Location: Bowdoin / Sustainability / Activity / 2011 / Psi Upsilon Fellows Explore Environmental Projects in Maine's Great Outdoors

Psi Upsilon Fellows Explore Environmental Projects in Maine's Great Outdoors

Story posted August 08, 2011

Although much of Bowdoin’s normally bustling campus has emptied for the summer, some students remain and have the pleasure of enjoying Maine’s summer weather and a quiet, more intimate campus.  Among those who remain behind are the Environmental Studies department's 2011 Psi Upsilon and Logan Environmental fellows.  These seven students were selected to spend the summer months at various Maine organizations and businesses working on sustainability, conservation, and environmental justice projects.

The Psi Upsilon program began in 2000 while the Logan Fellowship started soon after in 2002. The two funds now provide Bowdoin students with the opportunity to score stipend internships where they can gain valuable experience with Maine organizations and businesses while exploring their interests and passion for the environment.

The fellows take on jobs spanning a wide range of disciplines and responsibilities.  Mike Lachance ’13 works for the Town of Brunswick on surveying an 800 acre parcel of land located on the former Brunswick Naval Air Base.  The 800 acres will most likely be given to the Town of Brunswick as a conservation area, and Brunswick will want to both protect the area and open it up for the public to enjoy.  “Basically, I venture out into the woods with a GPS and bushwhack until I find evidence of an old road or trail. There’s quite an extensive network that exists, but they haven’t been used for 20 or 30 years and are very overgrown.  I hope to create a comprehensive map of the existing road and trail system on this 800 acre property, which has never been done before”, says Lachance.  To conclude his project, he will make a recommendation to the town on what he thinks the trail system should look like.

Sheela Turbek ’13, a biology and Spanish major, is spending her fellowship with Cultivating Community, an organization that connects community members with the local food system.  Cultivating Community works on various fronts, including providing market support for refugee farmers managing school gardens, and teaching high school students about sustainable agriculture.  During her fellowship, Sheela spent time at Turkey Hill Farm, where the majority of Cultivating Community’s produce is grown.  She also helped maintain school gardens at South Portland High School, Presumpscot Elementary School, and East End Elementary School through weekly visits to weed, water, and harvest.  Sheela not only worked on environmental and sustainable issues, but also gave back to the community through her work.  “I have also helped organize and promote the Boyd Street Urban Farm Stand, where immigrant farmers and Youth Growers sell local produce and issue double voucher coupons to low-income customers who pay with food stamps”, says Turbek.  And what does the end of the fellowship hold for Sheela?  “Throughout the internship, I have worked to document the many programs run by Cultivating Community by taking photographs and updating the organization’s Facebook page.  I also hope to create workable templates that future interns and volunteers can follow for school garden care, market stand set-up, and Farm Trek supervision.”

Psi Upsilon Fellows:

Sheela Turbek ’13 – Cultivating Community

Mike Lachance ’13 – Town of Brunswick

Woody Mawhinney ’12 – Maine League of Conservation Voters

Tyler Patton ’12 – Brunswick Topsham Land Trust

Dan Peckham ’12 – Kennebec Estuary Land Trust

Charlie Cubeta ’13 – Town of Topsham

Alex Casbara ’12 – The Nature Conservancy

"I hope to create a comprehensive map of the existing road and trail system on this 800 acre property, which has never been done before."
— Mike Lachance