Last Thursday, I was fortunate to be among about 75 people who gathered at the Footbridge Beach parking lot in Ogunquit to unveil a rock dedicating the estuary in memory of Isabel Lewando who died in 2011. Isabel came to Ogunquit in the 1950's and established herself as a model, artist, writer, and photographer. She was also a life-long defender of the environment, particularly the Ogunquit River and beach.
Along the 7,500-mile Gulf of Maine shoreline, an extreme high tide on October 9 will illustrate what may become—with sea-level rise—the new tidal norm. Participants in the first-ever Gulf of Maine King Tides Photo Contest will document how that day’s astronomical high tide affects roads, docks, marshes, beaches, and other coastal settings. Citizens are encouraged to join the contest by submitting images taken with their cameras or smartphones. Details on taking part are at gulfofmaine.kingtides.net.
“Sea-level rise is not in some far-off future. It’s here and we’re already seeing the effects,” said Suzanne Kahn, education director at the Wells Reserve at Laudholm. “When the sun and moon align to cause exceptionally high tides, like the ‘king tide’ coming on October 9, we get a preview of how high a typical tide could be in the coming years.”
Associated People Kate Reichert
"What an impact! Verifiable scientific information--not political lies! Excellent! A must see and hear program for ALL! Really relevant! Outstanding! Data rich and easily understood!" These are comments written on evaluation forms at the end of Dr. Paul Mayewski's Climate Stewards evening lecture in Mather Auditorium last week. Mayewski, the Director and Distinguished Professor of the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, took us on a "journey into climate," sharing results from research he and others have conducted over the past forty years in Antarctica and the Arctic. Did you miss the lecture? Don't fret! Kate filmed it and you can watch it in its entirety here.
Short on time? Below is a sampling of the many nuggets of information Mayewski shared:
- 2011 was the most expensive natural catastrophe year ever
- We are entering the "Age of Climate Decision"--there are opportunities if we take the time to understand what could happen in the future
- Antarctica has 6,000 feet of ice
- Greenland has the thickest ice in the Northern Hemisphere with 110,000 years of records revealed with deep ice cores
- Ice cores are "buried time machines"
- The recent rise in carbon dioxide is 100 times faster than any other time in the past 800,000 years
- As population increases, so do levels of carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), radioactivity, acid rain, copper, lead, and mercury
- As population increases, pressures mount on water, food, and energy supplies worldwide
- Large ice sheets are changing very fast--"the sleeping giant is awakening"
- The Arctic has heated more than any other region in the world (eight degrees over the last five years with up to twice as many melting days), resulting in changing atmospheric patterns
- As permafrost melts, methane is released
- Sea level rise could reach 13 feet in the next 100 years
- Climate change is a security issue that pervades everything we do
Dr. Mayewski left us with a final thought: "The age of climate decision is here and our actions will define the course of civilization and the health of our planet. We must continue to find ways to mitigate future change while facing the reality that we have no choice other than adaptation, ideally with a goal of sustainability."
Ann Dugovic and Joan & Peter Griswold (below, with Dr. Paul Mayewski) were lucky winners of Journey into Climate, one of Mayewski's over 350 publications to date.
Funding for the Climate Stewards Evening Lecture Series is generously provided through the NOAA Climate Stewards Education Project.
The following was published in the Biddeford-Saco Journal Tribune Sunday edition, 9/21/2014.
With a too-short summer and the back-to-school fracas, anyone would be pardoned for missing the official Congressional resolution naming this coming week “National Estuaries Week,” the annual celebration of the places where rivers meet the sea.
Before you get too excited, please understand that the resolution is merely pending, and that estuaries don’t get the whole month. According to Congress, the entire 30 days of September have, in recent years, been reserved for Gospel Music Heritage, Bourbon Heritage, Prostate Cancer Awareness, Childhood Obesity, Honey, and even Self-Awareness. (And you thought our legislators didn’t do anything – shame on you.)
Resolved or not, 1/52nd of a year certainly seems like a worthy amount of time to devote to estuaries, those humble places of mud and marsh that do so much.
Associated People Tracy Kay
The local paper of record didn't print this letter to the editor these last two weeks, so we'll just publish it ourselves!
Thank you again, one and all, for another great Crafts Festival.
For 27 years running, dedicated volunteers and the staff of the Wells Reserve and Laudholm Trust, along with hundreds of master artisans, have been proving that there is life here after Labor Day.
This year was no exception, as 180 friends and neighbors banded together to pull off the annual Laudholm Nature Crafts Festival on September 6-7. Thirty-two hundred attendees browsed finely crafted works by more than 110 artisans, even in Saturday’s surprising swelter.
The Crafts Festival is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Wells Reserve at Laudholm and supports our coastal research, education, and conservation programs. We like to think of it as “Southern Maine’s best art festival,” because it pairs art with nature to help protect, preserve, and study the very environment -- Maine’s coast – from which so many of us draw inspiration and energy.
Proceeds from this year’s festival will also be used to complete a solar panel installation that will make the Wells Reserve the first nonprofit in Maine to go “100% solar powered” this fall.
Our most heartfelt thanks go out to our tireless volunteers, our lead sponsors Kennebunk Savings, Marshall Tent Rentals, and Maine Magazine, Duffy’s Tavern, and the 30+ other local businesses who generously donated goods and services to help make this year’s Laudholm Nature Crafts Festival a great success once again.
President, Laudholm Trust
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