I have found striking. I hope you can have a similar experience during your next visit an Audubon sanctuary, educational program or event.

Enjoy spring; it really is coming!

-Ole

Ole Amundsen became Executive Director of Maine Audubon in March 2016. He brings more than 25 years of experience in conservation leadership, with a focus on landscape scale conservation, environmental education and finance. Amundsen most recently served as program manager for the national land trust, The Conservation Fund. 

Seasonal Lead Preschool Educator – Gilsland Farm

Posted on: Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

Department: Education
Immediate Supervisor: Education Director
Location: Falmouth, ME

Maine Audubon, the state’s largest wildlife conservation education organization, seeks a part-time (32 hours per week) seasonal preschool educator to be based at the Gilsland Farm Audubon Center in Falmouth, Maine. Gilsland Farm Audubon Center, the headquarters of Maine Audubon, includes a visitor center with a Nature Store surrounded by a 65-acre wildlife sanctuary with forest, meadows, pond and marshlands. Over 200 hundred programs throughout the year reach over 10,000 people of all ages.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

Overview: The Lead Summer Preschool Educator is a key educational staff and program manager for Maine Audubon’s summer preschool and family programs.  This position is responsible for managing and delivering all Gilsland Farm-based early childhood and family education programs during the summer.

  • Design and teach developmentally appropriate preschool, Pre-K, and family summer programs.
  • Set up and break down program equipment daily and weekly.
  • Maintain safety standards and protocols, accident reports, participant medical forms.
  • Communicate with caregivers during pick up and drop off.
  • Mentor other staff.
  • Train and mentor teenager volunteers that assist with programming.
  • Maintain records of programs and participants.  Collect data on program effectiveness.  Organize educational resources.
  • Work in collaboration with Education Director to develop, evaluate, and improve programming.
  • Work with other Maine Audubon education staff to share best practices and align programming with Maine Audubon goals.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Qualifications:

  • Experience (minimum of five to ten years preferred) teaching environmental education to preschool students (ages 3-5) in both field and classroom settings.  Teaching certification a plus.
  • Summer or equivalent camp experience.
  • B.A./B.S. in relevant discipline (environmental studies, ecology, environmental education, etc.); Master’s degree preferred.
  • Passion for nature and conservation; enthusiasm for working with children; commitment to the mission of Maine Audubon and the work of Gilsland Farm Audubon Center.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with different age levels in a developmentally appropriate way.
  • Demonstrated ability to design projects and programs that address overarching themes through engaging, concrete learning experiences.
  • Understanding of or experience with place-based, project-based, service learning, and citizen science approaches to environmental education.
  • Strong ecological literacy and openness to learning more.
  • Collaborative attitude.  Experience working with teenage volunteers preferred.
  • Wilderness First Aid certification (or First Aid/CPR and a commitment to become WFA certified).
  • Must pass a criminal background check.
  • Must have a valid Driver’s License.

Physical Requirements:

  • Able to often lift objects up to 50 pounds when setting up program space.
  • Able to frequently hike all trails on Gilsland Farm property as part of program.
  • Able to use hands/fingers to operate computer and other program equipment.
  • Able to sit at a desk for extended periods of time.

Timing:

This position starts with a training week June 13-17. Summer Programs run June 20- August 26, 8:00am to 2pm 6 weeks of the summer and 8am to 4pm 3 weeks of the summer. Fridays are 8am to 1pm.

To apply, please submit resume and cover letter to [email protected] with Seasonal Lead Preschool Educator in the subject title. Position is open until filled.

About Maine Audubon: Maine Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization based in Falmouth, Maine, whose mission is to conserve wildlife and wildlife habitat by engaging people in conservation, education and action.

Maine Audubon is an Equal Opportunity Employer. 
Any job offers are contingent on a successful criminal background check.

Jobs at Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary

Posted on: Monday, April 4th, 2016

Borestone Assistant Property Manager

Posted on: Monday, April 4th, 2016

Location: Borestone Mountain, ME
Department: Properties
Immediate Supervisor: Borestone Property Manager

Description

Maine Audubon is a widely respected conservation organization with headquarters located in Falmouth, Maine, with state-wide influence.  Our mission is to conserve Maine’s wildlife and habitat through conservation, education, and citizen action.  We are seeking a seasonal Assistant Property Manager at Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary in Elliotsville, Maine.

The Borestone Assistant Property Manager is responsible to assist the Borestone Property Manager and staff with day to day property operations in order to provide a welcoming, friendly, safe and clean environment for overnight guests at our lodge facilities, and day visitors at Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary.  The Assistant Manager works under the direction of the Borestone Property Manager and assumes the Manager role in the absence of the Property Manager.  Responsibilities include assisting in managing lodge rentals, providing trail guidance and basic natural history information to hikers and other visitors, perfroming building and site repairs, working alongside with other property staff, assisting with management of a small retail store, and other tasks to maintain and enhance the value of the property.

Essential and Specific Functions

  • Assist with day-to-day management operations at Borestone Mountain
  • Welcome guests and visitors, providing information and shuttling guests to and from lodges via vehicle and boat
  • Participate in weekly staff work schedules and assignments
  • Perform property maintenance and repairs on a timely basis to insure a positive guest experience and maintain the quality of the existing structures
  • In coordination with the Property Manager, be available so that either the Manager or Assistant Manager stays overnight as emergency on-call employee for guests during rentals
  • Deal with guest requests and concerns on a timely basis to insure guest satisfaction
  • Assist Property Manager with administrative functions as needed (recordkeeping of repairs, vendor invoices, store inventory, etc.)
  • Meet and greet day hikers to collect day-use fees; provide directions and information to make visitor’s experience positive
  • Assist in the operation of the water chlorination system
  • Housekeeping: cleaning and sanitizing food service and dining areas, sweeping, mopping, washing windows, cleaning restrooms, and garbage removal
  • Load and unload supplies for lodges and retail store
  • Prepare lodges for occupancy and clean up after visitor stays
  • Assist in the management of a small retail store
  • Assist in the operation and maintenance of facility, including solar array, propane generator, hydro generator, battery bank, wood fireplaces, boiler, toilets
  • Maintain vehicles, boats, and other on-site equipment
  • Lead emergency team in Manager’s absence for guests and staff to insure proper response in emergency situations
  • Trail and access road maintenance
  • Other duties as assigned

Qualifications

  • Prior experience working with property rental and maintenance
  • Exceptional customer service skills and a friendly outgoing manner
  • Carpentry and general building repair skills
  • Participate in training in order to comply with new or existing laws
  • Be able to work evenings and weekends, and provide a minimum of three evenings of guest coverage on-site weekly
  • CPR/First Aid certificate desirable, Wilderness First Aid preferred
  • Must possess a valid driver’s license
  • Must be able to pass a background check
  • Physical abilities required: ability to stand, sit, bend at waist, lift and carry up to 50 lbs.
  • Ability to paddle and manage a canoe and motor boat safely

Timing, Pay, and Benefits

  • 40 hours per week position, approx.. May 16 – October 17
  • Pay rate is $560 – $600 per week, depending on experience.
  • Temporary position – not eligible for benefits
  • On-site housing is available for the duration of the position at no cost, if desired.

To apply, please submit resume and cover letter to [email protected] with Borestone Assistant Property Manager in the subject title.  We will start reviewing resumes Monday, April 18.  Position open until filled.

Maine Audubon is an Equal Opportunity Employer. 
Any job offers are contingent on a successful criminal background check.