Over the past three years, it has been the practice of the Wells Reserve at Laudholm to publish a bit of make-believe each April Fool’s Day. We have posted hoax articles to draw attention to real issues like staff changes, invasive species, and the health of local rivers. Unfortunately, this year the truth-blurring antics of President Trump and his staff have convinced us that adding “fake news” to the local scene, even if only in jest, would be counter-productive and irresponsible.
The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America reads:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The members and visitors and supporters of the Wells Reserve at Laudholm, and the other 28 national estuarine research reserves, are feeling particularly aggrieved. We love that Petition Clause; let's do it. Let's get some of that ol' fashioned redress!
Here are two petitions to sign, via the online platform MoveOn.org.
An open letter to all lovers of nature, science, beauty, and Maine’s coast:
It’s one of the sublime pleasures of my job, each spring, to hear the wood frogs at dusk at the Wells Reserve. Their annual chorus fills me with hope. Hope for longer, warmer days. Hope for the blooms of spring and the thrills of summer.
That vernal awakening is weeks away, but over the past few days my heart was lifted by another kind of chorus — yours.
You responded heartily and quickly to OPPOSE a proposal to eliminate the entire National Estuarine Research Reserve System, including Maine’s own Wells Reserve. An early budget from the new Trump administration showed a profound disregard for the value of the 29 national reserves, these national treasures.
I say "no thank you." No way, no how. I'm adding my voice to those who want to save these places of science and wonder. But we still need more voices in the chorus.
Today's article by Colin Woodard in the Portland Press Herald has raised some concern about the possible plight of the Wells and Great Bay reserves. We appreciate your support and we promise to keep you informed about this developing story.
The release of the "budget memo" for NOAA from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is an expression of the Trump administration's spending priorities for the agency. We have not seen anything official, so all the information is based on the memo that the Washington Post obtained late last week.
Say it with us! Join the 2017 #iheartestuaries campaign on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and IRL on February 12, 13, and 14. Raise your voice on behalf of estuaries. Call out to Congress with a simple message: "I care about estuaries and this is why…"
Associated People Paul Dest
Paul's off to Washington this week for the annual alphabet soup convention, a/k/a budget pushing time in DC. The first week of March is customarily when NOAA's CZM programs — the NERRS and the SGCPs — get together with EPA's NEPs for a few days on the hill. Reserve director Dest will hunch over the tureen with his colleagues to taste test their parent agencies' justifications for spending. They'll explore nuances and compare notes, discerning seasonings before whisking to their respective Congressional offices to explain why the assembled ingredients blend to perfection.
The estuarine reserves make a palatable mélange. Operating the 28 sites requires less than 4% of the National Ocean Service (NOS) budget and just 0.3% of NOAA's $6 billion request.
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.
As a warm-up to the 2014 #iheartestuaries campaign, I asked all of our staff to fill in the blank in this sentence: "I love estuaries because __________." Here are the responses…
On February 12, 13, and 14 raise your voice on behalf of estuaries. Join our #iheartestuaries campaign to reach Congress with a simple message: "I love estuaries and this is why…"
Let your legislators know you want the NERR System funded at current levels in FY 2015. Here's how:
- Telephone, email, or tweet Maine's federal legislators.
- Share the "I Heart Estuaries" campaign on your favorite social media outlet(s).
- Write a cordial, concise note to each of Maine's federal legislators and put it in the mail. Use a postcard, letterhead, nice stationery, or a Valentine's card. Feel free to use the templates below to get started.
- Ask your friends and family to get involved, too.
The following was published in the Biddeford-Saco Journal Tribune Sunday edition, 11/24/13:
Many of the staff of the Wells Reserve at Laudholm were in West Virginia this past week for the annual conference of the 28 national estuarine research reserves. Researchers, educators, conservationists, land managers and even evangelists like me pulled ourselves away from our coastal homes to share ideas, hammer out new projects for 2014, and do some good old-fashioned colleague schmoozing.
I flew out of Portland on a sparkling, "unlimited visibility" Monday afternoon. My Southwest flight passed three miles above the Wells Reserve, giving me the rare opportunity to get a live bird's eye view of our little corner of the Maine coast. Looking down, I smiled quietly over how beautiful and tranquil the place looked.
Dr. Christine B. Feurt, coordinator of the Coastal Training Program at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), was presented with the 2012 NERR System and NERR Association Award at the annual NERRS/NERRA meeting held in West Virginia in November. The award is given annually to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the reserve system.
Associated People Paul Dest
WELLS, Maine, November 4, 2011 — Paul Dest, director of the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), was presented with the 2011 NERR System and NERR Association Award at the annual NERRS/NERRA meeting at Ponte Verde Beach, Florida, on October 27. The award is given annually to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the reserve system.
“It is truly an honor to be recognized, and especially meaningful when it is by one’s peers,” said Dest.
Associated People Paul Dest
At the annual meeting of the National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) System and NERR Association, Wells Reserve manager Paul Dest accepted the role of NERRA president for 2006-2007.
On Friday, November 4, the House and Senate conferees agreed to legislation setting the FY 06 funding levels for science-related agencies and the Departments of State, Justice, and Commerce. The $57.85 billion spending bill that was approved included $3.9 billion for NOAA, splitting the difference between the Senate mark of $4.5 billion and the House mark of $3.38 billion. The final figure for NOAA is $21 million more than NOAA’s FY 05 budget and $364.8 million above the President’s budget request.
—Thanks to Angela at the National Estuarine Research Reserve Association
The spending level for the NERR System is $16.4 million.
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