2019 Beaches Conference Speaker Bios
Dr. Tom Ballestero is a hydrologist and water resources engineer in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). At UNH he is also the Director of the UNH Stormwater Center and a member of the UNH Coastal Habitat Restoration Team (CHaRT) which focuses on studying, designing, implementing, and monitoring living shoreline approaches in New England coastal communities. Dr. David Burdick is a Research Associate Professor of Coastal Ecology and Restoration at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and Interim Director of the Jackson Estuarine Laboratory. Dr. Burdick’s research focuses on coastal ecosystems, assessing human impacts, habitat restoration, and climate resilience. Dr. Burdick is a member of the UNH Coastal Habitat Restoration Team (CHaRT) which emphasizes testing living shoreline approaches in New England coastal communities.
Sue Baker is the State Coordinator for the National Flood Insurance Program and she is employed by the Maine Dept. of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry. Sue has spent most of the last 24 years working in the Program, becoming the State Coordinator in 2008. She belongs to the Association of State Floodplain Managers, the largest professional group of floodplain managers in the country, and through them, she has been a nationally Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM) since 2000.
Mike Bellamente is a founding member of the “Next Home Realty” team with Better Homes & Gardens Masiello Group, in Portsmouth, NH, and chairman of the Sustainability Working Group for the New Hampshire Association of Realtor (NHAR). As a GREEN-designated agent specializing in high performance, energy efficient homes, Mike recognizes the importance of shaping a market-based approach to sustainability. Prior to pursuing a career in real estate, Mike was co-owner and managing director of the Green Alliance, an NH-based network of sustainably-minded businesses and consumers. Bellamente has also served as Head of Consumer Engagement for CDP, a global repository of corporate environmental data. Mike is considered a thought leader in the environmental space and has written extensively on the topic of corporate sustainability, with his work appearing in publications including, the Guardian, Huffington Post, GreenBiz.com, Sustainable Brands, CR Magazine, Grist and the Portsmouth Herald. Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, Bellamente was named to the White House-led economic solutions team to conduct impact analyses for oil-impacted communities. In February 2012, Bellamente was named to Ethisphere’s list of 100 most influential people in business ethics. Mike received an MBA in International Business from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland and graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Plymouth State University.
Audrey Berenson is graduating from the University of New Hampshire in May of 2019 with a B.S. in Biomedical Science, with a focus in Medical Microbiology. Audrey received a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) in 2017 after working in Dr. Steve Jones’ lab for over a year to observe the impacts of suspended sediment on Vibrio parahaemolyticus in oysters. She now runs analyses for the Microbial Source Tracking project. Audrey plans to pursue a career in microbiological research that incorporates public/environmental health.
Gayle Bowness, a Nova Scotia native, has a B.S. in Marine Biology from Dalhousie University and a M.S. from Lesley University in Ecological Teaching and Learning. She has been living in Maine for 16 years and has been working at Gulf of Maine Research Institute since 2005. Gayle has designed and delivered a variety of education programs, from watersheds to electricity efficiency and is now focused on sea level rise and supporting communities in building coastal resilience.
Gabriela Bradt is a Fisheries Specialist with NH Sea Grant/UNH Extension working on engaging and motivating the fishing community and citizens to combat marine debris and marine microplastics through outreach, education and research.
Melissa is in the dual masters degree program in marine biology and marine policy at the University of Maine. She is advised by Dr. Joshua Stoll and Dr. Heather Leslie, the director of the Darling Marine Center. Melissa studies the impact of aquaculture on coastal community resilience and the interactions between aquaculture and commercial fishing. She graduated from Oregon State University in 2017 with an Honors B.S in biology and a concentration in marine biology, and is starting her second year of graduate school at UMaine.
Peter Britz is the Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Portsmouth, NH.
Dr. David Burdick is a Research Associate Professor of Coastal Ecology and Restoration at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and Interim Director of the Jackson Estuarine Laboratory. Dr. Burdick’s research focuses on coastal ecosystems, assessing human impacts, habitat restoration, and climate resilience. Dr. Burdick is a member of the UNH Coastal Habitat Restoration Team (CHaRT) which emphasizes testing living shoreline approaches in New England coastal communities.
Margaret Burns is a hydrologist and project manager for FB Environmental Associates (FBE) in Portland, Maine. She manages projects ranging from water quality monitoring, lake and watershed assessment and restoration, to environmental compliance for landfills and industrial facilities. She works with private entities, federal and state agencies, lake and watershed associations, and municipalities to evaluate and improve their waters to meet state and federal requirements as well as enhancing the aesthetic and economic value of these resources. Margaret has a B.S. in Ecology and Environmental Sciences from the University of Maine at Orono and an M.A. in Geography from the University of Colorado, Boulder in collaboration with the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research.
John Cannon is the marine program manager at the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine. He is interested in the coastal prediction, observation and evaluation of tropical and intense extratropical storms affecting mariners, shoreline residents, emergency responders and many other stakeholders within the user community. He focuses on both research and operational partnerships for improved customer service of our commerce, military and public sectors. Resources for these marine efforts are leveraged through serving on numerous local, regional and national teams in the government and private sectors to benefit the commercial fisheries industry and the public. Having lived in a residence along the vulnerable and changing shoreline in Southern Maine, John has a deep appreciation and understanding of storm processes occurring in the coastal waters, surf zone and along eroding beaches. He is a graduate from the University of New York at Oswego where marine services focused on “Lake Effect Storms” and other hazards in the Great Lakes Region.
As the program manager at the Gundalow Company, Gretchen Carlson oversees the educational, outreach and camp programs as well as coordinates volunteers and communicates the Gundalow Company’s mission to protect the Piscataqua Region’s maritime heritage and environment through education and action. Gretchen’s background includes working with student on sailboats around the country as well as time in the classroom as a middle school teacher. Gretchen grew up in York, ME and finally found her way back to the area several years ago settling in Lee, NH with her husband, 3 kids, and a selection of animals including seven goats and a llama.
Jamie Carter is a coastal scientist with NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management and has been involved in mapping and modeling coastal inundation for the last 15 years.
Caitlin Cleaver is a project manager and marine sciences division lead at FB Environmental Associates (FBE). She is currently finishing her Ph.D. at the University of Maine. As part of the Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network, her research focuses on the potential to integrate commercial fishing and aquaculture as a diversification strategy. Through FBE, she is an active member of the Sustainable Aquaculture Working Group, which aims to initiate community conversations about balancing multiple uses in our coastal areas. She also coordinates with the Maine Department of Marine Resources on data collection for vertical line use in the New England lobster fishing community to inform the next round of regulations on fixed gear that will better project the North Atlantic Right Whale.
Dr. Stephen Dickson is a Marine Geologist with Maine Geological Survey in the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry in Augusta. He has been with the MGS since 1986 and has conducted numerous studies of Maine beaches, coastal geology, physical oceanography, and coastal hazards. Current research includes beach sand transport by storms, beach nourishment longevity, coastal flood hazards, processes of bluff erosion and landslides. Dr. Dickson received a B.A. from Wesleyan University, a M.S. from the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island and a Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Maine. He is a member of American Geophysical Union, Geological Society of America, Society for Sedimentary Geology, and Geological Society of Maine and is a Maine Certified Geologist.
Jay Diener is the president of SHEA and chair of the Hampton Conservation Commission. Both organizations, in different ways, are working on coastal flooding, water quality, and related environmental issues.
Rayann Dionne is the Vice President and Treasurer of SHEA and has been the Hampton Conservation Coordinator for over 10 years. Her daily interactions with Hampton residents and property owners provides useful insights into the communal impacts and challenges of increased coastal flooding which helps to inform and guide public outreach and planning decisions by both the Hampton Conservation Commission and SHEA.
Sarah Dodgin is a Biological Science Technician at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. She graduated with a Masters degree from UNH in 2018. Currently she works on projects related to assessing the resiliency of salt marshes in the Northeastern United States in the face of climate change and sea level rise.
Andrew Dorr has served as Town Manager of Vinalhaven since 2015. He has a B.S. in Environmental Studies from SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry and is pursuing an MPPM from University of Southern Maine. Working closely with the Select Board-appointed Sea Level Rise Committee, Vinalhaven has been a great place to explore the challenges and identify solutions to sea level rise and flooding.
John Duff has been researching and teaching on issues of ocean and coastal law for thirty years.
As the Coastal Ecosystems Specialist for NH Sea Grant Extension, Alyson Eberhardt works with community members, natural resource managers and researchers to support management efforts to protect and restore coastal ecosystems. Her work involves community-based restoration and monitoring of coastal habitats, including salt marshes, sand dunes, and shoreland buffers. She also coordinates the Coastal Research Volunteers, a citizen science program that trains community volunteers to work on local, coastal research projects.
Ivan J. Fernandez is Professor at the University of Maine. He has served on various U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board committees in Washington DC since 2000. He recently chaired a panel of the EPA Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) that is evaluating the Clean Air Act’s secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards for oxides of sulfur, oxides of nitrogen, and particulate matter. He represents the University of Maine in the USDA Northeast Climate Hub, and has been involved in leading the Maine’s Climate Future assessments in 2009 and 2015. He is a soil scientist, with a research program that focuses on the biogeochemistry of ecosystems in a changing physical and chemical climate and is actively engaged in promoting climate adaptation in Maine.
Craig Foley, Associate Broker, REALTOR, GREEN, LEED Green Associate; LAER Realty Partners, Chief Sustainability Officer; National Association of REALTORS EverGreen Award Winner; 2019 Chair, Sustainability Advisory Group, NAR; Fannie Mae Energy Advisory Council
Parker Gassett is a graduate student at the University of Maine working with MOCA the Maine Ocean and Coastal Acidification Partnership, NECAN that Northeast Coastal Acidification Network, and NERACOOS the Northeast Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems.
Jennifer Gilbert has been the administrator of the Planning Division since 2014 and oversees the Division’s programs and staff. Jennifer has been New Hampshire’s state coordinator for FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) since 2005 in which she provides technical assistance, training, and outreach to all stakeholders about the NFIP. Jennifer’s prior work experience includes working for engineering consultant firms as an environmental planner on transportation and natural resources projects. Jennifer has a B.S. in Environmental Planning and Environmental Science from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay and a M.A. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. Jennifer is a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM®) and an Associate in National Flood Insurance (ANFI™).
Sarah Gladu has been the running Damariscotta River Association School for Field Naturalists program since 2005 and has worked in environmental education since 1992. Sarah currently coordinates Coastal Rivers’ varied citizen science projects and is Chair of MCOA (Maine Coastal Observing Alliance). Previously she worked for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension coordinating state-wide water quality monitoring programs. Sarah has a B.A. from Brandeis University in Environmental Policy where she also got a Teaching Certification and a Wildlife Management Certificate. In 1998, she received a Master of Environmental Learning and Leadership from the University of Minnesota. Sarah lives in Waldoboro with her two daughters, her husband Tim, five Norwegian Elkhounds, two horses, chickens, ducks, sheep and one cat.
Since 1999, Kristen Grant has worked with Maine Sea Grant Extension in Coastal Community Development, focusing on the interactions between the people, the resources, and the ecosystems of the coast. Her work includes a range of activities to build the capacity of coastal communities to plan and adapt for their future, including teaching stakeholder engagement and facilitation training. Kristen holds a Master of Science degree focused on Environmental Education.
Peter Hanrahan has 41 years of industry experience and has planned and executed dozens of coastal erosion control workshops over the past dozen years. He has also presented a three-course webinar series on rising seas for Forester University.
Kirsten Howard is the Coastal Resilience Coordinator for the NHDES Coastal Program where she manages projects that provide grant funding and technical assistance to help NH coastal communities prepare for the impacts of climate change. Kirsten was a co-navigator on the Great American Adaptation Road Trip. She loves big, inspirational ideas.
Pam Hunt has been interested in birds since the tender age of 12, when an uncle took her to Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge in NJ. She went on to earn a B.S. in biology from Cornell University, M.A. in zoology from the University of Montana, and a Ph.D. from Dartmouth College in 1995. Pam came to NH Audubon in 2000 after five years as adjunct faculty at Colby-Sawyer College in New London. In her current position, as Avian Conservation Biologist, she works closely with NH Fish and Game to coordinate and prioritize bird research and monitoring in the state, and authored NH’s “State of the Birds” report. Specific areas of interest include habitat use by early successional birds (particularly whip-poor-wills), conservation of aerial insectivores (e.g., swifts and swallows), and the effects of events outside the breeding season on long-distance migrants. Pam also coordinated the “NH Dragonfly Survey,” a five-year project that mapped distributions of these insects throughout the state, and remains active in the dragonfly field.
Patricia Jarema is a Lecturer at the University of New Hampshire, Department of Biological Sciences. Her training and research focus has been to develop an understanding of how communities make decisions about environmental quality, ecosystem services, and sustainability at varying spatial scales. In addition to examining land cover changes as a function of socio-economic systems she also works with students to develop a better understanding of pollution on the University of New Hampshire Durham, NH campus.
Stephen Jones has been a research professor at UNH since 1987 conducting studies on many dimensions of coastal water quality contamination. Some main interests include developing and applying tools to help identify sources of pollution, determining environmental and ecosystem influences on pollutants, and mitigating water quality problems at a local level. Coastal beaches have been a focus of his work for the past 15 years. Steve is also the Associate Director of the NH Sea Grant Program.
David M. Kallin is Drummond Woodsum’s Practice Group Leader for Land Use & Conservation. His practice includes land conservation, land use, natural resource law, including natural resources on tribal land, school and municipal law, administrative law and general litigation. He specializes in complex problems which require effective advocacy before municipalities, administrative agencies and state and federal courts.
Julie Keizer is the town manager for the Town of Waldoboro, Maine. Julie moved to Maine in 2017 from her position as Borough Manager of Medford Lakes, New Jersey. Julie builds on 25+ years of experience in municipal government and brings both energy and experience to the Town of Waldoboro. Julie’s commitment to the river and its resources is unprecedented and has been a driving force behind the continuation of the Medomak Task Force. Outside of her desk job, Julie can be found kayaking up the river to survey for alewife and beaver dams, or collecting and analyzing bacteria samples to monitor the river.
Dr. Alice Kelley is Associate Research Professor in the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, with a background in geoarchaeology. She is working on setting up a citizen science program to monitor change at shell midden sites in Maine with the support of Maine Sea Grant and the UM Mitchell Center. The shell middens in Newcastle/Damariscotta are part of her research program, where she works with the Maine State archaeologist and the Damariscotta River Association.
Joseph Kelley is a Professor of Marine Geology at the University of Maine and who has studied and written more than 5 books and 50 peer-reviewed papers on Maine’s beaches, salt marshes and sea-level changes. Joe’s proposal to Maine Sea Grant initiated volunteer beach profiling work and the Maine Beaches Conferences in 1999. He has worked with homeowners, state and federal agencies, including the Army Corps of Engineers, private consultants and university faculty on the erosion problems in Saco Bay.
Jen Kennedy is the Executive Director and co-founder of the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation, a Portsmouth, NH based non-profit organization whose mission is to protect marine life in the Gulf of Maine through research, education and inspiring action. BOS has conducted monthly beach cleanups since 2001 and has worked with NH Sea Grant and UNH Cooperative Extension to address derelict fishing gear, survey the Gulf of Maine for debris, study microplastics and integrate project data into an interactive web site. Cleanups so far have resulted in the removal of 84,000 pounds of litter from local beaches.
Julie LaBranche is a Senior Planner with the Rockingham Planning Commission in southeast New Hampshire. Her work in the region includes assisting communities with: development of plans, zoning ordinances and regulations relating to land use, natural resource protection, climate change, energy efficiency and conservation, and stormwater management; developing Master Plans and other planning documents and policies; and integrating land use and transportation planning concepts. Julie participates as a member of the NH Sea Grant Policy Advisory Committee, NH Coastal Adaptation Workgroup, and served on the Executive Committee for the Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association from 2009-2015. She holds a B.S. in Geological Sciences from Salem State College, MA and a M.S. in Earth Sciences-Geology from Montana State University, Bozeman.
Eben Lewis has served as a Wetlands Inspector of the Wetlands Bureau at the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) for 15 years. As a Wetland Inspector for coastal New Hampshire, he oversees activities relative to the New Hampshire Dredge and Fill Law (NH RSA 482-A) and the Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act (NH RSA 483-B). Eben earned a B.S. from the University of Rhode Island in Environmental Science concentrating in wetlands ecology.
John Lillibridge is a retired NOAA physical oceanographer that started volunteering with the Southern Maine Beach Profile Program when he moved to Maine in 2017.
Marissa McMahan is a senior fisheries scientist at Manomet. Her research focuses on restoring ecosystem productivity and strengthening and diversifying fisheries resources in the Gulf of Maine, to preserve fishing cultures and traditions, while also promoting a healthy and resilient marine ecosystem. Specifically, she focuses on informing stock assessments and management of commercially-important species such as lobsters, cod, black sea bass, scallops, soft-shell clams, quahogs, and kelp and oyster reef communities, as well as developing new fisheries and markets for undervalued, underutilized, or invasive species such as the European green crab. Marissa received a Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology from Northeastern University in 2017, and an M.Sc. in Marine Biology from the University of Maine in 2011. She has studied marine ecology and fisheries in the Gulf of Maine for over a decade. She has deep family ties to the fishing community and is an avid Scuba diver and instructor.
Captain Peter Milholland, principal owner and operator of Seacoast Tours of Freeport LLC, is a licensed Master Mariner and marine educator with over twenty-five years of expertise in developing and maintaining marine educational programs. He is an active participant in the Island Institute “Aquaculture Business Development Program” and is motivated to collaborate with colleagues in an atmosphere of partnership and mutual respect, to provide value beyond expectations.
Steve Miller is the Coastal Training Program Coordinator at the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in New Hampshire. He provides science-based training and resources to municipal decision makers. His work focuses on helping coastal New Hampshire municipal staff and volunteers maintain the balance between economic development and environmental health. Prior to this he was the Program Director at the Seacoast Science Center, a marine education organization located in coastal New Hampshire. At the SSC, Steve developed and implemented programming for students from 3rd grade through adult on the ecology of the New England Rocky Shore, the Gulf of Maine, and New England Natural History. Although not a native New Englander, Steve is at home in New England first coming to the area in 1980. He has taught NE Natural History to various adult classes for the past 35 years. Steve earned a MS in Ecosystem Ecology and Wildlife, and a BS in Zoology. Before moving to NH, Steve had a career as the Scientific Diving Officer for the Smithsonian in Panama, at the Univ. of Southern California on Catalina Island, the Shoals Marine Lab in the Gulf of Maine, and with the International Field Studies in the Bahamas. Steve is the Chair of the Portsmouth Conservation Commission, and is the Co-Chair of the New Hampshire Coastal Adaptation Workgroup.
Emily Mitchell is a law school graduate and current environmental science master’s student within the School for Environment at the University of Massachusetts Boston. My interests surround coastal and environmental law and policy with a current focus on the integration of littoral dynamics/ sediment processes science into the policy of the northeastern US states.
Tollef is the founder and President of Ocean’s Balance, a producer of innovative seaweed products that use locally-sourced Maine seaweed in health foods that are environmentally friendly. Tollef is also a Senior Advisor at the Macroalgae Nursery and Research Cluster in the University of New England’s Center for Excellence in the Marine Sciences. Born and raised in Maine, Tollef says he has salt water in his blood. After stints as a commercial fisherman, captain of international marine salvage expeditions, and seafood restaurant owner, Olson entered the world of aquaculture in 1994. While cultivating rope grown mussels, Tollef witnessed the dramatic increase in overseas cultivation and consumption of edible seaweed and recognized an opportunity for seaweed products in North America and Maine. Ocean’s Balance is Tollef’s second Maine seaweed venture and his products have been featured around the U.S. and world – including the New York Times, NBC’s Today, Martha Stewart’s TV show, and Maine Magazine.
Melissa Paly works with the Conservation Law Foundation as the Great Bay – Piscataqua Waterkeeper. She has been involved with environmental communications and media production for 25 years and is also a board member of Kittery Land Trust.
Samantha Paradis was elected mayor of Belfast, Maine in November 2017. She is the first queer, second woman, and youngest mayor elected to lead the mid-coast city. Under her leadership the city has taken significant strides in addressing climate change, including transitioning to almost 90% solar energy for municipal electricity use, creating a city climate change committee to study the effects of sea level rise, and installing free public electric vehicle chargers. Mayor Paradis is a registered nurse who started her career at the Mayo Clinic and currently works at a critical access hospital in Belfast. Mayor Paradis holds bachelors’ degrees in nursing and psychology from the University of Maine as well as a master’s in public health from the University of New England. She grew up in a French speaking home near the border of Canada in northern Maine.
Katie Pelon is the Programs & Volunteer Coordinator at the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation. She leads educational programs for students and the public involving whale biology, research, and marine debris, as well as beach cleanups stretching from southern Maine to northern Massachusetts.
Sarah Perez is the Marine Mammal Rescue Head Assistant at Seacoast Science Center, working with marine mammals and sea turtles for six years.
As an extension specialist with NH Sea Grant Extension, Peterson works with various audiences to increase knowledge, motivation and practices for protecting freshwater and marine resources. She also draws ideas for research from stakeholders and shares them with scientists interested in using their work to address water-resource and climate related challenges.
Leila Pike is a civil engineer who focuses on coastal modeling, riverine modeling, and groundwater modeling. I have helped several coastal municipalities in Maine win Maine Coastal Program Grants and have a passion for helping coastal communities understand their risk of flooding due to storm surge and sea level rise and plan for future adaptation.
PowerPlay Interactive Development (PPID) is a professional applied theatre company housed within the University of New Hampshire’s Department of Theatre & Dance. PowerPlay develops and runs interactive training “laboratories” that allow participants to experiment with challenges around difficult human interactions and behavior. The company’s unique style of training utilizes professional actor-improvisers to roleplay brief “trigger scenarios”. The audience is asked to serve as Observer and Experimenter. Audience participants are given an opportunity to ask the characters questions, dig into their motivations or private feelings, and suggest alternate behaviors or strategies the characters might use to navigate these socially messy moments. These strategies are tested in real time to see how effective they might be. A PowerPlay session ultimately provides a safe and inviting forum for participants to learn about and engage in difficult dialogues on important issues and challenging situations. PPID was founded in 2013 by its current Artistic Director, Professor David Kaye. They have worked with clients and presenting organizations throughout the country including the NCAA, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Science Foundation, and numerous higher education institutions.
Dr. Nichole Price is currently a Senior Research Scientist and Director of a new center focused on securing sustainable, nutritious, and safe seafood for generations to come at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay, Maine. Nichole earned her Ph.D. in marine ecology at the University of California, Santa Barbara where she concurrently pursued an applied Master’s degree in the Statistics and Probability. Her dissertation explored chemical-based interactions between corals and seaweeds in the natural environment while on SCUBA. As a postdoctoral scholar at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Nichole worked on ecological consequences of ocean acidification in both temperate (rocky reefs) and tropical (coral reefs) ecosystems; this work took her diving around the globe as she partnered with scientists in the NOAA Coral Reef Ecosystem Program and in Asia. During her travels, Nichole noticed how important seaweed aquaculture was to indegenous cultures while also discovering in her lab experiments that seaweed was able to absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide. These musings planted the seed for an idea of using farmed seaweed to ‘phytoremediate’ – or remove excess carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous from – seawater to the benefit of the local environment. The Gulf of Maine represents the perfect location to explore phytoremediation potential because it is the birthplace of seaweed aquaculture in the US and ocean conditions (warming and acidification) are changing faster there than almost anywhere else in the world.
Nathan Robbins is the Climate Change Specialist for the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. He studied Biology at Wheaton College and received a M.S. in Resource Management and Conservation from Antioch University of New England. Nathan has worked in state and local governments, for non-profits, and with private businesses on partnership building, informed decision making, community engagement, and sustainable resource management practices for the past 10 years. He currently focuses on integrating climate information into Maine DEP’s work; this includes coordinating with agencies and partners, serving on state and regional groups, and providing climate-related expertise to communities impacted by climate change.
As a member of Maine Sea Grant’s Marine Extension Team, Jaclyn Robidoux’s work focuses on the development of the seaweed sector in Maine, with an emphasis on sustainable production, post-harvest processing, and product development. This work provides support for coastal communities through outreach education, technology transfer programs, and by coordinating stakeholders around Maine’s seaweed resources. Previous to her work at Sea Grant, Jaclyn was a graduate research assistant at the University of New Hampshire, studying seaweed cultivation technologies to diversify seaweed production in the Northeast. This background in technical seaweed research helps to link ongoing applied research with industry capacity and opportunities, to foster robust and sustainable working waterfronts along Maine’s coast.
Ken is a multi-generation Mainer, who has waded in rockweed all his life and has participated in discussions of its management and protection. He is a also a small business owner in Pembroke Maine.
Rodney Rowland has been working at Strawbery Banke Museum for 30 years on a number of jobs and projects to ensure a sustainable future of the museum. His career started in the curatorial department working with the objects that tell the stories of the people who lived on the site. Now he works to preserve the 37 historic buildings that act as the stages where we tell these stories. This latest threat is taking the museum in a new direction that requires us to find community partners to help evaluate and adapt these historic structures to ensure their future.
Steve Seabury grew up in Maine in South Portland with summers at Higgins Beach where his family still owns a cottage. After a career in corporate management primarily focused on process control and software engineering, Steve retired to Maine where he has led a beach profiling team for the past 21 years which is probably 2 years longer than the existence of the Maine Sea Grant program. He also maintains a live web cam on the beach and recently published and maintains a beach history web site which tracks every owner of every cottage on the beach back to the original Higgins family.
Dr. Robin Hadlock Seeley is a marine scientist, recently retired from Cornell University and currently faculty at the University of New Hampshire. She is an eighth generation Mainer who has been participating in discussions of appropriate rockweed management in Maine since 2000. Robin has also been a faculty member at Shoals Marine Laboratory, Appledore Island, ME off and on since 1985. Her research focuses on sustainable seaweed harvests in the North Atlantic and historical ecology in the Gulf of Maine.
Tom Shyka is the Product and Engagement Manager at NERACOOS where he works with end users and stakeholders to help educate and communicate about the information and the value NERACOOS provides. In this role, he works with end users to understand their information needs and help develop products and services to meet those needs.
Meagan Sims is the Program Coordinator for the Maine Healthy Beaches Program, Maine’s only unified and quality-assured structure for protecting public health on coastal beaches. As part of this work, she oversees and coordinates the implementation of beach monitoring, assessment, and public notification efforts for participating coastal Maine communities and state parks, conducts community engagement initiatives, and assists communities with the development of locally-relevant enhanced monitoring efforts and outreach materials addressing best practices for improving water quality and restoring marine and freshwater resources. She received a B.Sc. in Marine Biology from the Florida Institute of Technology and a M.Sc. degree in Marine Science from the University of New England.
Alison Sirois is the Regional Licensing and Compliance Manager for Southern Maine Bureau of Land Resources, Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
Peter Slovinsky is a Marine Geologist with the Maine Geological Survey, where he has worked since 2001. Peter leads Maine’s beach and nearshore mapping programs, and is an expert in coastal erosion, sea level rise, and conducting vulnerability assessments and resilience and adaptation planning. Peter helps communities visualize coastal hazards and develop viable local and regional adaptation strategies, and enjoys making technical science understandable to a variety of different stakeholder audiences. When he’s not in the office or field, you might find him surfing, fly fishing, trail-running, hiking, skiing, or just walking his dogs on the beach.
Chris Sockalexis is the Penobscot Nation Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO). As the THPO, his mission is to manage, preserve and protect the Penobscot Nation’s cultural and historic properties, resources and interests within the Penobscot cultural landscape of Maine. He is a graduate of the University of Maine with a degree in Anthropology focusing on Maine Archaeology and two minor degrees in Earth Science and Native American Studies. His current research at the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute involves Cultural Identity and Maritime Adaptation within the Gulf of Maine. Chris is an avid canoe/kayak paddler who loves being out on the water in the Maine wilderness.
Erika Spanger-Siegfried, the lead climate analyst in the Climate and Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, researches, writes and speaks about U.S. climate change impacts and preparedness. She currently oversees UCS’s climate impacts analyses, including a portfolio of leading-edge sea level rise work, that help shed light on ongoing climate change impacts, current efforts to cope with these impacts, and the urgency of strong leadership and action.
Dr. Arthur Spiess is the State Historic Preservation Officer for the State of Maine and holds the position Chief Historic Preservationist, Prehistoric Archaeology for the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.
Esperanza Stancioff is an Extension Professor in climate change adaptation research, education and outreach working with coastal communities, and assisting in the development and implementation of statewide Climate Change Adaptation Providers (CCAP) Network, Maine Ocean and Coastal Acidification (MOCA) Partnership, and regional Northeast Coastal Acidification (NECAN) Network; and citizen science programs (Signs of the Seasons (SOS), and the Northeast Ocean and Coastal Acidification Project.
Rachel Stearns’ educational background is in coastal oceanography and sea level science from the University of Rhode Island. She has been involved in projects that utilize salt marsh sediments to describe changes in long-term sea level, major storm events, and tectonic activity through history.
Roger Stephenson is the Northeast Regional Advocacy Director for the Climate & Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. In his role with the Union of Concerned Scientists, Roger works with UCS analysts, outreach specialists, and campaign managers to expand and strengthen the program’s outreach, and to engage UCS Science Network members and community leaders to promote state and federal climate and clean energy policies. He is active with the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership, UNH Seagrams, and NH Coastal Adaptation Workgroup
Joshua Stoll is an Assistant Research Professor of Marine Policy in the School of Marine Sciences at the University of Maine and holds a joint position at the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries. His research focuses on questions about coastal community resilience, ocean governance, and fisheries policy and seeks to contribute to the sustainability of our oceans and the communities that depend upon them. Joshua is the founder of the Local Catch network, owns and operates a small-scale oyster farm in mid-coast Maine, and is actively involved in state and federal fisheries policy. He holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Bates College, a Masters in Coastal Environmental Management from Duke University, and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Environmental Sciences from the University of Maine. Prior to returning to Maine as a faculty member, he was a post-doctoral fellow in the Global Economic Dynamics and the Biosphere Program at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Sweden.
Amy Tchao is a shareholder at Drummond Woodsum in Portland, Maine where she is the firm’s Practice Group Leader for Municipal Law. For over two decades, Amy has served as town attorney for several coastal and lakefront Maine municipalities, and has specialized in resolving complex problems arising from shorefront development, access and permitting issues. Amy currently represents the Town of Kennebunkport in a lawsuit concerning ownership and use of the wet and dry sand portions of Goose Rocks Beach.
Keith Tharp is co-founder and executive director of Sustainable Seacoast, a regional nonprofit with the primary goal of eliminating single-use plastic from the local restaurant industry. In its first year, Sustainable Seacoast has worked with 28 restaurants and businesses and has added zero waste event planning to their list of successes. Learn more about Keith’s work with Sustainable Seacoast by checking out his 2018 TEDx talk.
Greg is a lifelong Maine resident and the general manager of SOURCE INC., a company located in Brunswick, ME, that wild harvests seaweed for use in micronutrient supplements for animals and humans and in fertilizer. SOURCE was started in the 1970’s after the company’s founder was inspired by the unique seaweed-derived micronutrients and their benefit to horse health and wellness. Since then, SOURCE has grown into a vertically integrated company, harvesting seaweed from the Maine coast and producing various lines of natural wellness products marketed worldwide. SOURCE is a founding member of the Maine Seaweed Council, which strives to protect and promote the sustainable harvest of macroalgae in Maine.
George Voigt is a Master’s Candidate in the Resource Economics and Policy Program at the University of Maine. His research focuses on risk perception with regards to the use of coastal water, whether for recreation or harvesting. His advisor is Dr. Caroline Noblet in the School of Economics.
Chris Wall is the Regional Stewardship Manager for the western half of the Maine Island Trail. Working with coastal landowners from Kittery to the east side of Muscongus Bay, he coordinates stewardship projects and manages volunteers for over 100 sites along the Trail. Chris holds an M.S. in Environmental Education and has worked in the conservation field since 1999. He has been facilitating positive outdoor volunteer experiences for both youth and adults on and off the water for over 10 years.
Larry Ward has a Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina (1978) in Marine Geology. Dr. Ward is a geologic oceanographer with expertise in coastal and shelf sedimentology, morphology, and processes. He is currently a Research Associate Professor at the University of New Hampshire Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping and in the Department of Earth Sciences
Hannah Webber is the Marine Ecology Program Director at the Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park. As a member of Schoodic’s Science and Education team she plans, implements, manages, and evaluates projects that increase understanding and appreciation of the natural world, with emphasis on intertidal and nearshore ecology, biodiversity research, phenology monitoring, data literacy and citizen science. Hannah received her Master of Science (MS) in Zoology from the University of Maine, Orono and is currently a member of the Conserving Rockweed Animal Systems for a Sustainable Harvest (CRASSH) Research Team at the University of Maine. Through this research, Hannah works to characterize ecosystem linkages between rockweed biomass, architecture, intertidal invertebrates and coastal birds.
John Zarrella has lived along the tide’s edge for 36 years and observed the changes of our shoreline in southern Maine. For 12 years, he has been a curious citizen volunteer for Southern Maine Beach Profile Program.
Brad Zitske is a Regional Wildlife Biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife serving southern Maine. In addition to his support with the Piping Plover and Least Tern program, he provides technical assistance to the public, performs seasonal surveys on a variety of wildlife species and resources, reviews environmental development projects, and contributes biological data collection on several of Maine’s game species during hunting seasons amongst other duties. Brad has been with MDIFW for six years and has lived in Maine for over a decade after receiving his undergraduate degree in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin and Master’s degree from the University of New Brunswick in Canada.
Laura Minich Zitske is a wildlife biologist with Maine Audubon and has been Director of the Coastal Birds Project since 2011. She has a Masters in Biology which focused on seabirds from the University of New Brunswick and a bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College. Her work focuses on endangered species, on-the-ground conservation, advocacy, and coastal birds.