Improving Planning Processes in Maine Towns

student sampling vernal poolImproving Planning Processes in Maine Towns to Achieve Environmental, Social and Economic Goals

Institution: University of Maine
Sponsor: Elmina B. Sewall Foundation

This innovative project is explicitly designed to enhance Maine’s quality of place. A core challenge in strengthening quality of place is to facilitate collaborative strategies that improve economic well-being while protecting the environment. The project is directly related to the Sustainability Solutions Initiative (SSI), which is creating novel university-stakeholder partnerships that can help solve pressing problems with intersecting environmental, social, and economic dimensions.

This project builds on a 3-yr partnership among the University of Maine, Maine Audubon, and the Maine State Planning Office that has engaged more than 10 towns in vernal pool conservation initiatives. We are at a critical junction in our work where diverse stakeholders are already engaged and we have fostered enough social and political capital to embark on bold new initiatives. Our ultimate goal is  to develop new ways to effect natural resource conservation on private lands using creative economic and social incentives. Maine is already the leader in vernal pool conservation and outreach programs in the eastern US and Canada and we hope to provide national leadership in the realm of natural resource conservation at the local level as well.

Team Members:

  • David Hart, Sustainability Solutions Initiative & Senator George J. Mitchell Center, UMaine
  • Aram Calhoun, Department of Wildlife Ecology, UMaine
  • Dawn Morgan, Department of Wildlife Ecology, UMaine