Location: Bowdoin / Environmental Studies / Fellowships & Internships / psi-u-internship / Community Matters in Maine Fellowship Descriptions

Environmental Studies

Community Matters in Maine Fellowship Descriptions

Project Descriptions Summer 2014

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.

2014 Sponsor Organizations: 

Return To Community Matters in Maine Page

Bicycle Coalition of Maine

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine (BCM) works to make Maine better for bicycling (and walking) through legislation and policy, advocacy, education, enforcement and encouragement.  The fellow will focus on one of two important topics for the bicycle advocacy movement: the economic impact of bicycling in Maine; or, how to increase bicycle mode share in Portland and other big towns in Maine.

Possible projects include:

  • Economic impact of bicycling in Maine.  The follow would research existing and related studies on biking in Maine and in other states; identify a subset of bicycling--e.g. bicycle businesses, bicycle events--to focus on; design the research question and process; collect data; and summarize findings.
  • Increasing bicycle mode share in Portland. The fellow would research Portland's past efforts, strategies and performance in increasing the number of bicyclists in the City.  (S)he would also review past practices nationwide involving encouragement, education and incentive programs to increase mode-share.  Based on this research, the fellow will design a number of participants.  The successes and failures of this program will shape the final design of the program, which BCM hopes to launch in the spring of 2015.
  • Other possible projects the fellow may be involved with: Identification and creation of sustainable funding for bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure in Maine; School Location Selection (Siting) Policies in Maine and their impact on student walking/biking; Development of pilot biking program for underserved populations; New England States Bicycle and Pedestrian Laws and Crash Statistics; Vulnerable User Laws in the US and elsewhere, and their impact on bike/ped crash rates; Two-Abreast Laws, and their Impact on Bike Crash Statistics

 Return to Top of Page

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 primarily televised presentations at the completion of key project phases.  It is anticipated that the Fellow will work closely with the Town of Brunswick staff and stakeholder groups for work that may include assistance with the initial development of a new 5.5 mile trail system located upon the Kate Furbish Preserve, implementation of the Master Plan  for the former BNAS East Brunswick Transmitter Site, initial field reconnaissance of natural features and any paths within the West Side properties of the former BNAS and conveyed to the Town.  Other possible projects may include ongoing implementation of the adopted Downtown Brunswick and Outer Pleasant Street Master Plan and work associated with the Town’s Zoning Ordinance Rewrite now underway.  

  Possible projects include:

  • Assistance with the initial development of portions of a new 5.5 mile trail system as part of the Kate Furbish Preserve.  This project will be led by the Town’s Department of Parks and Recreation through staffing resources provided by the Maine Conservation Corps.
  • Initial GIS field reconnaissance of West Side properties of the former Brunswick Naval Air Station conveyed to the Town.
  • Potential implementation of the to-be-completed East Brunswick Transmitter Site Master Plan (66 acres).
  • Continuation of the regional trail collaborative effort, Androscoggin to Kennebec Trail.
  • Mapping assistance related to the Town’s Zoning Ordinance Rewrite. 
  • Assisting Department staff in conducting Town-held conservation easement monitoring visits.

 Return to Top of Page


 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 2014 will have a diverse and exciting experience working in many areas of our 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 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 the use of GIS for strategic planning.

Possible projects include: 

  • Assisting with coordination of Farmers’ Market and Community Garden, including staffing land trust booth on Saturday mornings and developing and implementing educational programming at the Community Garden;;
  • Assisting with stewardship, including working with GIS information, updating digital records, data gathering and management, field work (trail work and property management);
  • Developing public education materials, including information about the land trust, interpretive materials, and child-oriented activities and promotional materials relating to BTLT and its programs, such as press releases, and social media outreach;
  • Assisting with development, including membership data management, grantor prospect research, and grant writing;   
  • Assisting Farmland Protection Specialist in various tasks related to farmland conservation and promotion of local food consumption;
  • Coordinating a BTLT-sponsored event (e.g. a trail run at Crystal Spring Farm) designed to build awareness of the land trust’s work and raise money for programs;
  • Supporting BTLT’s new Family Outing Club program and monthly community outings;
  • Reviewing BTLT property management plans and esement property baselines for compliance with LTA and accreditation standards and recommending revisions as needed;
  • Developing interpretive materials, child/family centered activities, and materials designed to build appreciation for nature and promote outdoor fun on the Cathance River Trail (which will formally open in June of 2014).   

 Return to Top of Page

  Environmental Health Strategies Center (based in Portland carpooling may be arranged)

The Environmental Health Strategy Center works to prevent cancer, learning disabilities, and other health problems through science-based advocacy and grassroots organizing around toxic chemicals. Fellows will build our base of support for statewide and national campaigns to protect families from toxic chemicals, while also helping to build pressure on elected officials by engaging supporters in taking action. This is a great opportunity to develop skills in grassroots organizing, environmental policy, and public health.

Possible projects include

  • Conducting public outreach and political education at events across the state
  • Coordinating events such as films and workshops, with special focus on childhood development and cancer-affected communities
  • Reaching out to supporters to take action through phone calls, emails, and social media
  • Recruiting activists to join rallies and media events

Return to Top of Page

 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, we are looking for a fellow to focus on one of the following possible projects:  

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 22 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 2014, a Psi U Fellow will help expand our efforts to monitor pH at two “keystone” clam flats in Casco Bay and help analyze the data to determine the extent to which ocean acidification threatens our clamming resources. This work will require some field sampling as well as lab analysis. Our work will be conducted in collaboration with world renowned scientists such as Dr. Brian Beal from the University of Main – Machias, and Dr. Mark Green from Saint Joseph’s College. We will also continue to refine our 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.
  • Data analysis with a regional perspective. For the past 22 years, volunteers and staff at Friends of Casco Bay have been collecting water quality data and general atmospheric conditions to better understand the environmental health of our local waters. This project will focus on applying qualitative and quantitative data to help answer questions about the health of the Bay that we have not yet explored. Possible components of this project include;
    • We know that as spring arrives in the Bay the water becomes stratified into layers called thermoclines (where temperatures change dramatically). One question might be to look at our collected annual data from all regions to see if there are patterns to when stratification begins, at what depth, and for how long they persist.
    • Another research project could be to correlate rainfall events with our salinity data to better document the impacts on coastal habitats.
    • A third question to explore might be to review our volunteer synoptic data for a given date and time across the Bay to highlight regions that might be consistently different or not from other regions of Casco Bay

Return to Top of Page

Maine Coast Fishermen's Association (based in Topsham)

The Maine Coast Fishermen's Association (MCFA) is an environmental non-profit organization founded by commercial fishermen who, as stewards of the marine ecosystem, promote and advocate for the restoration of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem while balancing the needs of Maine’s iconic fishermen and fishing communities. MCFA works to enhance the ecological sustainability and the long-term environmental restoration of the Gulf of Maine through advocacy, education, outreach, and collaborative research projects.   The MCFA works in the policy arena and is increasingly becoming involved with innovative business plans to sustain, both ecologically and economically, the community-based fishermen living along the coast of Maine from Kittery to Mount Desert Island. These fishermen typically target groundfish, but also participate in other fisheries including shrimp, scallops and lobster. Interning with MCFA would involve policy research, seafood-marketing outreach with fishermen and local restaurants, and supporting project development on an innovative spatial information application aimed at helping fishermen avoid at-risk fish species. The summer is the busiest part of the fishing season, so there will be a mixture of meeting with fishermen, computer time and attending meetings with organizational partners such as The Nature Conservancy, the Island Institute, and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. The scope and definition of a summer project will be determined by common interests of the student and MCFA.

Possible projects include:

  • Local Seafood Initiative.  The farm-to-table local food movement has increased dramatically in the last decade and has resulted in access to locally produced food year-round in the Brunswick area. However, aside from lobsters, seafood is rarely included. We are finding that there is little awareness among coastal community members that they can influence the health of the oceans by choosing what seafood to purchase. MCFA working to create a Local Seafood Initiative to raise awareness of local seafood in coastal Maine, and connect community members with their local fishermen through the shared experience of food. The student’s involvement in the project will include compiling information from local chefs, and restaurant managers on the perceptions and knowledge of consumers regarding seafood and the fishermen that harvest it, and meeting with fishermen and increasing awareness among community members about the availability of locally and sustainably harvested seafood. Additionally, this information can be used in state wide local food initiatives being conducted by the University of Maine and by the Maine Food Strategy. 
  • Increasing community awareness through Oral Histories of Gulf of Maine Fishermen. The Maine Coast Oral History Initiative aims to strengthen connections between coastal community members, the marine environment and our fishing heritage through fishermen’s stories. The project is focusing on sharing working knowledge through oral histories to increase our understanding of changes within the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and the cultural importance of fishing in coastal communities. For individual fishermen and their communities, the particulars of their geography and fishery often determine how they relate to each other up and down the coast. The unique ways in which fishermen relate to their homeports gives each harbor a distinct set of characteristics that demonstrate the local diversity along Maine’s coast. The internship will include organizing and creating exhibitions and multi-media displays of the fishermen and their recorded oral histories. Partners for exhibitions and outreach development include The Island Institute, Salt, and the Maine Maritime Museum.

Return to Top of Page

The Nature Conservancy (Brunswick)

The Nature Conservancy is a science-based international, nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy has been working in Maine for some 56 years. With partners we have conserved more than one million acres of forests, wetlands, ponds, streams and over 100 coastal islands and we have restored miles of rivers and work within marine systems.  The Fellow will assist the External Affairs (policy) team at The Nature Conservancy in Maine. (It is possible that we have two positions). We will also give fellows significant time to work (weekly) with land crews, so that field experience is gained.  In addition, opportunities to work on national policy platform item with our DC based staff (remotely) and with the marketing team is an option.  The fellow will work on a policy campaign related to source water protection in all aspects of campaign planning. In addition, this summer the fellow will help to further develop a key contacts program which allows us to educate specific members on key policy issues.

Possible projects include:

  • The fellow would work with the policy to work on all aspects of the CleanWater and Safe Communities Bond which is a statewide funding initiative.  The initiative will relate the value of clean water to meeting human and ecological needs.  This will give you significant policy campaign experience, coalition building and outreach experience. 
  • The fellow will work with our US Government Relations team remotely to conduct significant research on a major conservation policy issue. This will allow the fellow to learn how a large NGO works both locally and nationally.  In addition, there may be significant opportunity to work with our media team and to have field work time – trail work etc.

Return to Top of Page

Stantec Environmental Consulting (Topsham)

Stantec’s Environmental Services group is dedicated to managing environmental issues professionally and proactively and includes specialists in wildlife biology, wetland science, botany, habitat restoration, permitting, GIS, and Information Management. We focus on collecting accurate field data following scientifically defensible protocols and helping our clients navigate the constantly landscape of environmental regulations and policies. The Stantec Summer Intern, based in our Topsham, Maine office, will support staff in the office and field and will be involved in a variety of tasks that may include wetland characterizations, wildlife assessments at wind projects, endangered species surveys, literature review, data management, and technical writing. We are seeking talented and enthusiastic individuals with a keen interest in the natural sciences and an appreciation for the importance of quality fieldwork and attention to detail. The internship will be office based but may include periods of remote fieldwork, for which transportation and lodging would be provided. The intern will be exposed to several different projects in the field and office over the course of the fellowship. Likely office-based projects will be creation of a database of results of publicly available bird and bat mortality studies conducted by Stantec and others at commercial wind projects in North America and creation of annotated bibliographies of recent literature on bird and bat impacts at wind projects. Likely field-based projects will include operating a GPS for wetland delineations at one of several potential remote projects in Maine, or conducting post-construction bird and bat mortality surveys at an operational wind project in the northeast.   

Return to Top of Page

Topsham Department of Planning and Development 


The fellowship position will involve working with the Town of Topsham's Natural Resource Planner, Planning Director, and Economic Development Director on natural resource inventories, economic development planning and mapping.  The fellow will work with local citizen's from the Town's Conservation Commission, Tree Committee, Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee, Historic District Commission, and Economic Development Committee.  Topsham is a growing community where ther exists the challenge of balancing growth and protecting valuable natural areas.  The position will provide hands-on experience for students interested in municipal planning, conservation/natural resource planning, economic development and creative solutions to address growth pressures.

Possible projects include:

  • Research all Town owned parcels, conservation easements, and other protected areas in Town, and continue the development of an “Open Space” GIS database.
  • Assist planning office in updating all natural resource mapping data within the town.
  • Help Conservation Commission in all trail planning efforts (to include mapping, as well as field work).
  • Local Business database and mapping – Working with the economic development director in developing Topsham’s first business directory database and corresponding maps.
  • Urban Impaired Stream Watershed Planning – Working with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection – Further field studies as determined by DEP, implementation of watershed plans.
  • Update Historic District architectural survey data and mapping
  • Vernal Pool Project – Working with MDEP and Army Corps of engineers as well as UMaine professors to develop strategies on vernal pool protections (Mapping, surveys)
  • Street Tree Inventory – Working with the planning office to continue development of field data.
  • Assist in the Design and Development of Park Facilities and Interpretive Amenities

Return to Top of Page