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. 

RRCT’s 2022 Maine Conservation Champion Award: John Wensman & Fiddlehead School for Arts & Sciences

Jacinda Cotton Castro (Fiddlehead School), Chad Fierros (RRCT), and John Wensman

Please join us applauding John Wensman and Fiddlehead School for Arts and Sciences for their roles connecting students to conservation land and the outdoors. John has engaged his middle students on RRCT preserves for the past three years along with others at Fiddlehead School. They’ve helped build trails, create and install interpretation and have engaged in science and history in the outdoors. As a part of their 8th grade capstone projects in 2022, students designed, created, and installed projects to enhance community engagement (experiential connection) with the newly-expanded Intervale Preserve. We applaud John and Fiddlehead School for using conservation land as a place for education and growth.

RRCT’s 2021 Maine Conservation Champion Award: Katrina Van Dusen

Katrina Van Dusen retired in 2021 after ten years as Executive Director of the Freeport Conservation Trust (FCT), 17 years as a FCT Board Member, and after a career with the Maine State Planning Office and Maine Coastal Program. Her career legacy includes stewardship of FCT’s 1700 acres of treasured conservation lands, 25 miles of trails, and strong engagement of youth and community. Most recently Katrina and the Freeport Conservation Trust led the effort to conserve the new Walsh Preserve in Freeport along the Cousins River marshes, adding to 180 acres along the Cousins River conserved over the last 36 years by FCT. Katrina is a leader in joint efforts by RRCT, FCT, and MCHT to conserve an additional 80 acres on the Cousins in Yarmouth. Katrina’s friendship and collaborations with RRCT will last for many years to come as she settled into new community roles. “There is still so much valuable land in Freeport to protect, along with upriver Cousins Watershed parcels in Pownal, Yarmouth, and North Yarmouth” Katrina observes. “Stretches of undeveloped shoreline, stream corridors, and tracts of woodland. We need to be nimble and open-minded so that we can preserve strategic open lands for future generations before they are developed.” 

RRCT’s 2020 Maine Conservation Champion Award: Cathy Ramsdell & Friends of Casco Bay. 

Cathy Ramsdell with RRCT Board President Mark Power

“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  

RRCT’s 2019 Maine Conservation Champion Award: Brownie Carson

RRCT’s Alan Stearns, New Gloucester’s Buzz Lamb, and 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.