Stories of Change Webinar Series

Each year Harpswell Heritage Land Trust chooses a theme. In 2021 we chose “Stories of Change.” Stories connect us. And our world is in the midst of great changes of all kinds.

We are excited to announce free monthly webinars featuring a line-up of fascinating speakers from all walks of life. If you can’t join us live, the webinars will be recorded. Click here to read about and watch webinars that have already happened.

Bailey Island to the Barrier Reef: Sea Stars as Sentinels of a Changing World with Jonathan Allen

Thursday, June 24, 6:30-7:30 p.m. via Zoom. Click here to register. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Dr. Jonathan Allen

Hear about Dr. Jonathan Allen’s research in Maine and Australia and the links between the two ecosystems that are sometimes rather surprising. Dr. Allen will discuss new discoveries about the ecology and development of sea stars and how studies of basic biology based on sea stars from Harpswell have had big impacts on the way scientists think about trying to manage sea stars and conserve corals on the Great Barrier Reef. In particular, he will focus on the unexpected ways that coastal runoff can lead to devastating outbreaks of coral-eating sea stars.

Dr. Jonathan Allen is an Associate Professor of Biology at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. Research in the Allen Lab focuses on the life histories of marine invertebrate animals. Since 2005, Allen has conducted research in the summers at Bowdoin’s Schiller Coastal Studies Center on Orr’s Island.

Words and Watersheds with Gary Lawless

Thursday, July 22, 6:30-7:30 p.m. via Zoom. Click here to register. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Gary Lawless (left) and Nanao

On graduating from Colby College in 1973, Gary Lawless took an unusual next step. Instead of going on to graduate school, he wrote to his favorite living poet (Gary Snyder) and asked to go and live with him as his student (or apprentice as it was called during the Renaissance). Arriving in northern California after hitchhiking across the country from Maine, Lawless found himself living in a community where the hot topic was not poetry but the idea of bioregionalism, or watershed consciousness. The community around Snyder (poets, teachers, Buddhists, scientists, Native Americans, musicians, ethnobotanists…) were involved in a conversation about living in place, and trying to understand your place in watershed terms, including what defined your place (plants, animals, soils, wind, weather…) and what the boundaries were (rivers, mountains, stories, languages…). The poets and artists were trying to find ways to get beyond the human stories to also tell the plant stories, the animal stories, the stories of wind and rock and water and the connections between these stories. As we learn more and more about the conversations, the natural systems and the relationships, we learn how to be good citizens and how to live within a place rather than on top of it. As a poet, Lawless’ work has been to find ways to express these ways of belonging in a human language, not speaking for the plants, the animals, but listening to the place and trying to speak with it.

Gary Lawless is co-owner of Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick, and a widely published poet. He has taught at SAD 75, Bates College, and MidCoast Senior College. He has been artist in residence for Isle Royale National Park, the Island Institute of Sitka, Alaska, Preble Street Center in Portland, and Spindleworks in Brunswick. He was given an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by the University of Southern Maine. He has published 19 collections of poems in the US, and 5 in Italy. He lived for 10 years in South Harpswell, and now lives in Nobleboro, Maine.

Bats, Behavior, and Wind Farms: Balancing Conservation and Green Energy with Trevor Peterson

Tuesday, August 31 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. via Zoom. Click here to register. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Trevor Peterson

Bats are one of the most diverse and fascinating groups of mammals and occupy a wide range of ecological niches across the planet. Bats are important pollinators and voracious insect predators, providing billions of dollars in estimated agricultural pest control in the United States. Like many species, bats are feeling the pressures of habitat loss, disease, climate change, and other factors. Bats are also susceptible to turbine-related mortality at commercial wind farms and are thus the focus of a lot of discussion and debate related to continued expansion of the wind energy industry. Peterson will summarize the biology and behavior of bats in Maine, introduce some of the tools bat biologists use to study bats, and describe his research on how to minimize risk to bats at commercial wind farms while continuing to generate renewable energy.

Trevor Peterson studies interactions between bats and wind turbines in his work as a senior wildlife biologist at Stantec Consulting, where he has worked since 2003. His recent graduate work at the University of Maine pioneered the use of acoustic bat detectors to manage risk to bats at commercial wind farms. Dr. Peterson’s previous research also includes using acoustics to document distribution and species composition of bats offshore and tracking bats using nanotag technology. Before joining Stantec, Trevor worked seasonally for the National Park Service at Acadia and Isle Royale National Parks. As a student at Bowdoin College, Trevor found Midcoast Maine to be a wonderful place to live, and has stayed in Brunswick ever since. Trevor and his family can often be found exploring the outdoors, playing music, and getting their feet wet in Casco Bay.

Coming up…

  • Hannah Webber
  • And more!