Dear readers,

I learned a new word in February – biophilia. “A love of living things and nature, which some people believe humans are born with.” (Thank you, Cambridge Dictionary.)

I badly want to believe that we are born with this characteristic, though the pessimist in me sees no great evidence for it. We live on a fast-warming planet with plastic-choked oceans, uncontrollable wildfires, alarming invasive plants and pests, disappearing pollinators, songbirds and habitat (taken together, a sixth mass extinction, according to many scientists) – looming catastrophes brought about by our species, all 7.8 billion of us. Sobering fact: In just my own very short time on earth, the number of humans has more than doubled.

Each spring for the last six years, though, a ray of hope has illuminated this bleak global picture for me: the Source Awards. These annual awards from the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram celebrate the people, nonprofits, institutions and businesses in Maine that are working to counter the grave environmental problems we face. Today we open nominations for the sixth annual Source Awards.

We are on the lookout for sustained, practical, replicable, scalable and outright inspirational environmental achievements in Maine, big and small. We hope to be able to honor young people and seniors; foresters, composters, dam dismantlers, solar energy installers, zero-waste chefs, seaweed promoters and smelt-counters; land trusts and forces for green transportation; new efforts as well as long-established ones. It’s a big tent here at the Source Awards.

Young farmers, ag-oriented high school seniors and teachers or schools working on an agricultural project are also encouraged to apply for one of three Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association-administered Russell Libby scholarships, which come with a $1,500 award each.

But you can’t win if you don’t enter. Nominations close April 10 (for a Libby scholarship, you have until April 24). Winners will be announced May 24 and feted June 10 at Maine Audubon’s Gilsland Farm.

Help us shine an LED light on Maine’s environmental superheros. Readers with a long memory may realize I recycled this line from a past call for nominations. But, hey, that’s OK. We are all for recycling.

Peggy Grodinsky, Source Editor