Climate Resilience Series

In 2024 the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust is hosting a series of four programs around the theme of climate resilience, thanks to funding from Casco Bay Estuary Partnership. Climate change is a heavy subject, especially in Harpswell after the January storms that devastated much of our working waterfront infrastructure. Storms like the ones we’ve had this year make it difficult to have hope for a climate-positive future. This series of programs will center on strength that comes from the community and demonstrates that we can and will bounce back together. We hope to leave individuals feeling like they know what they can do to positively impact the future health of Casco Bay and the people that love and depend on it. This series will include an informational speaker event, an outdoor family event, an arts-based event, and a community gathering.

HHLT Outreach & Education Director Lindy Magness is organizing this climate resilience series and feels a strong attachment to this work. We asked her a few questions about the project.

Why Climate Resilience?

I actually had to delay my start date when I accepted my job with HHLT because of the January storms, so all of my initial experiences with quintessential Harpswell were with areas that had been ravaged by the extreme weather. Seeing all the damage at places like Johnson Field and Giant’s Stairs was really intense, and left me committed to protecting these special places. My role in this project is focused on connecting the community and educating the public on why it’s important to conserve these landscapes and feeling positive about our ability to do so.

I think it’s exciting to focus on what we can do and what we can save. This area of Casco Bay is really important to me, and I want people to be able to experience this beautiful area for years to come.

What is Resilience?

My definition of resilience is an organism’s ability to bounce back, whether that’s from a particular challenge or from purposeful exertion, like an athlete. It’s the ability to come back from that to a centered space, even a stronger place than the organism started. Climate resilience is the resilience of an individual or a community that is focused on combating climate change. We can’t necessarily reverse climate change, but we can implement practices that help slow or stop that progression and learn to adjust to new norms.

Why is Climate Resilience for Everyone?

We want everyone to feel like they can enter this conversation. We have intentionally designed this series to help folks see themselves as an agent of climate resilience. We hope that after each program, people leave with a tangible thing they can do to help protect our environment for future generations.


Programs

Generational Thinking: Wabanaki Wisdom for Climate Resilience and Community Land Management

On July 9 we hosted Maulian (Dana) Bryant at our Annual Meeting to speak about climate resilience as a way of life in indigenous culture. Maulian shared some great stories and powerful insight with us during her talk, and we’d like to reflect on her words with some questions. If you were unable to join us at the Annual Meeting, you can watch Maulian’s talk in this recording by Harpswell TV. Her portion begins around 34:36 if you’d like to skip ahead.

Question 1: Maulian shared the story of the Frog Monster – one of the origin stories of the Penobscot Bay. What stories from your family were formative for your relationship with nature?
Question 2: Maulian shared about swimming to an island with her daughters, knowing that it would become a special memory. What memories do you have from your life that involve connecting with nature? What special places would you like to share with the important people in your life?
Question 3: Maulian talked about getting involved in policy work and advocacy, even though none of the pictures on the wall at the capital look like her. What are things you might like to get involved with to help protect our community from future climate challenges? How can you reduce the barriers that keep you from getting involved with local climate action?
Interested in sharing your thoughts? We would love to hear from you! Feel free to email Lindy Magness at lindy@hhltmaine.org if you’d like to share your reflections, or if you have questions.

We’re excited for our Climate Resilience Nature Journaling event on August 18!

Climate Resilience Through Nature Journaling

Our next program is with Claire Baldwin, a local naturalist-illustrator for a nature study event as a way of helping people cultivate their personal resilience. Claire points out that “experiencing the effects of climate change can feel overwhelming. But by creating art, we can open our eyes to the infinite beauty the natural world contains and cultivate a deep well of resilience.” Claire’s program will take place at Skolfield Shores Preserve on Sunday, August 18.

Check back to read about the rest of the programs in this series.