Sunday, April 8, 2018

Return from Break

This was a pretty good week back at Waterfall Arts. I worked on getting all the info for the upcoming summer classes organized and formatted for the website. I got to meet with Ando Anderson and complete our interview for the blog, so next week I might begin to post in the WA blog. On Friday the 6th, I was introduced to two residents of the Waterfall Arts building who also have a boat that they live on. Meg would like me to interview them as well for the blog, and I can't wait because they are really interesting people and fun to talk to! The open-call event "Oceans" opened that night as well, and I took photos of the event and counted attendance. I also ran into Maxwell Nolin, one of the artists I'm going to interview. He had a beautiful piece in the show, and we connected about the interview and had a nice conversation. All in all, it was an eventful week, and the next one is going to bring more interviews and blog work. 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Audubon: Busy season & notes from the State House.

Things are getting busy with Audubon and we have just released our final report on the Brook Trout Survey from 2017 that I have helped finalize with Annica for Inland Wildlife and Fisheries. We are still working out some kinks now however because IFW had some data we were not privy to, so we are just now updating a few inconsistencies before Audubon publishes the report. Beyond that, Annica is gearing me up to start taking survey requests from volunteers and signing up these folks for ponds and coastal streams. We have had a few requests come in so far, and citizen scientists are eager to start angling again.

In other news, I attended Conservation Lobby Day with Audubon on the fourth of April, and it was fantastic. We were lobbying in support of some Water Bonds due to hit the state house this year. We were hoping to get our senators and representatives to voice their support on behalf of their constituents (us). In addition to educating about these water bonds, we were coincidentally present the same day as the veto-override vote on LD1444, 'An Act To Prohibit Gross Metering’.  Unfortunately I have just learned the veto from Governor LePage was upheld, meaning people who live off the grid will be metered and charged via CMP for their power usage, regardless of the fact they are not connected to the grid. Read below.

"The bill, LD 1444, would prevent the Public Utilities Commission from charging Mainers with solar installations for the electricity they produce. According to Beth Ahearn, political director with the group Maine Conservation Voters, defeat of the bill means those who have solar power will be required to have new electric meters, too."

Please read more here (click).
I am troubled by this but I know it's not the end, I can't believe that the public will stand for this.

In relation to the upcoming water bonds, I was able to speak with my Representative (Kevin Battle) from South Portland and hear his slant on some new water bonds in the works that could help update a backlog near $24,000,000 of infrastructure repairs for my city. I did not meet my Senator (Rebecca Millet), which I was hardly concerned by because she has a 100% score on Conservation Maine's 'Environmental Policy Score Card', which means she's voted towards every pro-environmental bill/bond that's come her way. Representative Battle is an independent, who is retiring this year to become the Maine Harbor Master, so I hope clean water is important to him. Annica was able to speak with her ultra-conservative senators who are not usually environmentally aligned, and successfully confirmed their attendance to a conservation law forum happening this upcoming week. I do hope they go!

I have rescheduled my presentation date with Dr. Jack Hopkins and will be on campus in May, doing a little show and tell in regards to the citizen science initiatives Audubon is responsible for.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Over Break

The past two weeks have been spring break, and I couldn't stick around in Maine, otherwise, I would have stayed and kept going into Waterfall Arts. However, I did get to make follow-up emails to board members and local artists for the interviews. I got responses the next day and was able to work out times to meet with some of the artists, as well as get some interview questions answered via email, though we still want to meet in person. I was also introduced to the next project that can be done from my own computer: organizing/adding information on the summer classes at WA to be put into the website format. I was also told that there is an event coming up April 6th, which I will happily help out with to get some more experience and hours! Now that I'm back, I look forward to spending more time completing my projects and meeting new artists.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Week 5 at WA

I didn't get to make it into Waterfall much this week, but on Monday I went in and did some filing/organizing of a bunch of posters and postcards from past events. I talked with Meg about what to do over spring break since I was going home. Updates are being made to the WA website, and I will be getting access to a google doc soon that will allow me to put in information on upcoming classes at WA onto the website format. I also intend on making some follow up emails to the artists I will be interviewing and the board members, as I only have two photos and one bio for the website right now. Hopefully I can fit a lot of hours in over break!

Week 4

This week was pretty mellow, I'm slowly getting email responses from board members and I might be taking a few of their bio photos. I still haven't heard from Maxwell Nolin, but I went ahead and emailed two other Waterfall artists, Ando and Lisa. I have questions made up for them that I included in their email. I started gallery sitting today, if anyone comes in to look at the art I take a tally for the day. Looking forward to doing these interviews soon!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Audubon 3/14/2018

Annica and I are working on finalizing all the documents for the Brook Trout Survey volunteers before open water coming up in just two weeks. I am combing through our data and notes with a fine-toothed comb, and cross referencing all our material with IFW and Maine Audubon volunteer sheets. All in all, spending a lot of time on Excel and finding out how to deal with wonky entries. 
Annica and I are also discussing the upcoming loon count survey, which sounds to me has quite the cult following. The volunteer coordination for that survey is a BIG task. Furthermore, we're thinking about how USM has integrated some of the Maine Audubon initiatives into their bio curriculum in the past, and how we might start involving more schools with citizen science projects.  In gist, we're spending a lot of time planning and getting everything in order in preparation for the busy busy busy season up ahead! Of course, I am also signed up to join Annica on conservation lobby day, where we will take on the roll of lobbyists at the State House and try to speak with our representatives about current water bonds and other pressing environmental issues that will be voted on this year. 
Here's some info incase you'd like to learn more:

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Week 3: First Event

This week at Waterfall Arts I was assigned another project to work on; I am coming up with questions to ask local artist Maxwell Nolin that will be put in a blog on the WA website. This project is ongoing, after Max I will interview other artists at Waterfall and hopefully get a nice collection of interesting blogs. On Friday, I stayed late to help prepare for the Young Artist Gallery Takeover event. Art made by children ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade was displayed throughout the gallery, and my job was to photograph as much of the artwork and the people attending as possible. There was a short break during this event when a few girls from the after-school program at WA decided to put on a mostly impromptu play for everyone, which involved them running around dressed as kittens looking for mittens they lost. Overall, this event was really successful and it was a good way to start getting experience photographing events.