NRCM’s Annual People’s Choice Award!
Help us honor someone who has worked tirelessly to protect a special place, or has helped pass legislation safeguarding Maine’s environment, or has helped stop polluting companies from contaminating our state—someone who selflessly goes above and beyond to make sure future generations will enjoy the kind of Maine we know and love today.
Voting is closed for our 2020 People's Choice Award. The winner will be announced this fall.
2020 People's Choice Award finalists:
- Carol Ervin, Ed Pentaleri, Jeff Philbrick, & Bill Weary of Alna
- Gulf of Maine ECOARTS
- Kevin McKeon of Springvale
- Kiersten Piccininni of Bangor
- Eric Sherman of Greenville
2020 NRCM People's Choice Award finalists (alphabetical order)
Carol Ervin, Ed Pentaleri, Jeff Philbrick, & Bill Weary of Alna
Nominated by Cathy Johnson
These people have spearheaded protection of a pristine section of the Sheepscot River between Sheepscot Village and Head Tide from proposed inappropriate development (a permanent motorboat dock and ramp, and use by a new Sportsmen's Club with 25+ members).
They have tirelessly analyzed the application, researched the DEP law and rules and the Alna Shoreland Zoning Ordinance, gathered photographic evidence and statements from prior landowners, submitted detailed evidence, and refuted the applicant's assertions. They have recruited, rallied, and empowered more than 100 neighbors from both sides of the river to present written and oral testimony in opposition to the project to both the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Alna Planning Board.
The Alna Planning Board recently denied a permit but an appeal by the applicant is expected. The DEP granted a permit and an appeal by Ervin, Philbrick, and Weary is pending before the Board of Environmental Protection. The dedication and collective time spent to stop this project is certainly in the thousands of hours and is indicative of the passion they have to protect the wild character of the Sheepscot River.
Gulf of Maine ECOARTS
Nominated by Anna Dibble
Gulf of Maine ECOARTS' Bigelow Project is a collaborative arts and sciences project between artists, students, educators, and scientists. It focuses on educating people about changes in biodiversity in the Gulf of Maine due to climate change and other human impact.
In 2018, Gulf of Maine ECOARTS grew out of my “dream” idea to build a large-scale sculptural ecosystem. I partnered with Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay, and then the project evolved: We will create an interdisciplinary, intergenerational exhibit focusing on biodiversity in the Gulf of Maine. The exhibit will portray a symbolic lifting of the hidden Gulf of Maine ecosystem above the ocean surface to reveal its existence to the public, give comprehension of the compromised lives of our animal and plant neighbors, and the ongoing crisis that affects us all. The Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99% of all the world’s oceans, and the negative changes in biodiversity due to human impact. The sculpture will be made with 95% beach debris and recycled, re-purposed materials.
The exhibit will include a life-size North Atlantic Right whale, multimedia elements, and a selection of other endangered and threatened marine denizens. The marine animal and plant sculpture is being built by students in 12 Maine schools— from middle school through college levels — and 8 professional Maine artists. The public installation will be hung October, 2021 at Bigelow, and the exhibition will remain on display for a year. There will be integral art and science programming. After that, it will travel to other venues in Maine, and Boston, MA.
Kevin McKeon of Springvale
Nominated by Alice White
Kevin leads hikes for York County Senior College and found a way to save 100 acres for the community (McKeon Conservation Area) now part of Mousam Land Trust. The land had been “subdivided by surveyors for a dense housing development.” Now it is the NEW community garden for Sanford and Springvale as well as the beginning of an education center. He tries to keep ATVs off the trails in the 100-acre preserve, which is home to gray foxes, black bear, moose, a very cute bobcat, porcupines, turkeys, and just recently a snowshoe hare.
Kevin is involved in land conservation for several land trusts and just this week had his photo in the paper for keeping a small pond with significant wildlife from being “trapped out” due to flooding concerns by beavers. He did not want to see them moved out, so he got a grant to pay for a beaver deceiver device that will keep the road from being washed out.
He helps gardeners who are novices and gets grants so no one can be turned down from getting a plot at the very successful community garden he created. He also leads bird walks, helps with Open Farm Day, and is a beekeeper He is an outstanding fellow who is making a big difference in Springvale/Sanford.
Kiersten Piccininni of Bangor
Nominated by Lauri Boxer-Macomber
Kiersten is a leader throughout Maine in the sustainable transportation movement. She has volunteered hundreds of hours to making Maine a better place for walking and bicycling, which, in turn, contributes to the health of Maine’s environment. Well before the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic and public awakening to the fact that public health issues and climate change concerns in our state are directly tied to transportation choices, Kiersten was volunteering endless hours of her time, energy, and professional expertise to the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and the City of Bangor. Her volunteer work and advocacy for non-motorized and improved public transportation in Maine not only betters our environment by reducing harmful emissions and smog, but has helped hundreds, if not thousands, of Maine people reduce their environmental footprints and become better stewards of their communities, parks, and trails.
Kiersten’s volunteer accomplishments and notable pro bono efforts include leading the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s Five-Year Strategic Planning process, which included significant and substantial attention to the role bicycling and walking can play in addressing climate change and other environmental problems, participation in the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s Policy and Legislation Committee’s efforts to get e-bike legislation passed (which give people in Maine another alternative to gas-fueled vehicles), leading several initiatives in the City of Bangor designed to popularize walking and biking, improve wayfinding, and make sidewalks more accessible to people of all ages and abilities, serving as a volunteer member of the City of Bangor’s Broadway Corridor Advisory Committee and Urban Renewal Authority/Land Use Management Committee, volunteering on the Long Range Bicycle/Pedestrian Plan Committee for Bangor Area Comprehensive Transportation Agency, and currently assisting with "Imagine People Here" projects in the Bangor region—projects designed to get people out of their cars and indoor spaces and out into the world by foot and bike.
This nomination is submitted in collaboration with, and with support from, Tina West, the President of the Board of Directors of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and Jean Sideris, the Executive Director of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine.
Eric Sherman of Greenville
Nominated by Liz Stevens
Eric Sherman is a schoolteacher in Greenville, Maine. In his spare time, he has done countless things to help facilitate efforts on the NO CMP Corridor Campaign. From collecting signatures, and actually driving to folks' homes, as well as setting up places people can come sign petitions to get things on the ballot, to delivering yard signs. He shows up at events, lets people know when things are happening they should show up for, does fundraising, goes to meetings at the capital, and is a champion of saving the North Woods for future generations. He is a humble, hard-working man who whitewater guides for Moxie Outdoor Adventures in the summer.
He is simply a man who cares, is dedicated to his community, and does what he can, where he can, and for the greater good of Maine's North Woods. He's not the kind of guy who draws attention to himself, but he sure does a lot to try to help. He brings folks together, and he is a positive force, worthy for recognition. I call him a "ground pounder" volunteer; he may not be the headliner type, so to speak, but he is the muscle that gets stuff done. Mad respect for the guy.
Past People's Choice Award winners include:
2019: Sandi Howard, of Caratunk, for her dedication to administering the Say NO to NECEC Facebook group and organizing one of the groups of intervenors in the CMP corridor proceedings at the Department of Environmental Protection and the Land Use Planning Commission
2018: Robin Robinson, of Brunswick, for creating a flourishing online educational community of people who share photos and information about all aspects of Maine’s wild birds, including threats to their habitats and opportunities to make a difference
2017: Addie Farmer and Lainey Randall, of Portland, for their work keeping plastics and other pollution out of Casco Bay. Read a blog post, written by Lainey and Addie, about their work.
2016: The Larouche family, of Old Town, for the family’s commitment to wildlife protection and habitat conservation as well as environmental education for children and adults through the Hirundo Wildlife Refuge.
2015: Bonnie Pooley of Bethel, for her outstanding success in engaging young people in the work of protecting Maine’s environment.
2014: Robert Godfrey of Eastport, for his perseverance in protecting the beauty and heritage of Down East Maine by leading the grassroots organization, Save Passamaquoddy Bay.
2013: Thanks But No Tank of Searsport, for exceptional efforts mobilizing and engaging citizens to protect Searsport and surrounding coastal communities from potential harm posed by a proposed LPG tank and terminal.
2012: Bob Iles of Bethel, for exceptional efforts preserving the summit of and maintaining trails on Whitecap Mountain in Rumford, and for continued work to obtain public access to area lands and waterways as a member of the board of the Mahoosuc Land Trust.
2011: Belfast Co-housing and Ecovillage, for exceptional efforts and tireless work to establish a model environmentally sustainable, affordable, multi-generational cohousing community.
2010: Vera Francis of Perry, for serving as a leader in a true citizens’ movement in her efforts to protect Passamaquoddy Bay from a proposed LNG terminal.
2009: Evelyn Dunphy of West Bath, for her exceptional efforts in protecting Katahdin Lake from development.
2008: Willy Ritch of Woolwich, for exceptional leadership in mobilizing the citizens of Wiscasset to defeat plans for a coal gasification facility in their town.
2007: Maggie Shannon of Belgrade Lakes, for her dedication to the work of the Congress of Lake Associations and the inspiration she provides to others
2006: Eric Brown of Waterville, for starting Gang Green, an environmentally focused group of teachers and students at Lawrence High School. Note: Eric was the winner of our first annual People’s Choice Award.