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Environmental Studies

Community Matters in Maine~Psi Upsilon Fellowship Descriptions

Fellowships & Internships

Project Descriptions Summer 2012

Descriptions for Summer 2012: Please note that the projects described below are indicative of the types available for each organization. Students will be matched to a particular organization based on their interests and skills and the sponsoring organization's needs. Also please note that some of the fellowship placements may require the use of a vehicle.

2012 Sponsor Organizations: 

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Town of Brunswick Department of Planning and Development

The Fellow will be an important member of Brunswick’s Department of Planning and Development staff tasked with one or two projects for their completion by the end of the fellowship.  Tasks could include computer research, field work, GIS mapping in the areas of environmental/natural resource planning and/or community planning.  The Fellow will be invited to participate in meetings of various boards and commissions and will be expected to do presentations at the completion of key phases.  It is anticipated that the Fellow will work closely with the Town of Brunswick and its stakeholder group as we continue to develop a recreation, trails and open space management plan for the former BNAS lands. As part of the redevelopment of the Brunswick Naval Air Station, formally disestablished on May 31, 2011, the Town of Brunswick will be conveyed over 1000 acres of lands designated for conservation and very limited related uses.  Beginning in 2011, the Town began work with the National Park Service and designated stakeholders to develop a recreation, trails and open space management plan for the conveyed lands.  As the stakeholders begin the actual plan development, including proposing a trail layout, further field checking, flagging and GPS marking will be needed.  The Fellow would have an opportunity to conduct such tasks, in addition to being an active participant in the overall planning process.   During 2011, Brunswick and Bowdoin College brought together regional communities and nonprofits to discuss the possibility for a joint Fellow” project.  An outcome of that effort was the idea to form a regional trail collaborative.  It is anticipated that the 2012 Fellow will have an opportunity to continue with this effort as the collaborative idea begins to take shape.  

 Possible projects include:

  • Assistance with continued development of the Town's Recreation, Trails and Open Space Management Plan for the former Brunswick Naval Air Station lands that will be conveyed to Brunswick
  • Participate in the stakeholder process associated with development of the town's Open Space Plan
  • Serve as a liaison between the towns of Brunswick and other area towns in the development of a joint trail initiative. 
  • Other projects may include research and/or field work relative to the updating of our Zoning Ordinance, specifically zoning districts/land use throughout the Town.

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 Brunswick Topsham Land Trust (Brunswick)

The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (BTLT) was founded in 1985 to conserve the remarkable diversity of the natural heritage of Brunswick, Topsham and Bowdoin. With the conservation of more than 1,500 acres of natural areas the BTLT meaningfully has addressed its mission to "identify and then protect all lands in our communities with true ecological, agricultural and aesthetic importance."  The fellow placed with the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (BTLT) for the summer of 2012 will have a diverse and exciting experience with many aspects of the BTLT operations.  In addition to learning about the day to day operations of a land trust, the fellow will be involved with two newer initatives.  The BTLT is engaged in a regional initiative to expand capacity and support for local agriculture.  The second initiative involves expanding a barrier survey in the lower Androscoggin Watershed, a critical component of restoring fish passage within the Androscoggin River watershed.  The fellowship will provide a student with experience in day to day land trust operations, the role of land trust in conservation initiatives such as building capacity for local agriculture and river restoration and hands on experience in the use of GIS for strategic planning.

Possible projects include: 

  • Assist with the operation of our new in 2012 Tom Settlemire Community Garden
  • Assist summer stewardship staff with boundary marking of preserves, drafting baseline documentation reports and trail stewardship 
  • Assist BTLT Associate Director with implementation of recently approved procedures and policies related to our recent application for Land Trust Accreditation
  • Assist Farmland Conservation project manager in various tasks related to farmland conservation in our region and promotion of local food consumption
  • Assist with the Crystal Spring Farmer’s market operations as necessary. 
  • Work with the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust to explore expanding KELT’s barrier survey work into the Androscoggin River.

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 Cultivating Community (based in Portland, carpooling may be arranged)

Cultivating Community, based in Portland, Maine and active in greater Portland and Lewiston, is committed to growing sustainable communities in three ways: by feeding our hungry, empowering our youth and community, and healing our planet. We are a community food project. In our urban and school gardens and at our suburban organic farm, we grow produce that feeds hungry people. We also run farm stands, farmers markets, and food distribution programs (including low/no-cost CSA projects) focused on creating access for all to healthy food. We use that community food work as a platform for youth and community development. Our youth grow and distribute food, learn about sustainable agriculture and food systems, and work together to solve problems and strengthen their own communities. We have independent youth programs as well as partnerships with schools. We are also a farmer training project. We connect Maine’s newest Americans—primarily immigrants from East Africa and Central America—with the land, skills, and resources needed to start farm-based enterprises. In connection with this we operate a community garden in a predominantly refugee neighborhood of Portland and provide farmland access in Lisbon, ME near Lewiston. Marketing collectively as Fresh Start Farms, refugees enrolled in our farmer training program currently attend more than 20 farmers markets and operate a 150-member CSA. Finally, Cultivating Community is an environmental action project. We model organic, sustainable, and low-impact practices and incorporate these ideals into our education, training, and volunteer programs.  Fellowship options will involve some hands-on work at our urban and suburban farm sites performing farm chores and participating in some aspect of farm-based programming. Within that framework and based on student interest and other staffing variables, several fellowship emphases are possible, including volunteer and events coordinator, youth program assistant and summer kitchen coordinator, and farmers market assistant.

Possible projects include:

  • As a volunteer and events coordinator, the fellow would manage logistics for volunteer groups, staff open volunteer work hours in the garden or farm (coordinating with the agriculture staff  to identify volunteer work plans), and prepare our Cape Elizabeth site for bi-weekly farm dinners.
  • As a youth assistant and summer kitchen coordinator, the fellow would assist the youth programs manager A desire to work with young people and some cooking experience is required;
  • As a farmers market assistant, the fellow would increase community food access by supporting our network of farm stands and farmers markets that accept SNAP (Food Stamps)
  • Conduct research on barriers to healthier diets in low-income communities and the role of food as a community organizaing tool
  • Identify possible farmer maket partners and farm stand locations for explansion of food access initiative.

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 Friends of Casco Bay (based in South Portland) requires use of vehicle

Friends of Casco Bay is an independent, community-based nonprofit organization founded in 1989 to improve and protect the environmental health of Casco Bay.  Our work involves advocacy, education, water quality monitoring, and collaborative problem solving.  Home to the Casco BAYKEEPER®, we are a founding member of WATERKEEPER® ALLIANCE, a network of more than 200 environmental groups working to protect waters around the world. This fellowship provides an opportunity for students interested in a career in marine or environmental science to work with an organization that incorporates research and citizen science in seeking effective solutions for the health of the Bay. This summer, the fellow will be building upon the previous summer's pilot project that exams shifts in pH and implications for marine resources in the Bay. 

Possible projects include:

  • Clam flat and nearshore pH monitoring: developing a community based approach  Friends of Casco Bay has been measuring baseline levels of pH in our coastal waters for the past 20 years. Our data indicates that the Bay’s pH is decreasing, mirroring ocean acidification trends globally. In our nearshore areas, such as clam flats, our waters are further threatened by local sources of nitrogen pollution which also contributes to increasing acidity. During the summer of 2012, a Psi U Fellow will help expand our efforts to monitor pH at 25 clam flats and help analyze the data to determine the extent to which ocean acidification threatens our clamming resources. We will also explore the feasibility of developing a replicable protocol for measuring pH in clam flat sediments and educate clammers about ways to remediate the effects of acidification. Given the threat acidification poses to our clamming industry, expanding our monitoring program to include clam flats may prove crucial for our community.
  • Participation in meetings and conferences
  • Assisting with other projects as needed 


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 Kennebec Estuary Land Trust (based in Bath, carpooling may be arranged)

The Kennebec Estuary Land Trust (KELT) has been active in land conservation in the midcoast region for over 20 years.  Formally established as the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust in 2009, KELT serves the towns of Arrowsic, Bath, West Bath, Georgetown, Westport Island and Woolwich.  KELT seeks a Summer Fellow to assist with key outreach and land stewardship projects that will improve our properties and our understanding of who and how our preserves are used, what our members’ value and desire from KELT and how we can increase and diversify our audience.   The Fellow reports directly to the Executive Director and works closely with staff and members of the community to further progress in identified projects. The Kennebec Estuary Land Trust (KELT) seeks a Summer Fellow to assist with key projects identified for the summer of 2012. The Kennebec Estuary Shellfish Area Project works on raising awareness of water quality issues and direct impacts on shellfish beds.  KELT will manage outreach, sampling, area pollution source surveys, GIS analysis, and management of volunteers to work toward a better understanding of the sources and movement of fecal pollution on shellfish flats. The long term goal is refinement of classifications, identification of sources of fecal pollution, and opening more areas for shellfish harvesting. KELT is partnering with Brunswick Topsham Land Trust to support sustainable agriculture that enhances quality of life and place in the Midcoast region. This project protects important farmland and facilitates local food production and markets including outreach regarding the connection between farmland protection and locally produced food, emphasizing associated benefits to the environment and economy. Stewardship Field Work is vital to our mission and continues to be a program where volunteers thrive.  KELT has a work plan and will take on a new challenge of managing two projects to combat invasive species. 

Possible projects include:

  • Assist with GIS mapping to assist with KELT's strategic planning process.  
  • Assist Farmland Conservation project manager in various tasks related to farmland conservation in our region and promotion of local food consumption
  • Assist with stewardship of KELT properties including monitoring and trail work as needed
  • Assist with analysis of water pollution impacts on local clam flats through sampling and GIS analysis
  • Other duties as needed

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 Maine League of Conservation Voters(based in Augusta, carpooling may be arranged)

Maine Conservation Voters/Maine Conservation Alliance (MCV/MCA) plays a critical role in turning public support for conservation into new laws to protect our air, land, water and wildlife. As a result of successful campaign strategies, a focused policy agenda, and sharp accountability tools, we are building Maine’s environmental movement into a powerful political force.  MCV/MCA seeks a student intern who will forward our mission by assisting with key projects like our annual Environmental Scorecard, newsletter and new media communications (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Wordpress).  Additionally, the student will assist in increasing our field presence through community outreach and education events and help steward the Environmental Priorities Coalition, a partnership of 26 environmental, conservation and public health organizations. This internship is an excellent opportunity to develop relationships with legislators, community members, conservationists and environmental leaders. MCV especially encourages creative ideas on utilizing new media (e.g., student blog, online video production).

Possible projects include:

  • Development of annual Environmental Scorecard which tracks the voting records of Maine legislators. 
  • Assist with production of newsletter which provides tiely updates on MCLV  which includes a "Meet Your Legislator" series featuring interviews with environmental leaders at the State House
  • Assist with incorporation of new media communications (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Wordpress) 
  • Increase field presence in the community through outreach, educational, and and community events.

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 The Nature Conservancy (Brunswick)

The Nature Conservancy works around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. In Maine, we are involved in projects that protect and restore our forest lands, our freshwater, and our marine systems. We collaborate with forest land owners, fishermen, and communities to sustainably manage and protect Maine’s environment.  Our policy work at the federal and state level is critical to build toward conservation solutions on the ground and in the water.  In addition, the Conservancy own 79 nature preserves that are open to the public and must be carefully managed.  This fellowship provides a unique opportunity to work in both the science and policy offices of a large environmental nonprofit.  The fellow will help the Land Stewardship (5 weeks) and External Affairs (5 weeks) teams at The Nature Conservancy in Maine. We are seeking a well-organized, motivated student to work with staff on land stewardship activities on TNC preserves throughout Maine and help us develop our Broadening the Base for Conservation program. The Fellow should have good verbal and written communication skills, be able to work independently, be willing to learn simple construction skills and work outdoors in sometimes difficult conditions (rain, insects, heat, etc.), and demonstrate skill at team leadership. The Fellow should also be motived to work with a wide range of people and thereby engage and learn about significant aspects of our work in Maine and around the world while gaining practical experience that can be applied to a nonprofit career.  

Possible projects include:

  •  The Land Stewardship team is in the process of rebuilding a mile-long boardwalk at Saco Heath Preserve. If the Fellow has access to a vehicle, we propose to have them supervise a team of LEAF (Leadership for Environmental Action for the Future) interns in trail rebuilding and boardwalk construction (TNC staff will provide training to the Fellow). The LEAF interns are high school students from the New York City/New Haven, CT region who spend four weeks in Maine working for The Nature Conservancy. If the Fellow does not have access to a vehicle, he/she will work with other stewardship staff out of our Brunswick office on land management activities which may include trail maintenance, conservation easement monitoring, ecological monitoring, mapping, management planning, invasive weed control, and public outreach.
  • TNC is developing a strategic framework for broadening our base for conservation which will likely result in the Conservancy working with new partners and constituents. Over this winter, a team of staff is developing a set of recommendations on ways in which we might accomplish this work; we will be interviewing various agencies and organizations to identify common themes and potential partnership opportunities. Our expectation is that the Psi U Fellow will help our Broadening the Base for Conservation team in providing additional research or developing program materials.

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Topsham Department of Planning and Development 

 The internship position(s) will involve working with the Town of Topsham’s Natural Resource/ Assistant Planner on natural resource inventories and working the Town's Conservation Commission, Tree Committee, Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee, Historic District Commission, and possible Economic Development Committee. Topsham is a growing community where there exists the challenge of balancing growth and protecting valuable natural areas. This position will provide hands-on experience for students interested in municipal planning, conservation/ natural resource planning, and creative solutions used by towns to address growth pressures.  Two major projects are forming for this summer, one is the watershed planingt effort that is being lead by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.  This will involve research and field work to help Topsham identify non-point source pollution impacts, and offer remediation strategies.  This project involves working with state agency staff and consultants in the development of the watershed plan.  The second project is a cutting edge research project that is investigating innovative strategies for vernal pool protection.  The project involves working with University researchers, conservation organizations and stakeholders.  

Possible projects include:

  • Urban Impaired Stream Watershed Planning – Working with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection – Field surveying and reporting, policy development.
  • Vernal Pool Project – Working with MDEP and Army Corps of engineers as well as UMaine professors to develop strategies on vernal pool protections (Mapping, filed surveys)
  • GIS mapping. Research all Town owned parcels, conservation easements, and other protected areas in Town, and continue the development of an “Open Space” GIS database
  • Trail planning. Help Conservation Commission in all trail planning efforts (to include mapping, as well as field work).
  • Recreation planning. Assist in the Design and Development of Park Facilities and Interpretive Amenities

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Maine Coast Heritage Trust Erickson Fields Preserve  ***Note – This fellowship is based in Rockport but housing is provided.

 NEW!!!The fellow will assist with agricultural programming at the Erickson Fields and Aldermere Farm Preserves in Rockport Maine. The position will entail both with direct hands-on field work and involvement in running community programs held at the preserve.  The fellow will participate in diverse agriculture and land-preservation related programming and  work directly with the program manager to support families, children, and teens in growing community gardens, assist with crop production through direct work in the field, participate in program presentations, help with site maintenance, and support teens in learning agriculture and job skills. 

Erickson Fields Preserve Programming in 2012 includes the Teen Ag. Crew, consisting of four teenagers from area high schools who will grow vegetables on approximately ½ acre of land for contracts with area food pantries and for direct sale.  A community garden with raised beds will be offered to the public for private use and also for Harvest for Hunger gardening.  The intern could be asked to assist with several weekly programs including Kids Can Grow garden mentoring and summer camp programming, and will help the Teen Ag. Crew prepare a presentation at the Common Ground Country Fair in September.

The fellow could be involved in individually designed projects that fit with MCHT goals that might include site design and planning, a  forest resource inventory,  trail building and mapping, perennial garden planting and maintenance, fence building, hoop house construction, and animal husbandry.  This opportunity provides experience for students interested in land conservation, environmental studies, education and outdoor education, sustainable agriculture, landscape architecture, permaculture deign, and homesteading.  Experience growing vegetables along with interest in working in the sustainable agriculture field, with youth programming, or in the field of environmental education would be beneficial.  Qualifications include the ability to work independently, maintain a schedule, do hard physical labor in the garden, and respectfully supervise teens while promoting independence and growth.  A driver’s license is required for this position.  A vehicle is helpful but not required.

Participation in early season planning from April 23 to mid May prior to starting full time is negotiable, but would be beneficial.   

Possible projects include:

  • Teen Ag crew supervision and teambuilding activities
  • Assistance with planting, cultivating and harvesting of produce, site work such as construction of hoop houses and wash station design and construction 
  • Assist with Kids Can Grow programming including site visits
  • Develop a forest resource inventory for preserve
  • Trail planning, mapping and building       

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