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  • Writer's pictureMaya Shyevitch

Community Climate Event on Chebeague Island

Maya Shyevitch, the Chebeague Resilience Fellow, discusses her experience helping to host a Community Climate Event on Chebeague Island this past weekend. Maya worked with the rest of the Chebeague Climate Action Team (CCAT) to put the successful event together. There was a plethora of information on CCAT's recent activity, climate science, rebates available, and donuts! The event was representative of Chebeague's commitment to community resilience and climate action planning.

This St. Patrick’s Day weekend, Chebeague Island residents embraced the spirt of going green for the holiday with a climate event. The Chebeague Climate Action Team (CCAT) hosted a poster and presentation session on Saturday morning with resources on CCAT’s recent work, climate science, state rebate programs, and more. The event drew in over 50 people curious about climate work on the island (or perhaps eager for a complimentary donut). As one of the main organizers of the event, it was fantastic to see such a great turnout and watch weeks of work come together into something for all to enjoy.

The event’s main purpose was to update community members on CCAT’s activities in connection with the Team’s Community Resilience Partnership (CRP) grant through the Maine Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future. The grant tasks include a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory, a groundwater sustainability study, and a climate vulnerability assessment. These three tasks are all at different stages of completion. The GHG emissions inventory is done, and the associated report is currently undergoing final edits. Data collection for the groundwater sustainability study was completed last summer but a deeper analysis will begin in the coming months. The climate vulnerability assessment is just getting started in partnership with FBEnvironmental in Portland. This was the first chance many islanders had to see the results of the GHG emissions inventory, the first of its kind conducted on Chebeague. There was also a poster on the groundwater sustainability study which focused on the causes of saltwater intrusion, the risk of which is a main motivator for the study, and next steps in the process.

The event began with a presentation from Efficiency Maine representative Hope Kohtala, who provided an overview of state rebate programs for residential weatherization, heat pumps, and heat pump water heaters. After an informative Q&A session, raffle prizes were handed out to attendees. The remainder of the time allowed for community members to walk around, look at posters, pick up brochures on Maine’s climate incentives, and view FEMA flood map panels of the island.

Though the event mostly featured CCAT’s work and posters made by the Team, we were also lucky enough to have some special guests and contributors. Representatives from the Chebeague & Cumberland Land Trust brought materials about their work and ongoing event series, details on which can be found here. Sam Saltonstall, board president of Window Dressers, brought a sample insulating window insert and posters on Window Dressers as well as the Maine Citizens Climate Lobby. Finally, the kids in Chebeague’s afterschool program made two posters of messages and drawings describing why they love the environment and how they want to help conserve it.

In addition to the grant activities described above, another tenant of CCAT’s CRP grant is community engagement. This event was a fantastic continuation of CCAT’s engagement and education programing. Attendees didn’t all come for the same thing—some were interested in climate science, others wanted to take a good look at the FEMA flood maps and see how their properties might be impacted by future storms and high tides. Some residents were most interested in Efficiency Maine’s presentation and rebate programs. The range of topics covered at the event reflects the wide range of CCAT’s work and climate work in general. Sustainability for Chebeague is a question of both island-wide emissions inventories and individual residential choices. As we saw on Saturday, it is also a question of the community coming together over coffee and donuts to learn about and discuss their shared climate future.

Event attendees watch Efficiency Maine presentation

The donut spread and groundwater study poster

This event was the first opportunity for many to see the results of the GHG emissions inventory

A table with rebate brochures and details on Maine climate incentives

FEMA flood maps provide critical information for residents

Displays about Window Dressers and the Maine Citizens Climate Lobby

Display by the Chebeague & Cumberland land Trust

About Maya

Maya is originally from West Newton, Massachusetts. She recently graduated from McGill University with a degree in environmental sustainability and a minor in geo-information science and remote sensing. She is drawn to the way that geospatial analysis brings together science and art by combining a diverse array of data sources, including data sourced by citizen science projects, to create nuanced yet visually appealing displays. In college, she completed an honors thesis on wildlife habitation patterns and range shifts in southern Arizona and had the honor of presenting her research at the 2023 American Association of Geographers conference. Her interest in anthropogenic change, climate resilience, and place-based work was fostered during her time working as a naturalist intern in southern Utah for the Canyonlands Field Institute and as a backcountry naturalist and ecology researcher for the Appalachian Mountain Club in northern New Hampshire, where she has worked in various roles since 2019. As a Resilience Corps Fellow, Maya is excited to bring her geospatial skills from the world of ecology to municipal sustainability planning and to learn about coastal Maine through the lens of climate resilience and local action.



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