Posted January 12, 2009
Wanting to be involved in her local community, Eileen Johnson decided to combine her skills in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) with her commitment to Maine’s rural assets. By mapping one hundred years of development in the Town of Bowdoin, she helped residents understand the need to pass an updated comprehensive plan for the first time in thirty years. More recently, she is helping the town start to identify areas where the town should be encouraging growth and areas that residents may want to preserve for agriculture, forestry, and recreation.
In 2007, having become more interested in regional approaches to natural resource planning and the role of non-profits such as land trusts, Eileen became a board member of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, an organization that focuses on land preservation throughout midcoast Maine. As a member of the board, Eileen is using GIS to help the board visualize the impact of their organization’s progress to date and to determine next steps in relationship to a strategic plan. It is the use of these tools that she hopes will get other members of the community excited and engaged in this process.
“For me it is about how we can engage more people in a dialogue about what we want Maine to look like in the future. At the same time, I enjoy the chance to bring a particular skill to organizations that may not otherwise have this capacity.”