Dr. Noah Perlut Courtesy image

The organization ecomaine, a ingle-sort recycling and sustainable waste management firm, has announced its winners for the 2023 eco-Excellence Awards. Dr. Noah Perlut was among the winners for his work in Scarborough.

“Every year, it is inspiring to see the leadership and dedication of these Mainers committed to making Maine a more sustainable place to live, work, and play,” said Caleb Hemphill, chair of ecomaine’s Outreach and Recycling Committee. “ecomaine is proud to recognize these outstanding efforts.”

Perlut is a professor at the University of New England in Biddeford and is the assistant academic professor of UNE’s School of Marine and Environmental Programs. Perlut was on Scarborough’s Conservation Commission for years and is still on the Land Bond Board. He recently joined the Scarborough Planning Board.

“I’m really honored by this in so many ways,” said Perlut. “I was not aware of this nomination and it’s incredibly thoughtful of the folks at the town office to think of me and nominate me for this award.”

“A bunch of different things are coming together,” Perlut said. “One, my desire to support and serve the community and give back to the community of Scarborough. Two, my professional experience working in environmental science and sustainability at the University of New England. And, three, being a citizen who loves the town and loves being outside in Scarborough. So that’s what has motivated my interest in being part of these different kind of public services.”

Perlut has worked to achieve more land conservation in Scarborough.


“A couple of things that I have really focused on in all of my endeavors here is — one — get the town to really think about conserving more land,” Perlut said. “Scarborough is developing rapidly, there’s a lot of excitement and cool projects going on, changing the character of the town. And doing that, really trying to encourage the town to do that while thinking of really long-term conservation and keeping open lands open.”

Perlut has discussed the 30 by 30 initiative to conserve 30 percent of the country’s land by 2030, with efforts happening on the local level. Scarborough is about 16 percent conserved, Perlut said, with about another 8,000 acres still needed to be conserved over the next seven years.

Perlut noted that the goal has gained a lot of traction with the work from the Conservation Commission, and that the town council has embodied the goal.

The Eastern Trail has been another major focus for Perlut. “I have a research project from the University of New England where I’ve been looking at the wildlife community in the section of the Eastern Trail that’s about to be built, the gap section.”

An off-road, 1.6-mile expansion to the Eastern Trail is planned, connecting Scarborough and South Portland.

“I’ve been studying that area for the last four years or so. I’m incredibly excited about it,” Perlut said. “And I wanted to look at how the wildlife is going to change, if at all, and how the trail is going to affect wildlife there.”


Another priority for Perlut is creating local infrastructure that supports the use of the Eastern Trail.

“I use the Eastern Trail all the time and I think it’s an unbelievable resource to our town. Just an incredible, incredible resource that we are so lucky to have,” Perlut said. “I want to continue to strengthen it and support the strengthening of it, and continue to make it easier for people to access it from many different parts. From their neighborhoods or from different areas around different boundaries of it … not only having to drive to it and get out at the parking lot. And that takes a lot of foresight from the town. How do we enable people safe ways to bike or walk or run from their neighborhoods onto this trail system and back to their homes or back to their works… how do we build this infrastructure?”

Perlut encourages infrastructure that is conducive to walking and biking. “It’s fun and healthy and saves carbon,” he said.

Perlut used The Downs as an example for the work needed in Scarborough.

“It’s such an exciting time and I really, really want places like The Downs, to push them harder, frankly, to think about ‘OK, what’s the connection for us?’ People are going to be coming to The Downs to work, to live … How do they recreate? Can they work? Can they live in South Portland and bike to The Downs to work?”

In the midst of a time of development for Scarborough, infrastructure planning needs to happen now. “Right now is the time,” Perlut said. “If we don’t do it now, it’s just not going to happen.”

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