RRCT’s Maine Conservation Champion Award

Each year, Royal River Conservation Trust selects a person or organization doing exemplary conservation work in Maine to receive RRCT’s Maine Conservation Champion Award. This award is presented at our annual summer party, RRCT Celebrates! Please join us to honor these people and groups that are truly the champions of conservation efforts in Maine. 

2020 Maine Conservation Champion: Cathy Ramsdell & Friends of Casco Bay. 

Cathy Ramsdell tests for micro-plastics in Casco Bay for the first time

“The most significant accomplishments of Friends of Casco Bay have been about working with our community to live up to the name ‘Friends.’ I’ve been elated to have retained and hired an incredibly professional staff who truly understand collaboration, and all that it entails. Our collaborations across the Casco Bay community and across all walks of life, continue to inspire in me the hope that together, we can continue to confront the impacts of climate change. The credibility of Friends of Casco Bay’s work, based on science, and common sense and decency, is an accomplishment that will continue to serve us in good stead as we move into challenging times.” – Cathy Ramsdell

Cathy Ramsdell with RRCT Board President Mark Power

Friends of Casco Bay’s mission is to improve and protect the environmental health of Casco Bay. They use science, advocacy, and community engagement in pursuit of their mission. Home of the Casco Baykeeper, Friends of Casco Bay is a founding member of Waterkeeper Alliance, a network of more than 300 environmental organizations around the world. This year they are celebrating their 30th anniversary.  

It takes a community to care for the Bay. Friends of Casco Bay is grateful to work with partners like the Royal River Conservation Trust to protect this shared resource. “RRCT and Friends of Casco Bay are partners in the goal of promoting clean water. The waters of the Royal River watershed and Casco Bay are inextricably intertwined. RRCT’s efforts to conserve land in the watershed help to ensure the quality of water flowing into the bay.  Both organizations face the challenge of supporting climate resiliency and mitigating expanding development. We celebrate the long-standing efforts of FOCB to use advocacy, science, education and community engagement to improve the health of Casco Bay.” -Emily Jones, Vice President, Royal River Conservation Trust.

Friends of Casco Bay serves those who live, work and play on the Bay. They value clean marine water as vital habitat and their efforts to protect the health of the bay benefit tourism, lobstering, shellfish harvesting, science, recreation and the arts.

Friends of Casco Bay’s most important accomplishments include: championing a halt to cruise ship pollution and winning a No Discharge Area designation for Casco Bay, the first in Maine. With as many as 100 cruise ships visiting the Bay each year, this has been an important victory. 

Friends of Casco Bay also worked to secure better long-term protection through Clean Water Act classification upgrades for areas of Casco Bay, ensuring stricter, permanent pollution limits. Working with municipalities around the Bay to reduce sewage overflows, storm water pollution and excess nitrogen. 

Cathy Ramsdell, CPA, CGMA & Executive Director, uses her expertise in business, public accounting, and ecology to lead Friends of Casco Bay. Her degree in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic took her from the Bering Strait in Alaska studying seabird populations, to protecting nesting loggerhead sea turtles on the barrier islands of Georgia, to cataloging populations of whales in the Gulf of Maine. Prior to joining Friends of Casco Bay in 2003, Cathy advised executive directors, business owners, and family foundations on financial, professional, and organizational development. As Executive Director, Cathy exercises general oversight of all of Friends of Casco Bay’s program work, fundraising, and administration.

“We have been very fortunate to have Cathy at the helm for 18 years. She has helped us build a resilient and collaborative organization. Working with partners all around the Bay has been a key part of Cathy’s approach to protecting the environmental health of the Bay. No one group can take care of the Bay all by itself and we are extremely proud to partner with Royal River Conservation Trust to help take care of Casco Bay.” – Malcolm Poole, President of the Board of Directors, Friends of Casco Bay. 

RRCT’s 2019 Maine Conservation Champion Award: Brownie Carson

Brownie Carson worked for the Natural Resources Council of Maine for 27 years and was involved in many clean water initiatives and dam removal. Thank you Brownie for all of your conservation efforts.

RRCT’s 2018 Maine Conservation Champion Award: Don Perkins and The Gulf of Maine Research Institute. 

RRCT’s 2018 Maine Conservation Leadership Award was awarded to Don Perkins and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI). Don is here (center) with GMRI employees Jonathan Labaree, and Christina Traister.  GMRI is dedicated to the resilience of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and the communities that depend on it.