Student-run journal that kick-starts conservation conversations launches on Earth Day

The fifth issue of Spire: The Maine Journal of Conservation and Sustainability will launch on Earth Day, April 22.

Spire is a student-run, interdisciplinary online journal housed at the University of Maine. This issue, the largest in its history, contains breathtaking photography from UMaine faculty, staff and students, as well as poetry, research and personal stories. 

Rebecca Champagne, a Ph.D. candidate in ecology and environmental sciences, is editor-in-chief. She joined the editorial team in 2019 to become more involved on campus.

The journal’s vision and mission — to promote impactful dialogue and unite communities across the state to initiate profound environmental change — also resonated with her as an EES student. Champagne’s doctoral research focuses on organic cropping systems, with an emphasis on weed management for small, diversified vegetable farms in the Northeast. 

Spire’s 2021 cover boasts stunning artwork by Ed Nadeau, associate professor of art at UMaine. 

Inside, original pieces include poetry that examines the threat climate change poses to icebreaking on the Penobscot River, research about climate change communication, and a person’s reflections about what they learned as a sustainability coordinator at the University of Maine at Farmington. Another author discusses how the baby-boomer generation perceives climate change, and a team discusses the role of big data in sustainability science.

“Being involved with Spire has helped me become a more careful and thoughtful reader, and has helped me further develop my critical thinking and editing skills,” says Champagne, who will be editor-in-chief until she earns her doctorate next spring. 

“Putting together this year’s issue has taught me that awareness-raising dialogue comes in many forms, whether that be personal stories, photography or poetry, and that each individual has their own interpretation of the subject matter. It is my hope that the readers of Spire will use the journal’s content for their own reflections to kick-start conversations on conservation and sustainability.”

Champagne is excited to be part of Spire’s growth and influence, and she invites people to submit pieces through Feb. 1, 2022, for next year’s edition. Information about how to submit is online. For additional information, including how to join the Spire team, email