Maine sustainability conference to spotlight environmental, economic, community issues

Talks on adapting to climate change in forests and along coasts, creating a just and sustainable food future, restoring native alewife populations, and financing upgrades to wastewater infrastructure will all be part of the 2019 Maine Sustainability & Water Conference on March 28 at the Augusta Civic Center.

The conference includes 14 concurrent sessions, a student poster competition and a keynote address. A special session will feature poetry and prose by Maine writers on the literature of water.

Other concurrent sessions about issues affecting the region include tools to improve decision-making, migratory fish passage, recovery of the Penobscot River, water careers in Maine, and development of sustainability curricula.

The conference keynote speaker is Bridie McGreavy, a University of Maine assistant professor of environmental communication and faculty fellow at UMaine’s Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions. In her talk, “Thinking with Rivers: Communication for Conservation and Sustainability,” McGreavy will explore effective, creative and inclusive ways of communicating and collaborating to create brighter futures for Maine communities.

The conference also will feature a poster competition where Maine high school, undergraduate and graduate students will present their research to leading sustainability professionals. Poster topics include sea level rise and flood risk, microplastics in water, innovative packaging to reduce food waste, citizen concerns about Maine aquaculture, and efforts to reduce stream acidification in Down East Maine.

Launched in 1994 by the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine, the unique gathering is among the largest annual sustainability meetings in New England and a premier networking opportunity. Presenting topics at the intersection of environmental, economic and community issues, the conference draws hundreds of sustainability experts from the public and private sectors, nongovernmental organizations, and research and education communities that share ideas, exchange information and present new findings for the benefit of Maine communities.

“The conference provides an extraordinary opportunity for sustainability leaders from across Maine to celebrate successes, share best practices and prepare for new challenges,” says David Hart, director of the Mitchell Center. “It is especially exciting to witness the passion, ingenuity and dedication that so many young people bring to this work, and to imagine the many important roles they will play as future leaders and problem solvers.”  

For more information, contact David Sims, 207.581.3244;