Sunday, March 9, 2014
Mike Tetreault leads The Nature Conservancy in Maine, where he works with partners in conservation, government and community development to identify solutions which ensure that Maine's natural resources are available for people and for nature.
He holds a degree in environmental studies from Brown and a MS from the field naturalist program at the University of Vermont, and has studied resource management in Kenya, Mexico and throughout New England.
Tetreault started his career teaching wilderness leadership and environmental education, and has worked for The Nature Conservancy since 1998. He lives in Bath with his wife, their daughter and a menagerie of pets.
Standing on Maine’s magnificent coast, looking out at the vast expanse of ocean, it’s easy to imagine that we stand alone, unaffected by the rest of the world and buffered by the sea’s immensity.
But big forces are at work, like a changing climate and its impacts on the ocean. The warming climate is not only raising sea levels – even measurably here in Maine – but also changing the ocean’s basic composition.
Scientists around the world have found that, as global temperatures rise, they impact everything from coral reefs to, possibly, shellfish and other marine life in the Gulf of Maine. In fact there’s been a fair amount of research on ocean acidification, thanks to Maine’s Island Institute, the Darling Marine Center and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences.
The Maine Legislature is considering a bill (LD 1602) that would establish a commission to study the effects of ocean acidification on shellfish on our coast. If passed, the commission will ultimately recommend ways to mitigate ocean acidification, conduct research and take steps to protect commercially valuable shellfish. See North Cairn’s article on the bill.
You may have seen a bit of good news/bad news about our coasts recently.
The bad news is that America’s coastal wetlands are in rough shape.
According to a recent study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, wetlands in coastal watersheds in the U.S. are disappearing at a rate of about 80,160 acres a year.
While we see coastal wetlands all the time as we go about our daily lives here in Maine, we don’t often appreciate their importance. Coastal wetlands comprise less than 10 percent of the nation’s land area, yet support many wildlife species, including 75 percent of migratory birds, nearly 80 percent of fish and shellfish, and about half of all our threatened and endangered species. They also improve water quality and help protect coastal communities from flood and storm surges.
The Nature Conservancy is in the midst of its third annual Skistakes promotion, an effort to encourage Mainers to get outside and enjoy all that we love about winter here in New England. So I've invited Jamie Schechtman, marketing director for Mt. Abram – which donated prizes for this year's giveaway – to share his thoughts on sustainability on the slopes and why it's so important:
Snow may be the ultimate renewable resource. It comes from nature, provides us with hours of enjoyment and obligingly regenerates year after year.
At Mt. Abram, we know that not everything in nature is so resilient, and we also know that a beautiful, healthy outdoors is key to what we do.
While it has been a pretty good year for snow, it’s been a huge year for snowy owls.
As the Press Herald’s Kelley Bouchard pointed out in a recent article, snowies have come to Maine in record numbers this winter. Birders of all abilities report seeing this magnificent owl all along Maine’s coast.
Photo by Linda Aldrich Noon
Nature is me. And yes, nature is you too.
How do I know this to be true? Because your photo and recipe entries for the Nature is ME contest prove it each and every day. From images of snowy landscapes, spiders and summits, to recipes for delicious sandwiches and pies, you show how nature is simply a part of who we are in Maine. We are all connected to nature in so many different ways.
But what about conservationists? How are conservationists – people who devote their lives to protecting nature itself – connected to nature? I turned to my friends and colleagues to find out. This week, I chatted with Ted Koffman, executive director of Maine Audubon.