Category: CCON

King Middle School Deering Oaks Restoration Project

King Middle School students are the stewards of a portion of Deering Oaks Park in Portland, ME. Since 2016, King students have dedicated their time and focused their learning towards helping to restore the park to a native Maine ecosystem. Through the planting and maintenance of native species, King students are creating an ecosystem that hosts wildlife, educating the public and building a long term data set to monitor the health of the ecosystem. All of this work is accomplished through collaboration with local organizations and experts including: Maine Audubon; Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative; Friends of Deering Oaks; and US Fish & Wildlife.

Press Release: King Middle School To Join In Sign Unveiling

About King Middle School

King Middle School’s mission is to awaken our students to the possibilities around them, as leaders in their own learning. To instill a sense of wonder and personal agency that can only be achieved through the exploration of real-world challenges and their potential solutions. To accept students as they are, and in so doing, encourage them to discover their best selves.

King Middle School is part of the Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative Climate Change Observatory Network, a photo monitoring program designed to work with environmental organizations and communities to assist with the observation, measurement and documentation of long-term climate change trends.

Outlook with Laura Bither

Outlook explores variables that shape and influence individuals relationships with nature and how they seek to inspire, adapt and reimagine what conservation can look like moving forward in a world where Climate Change is affecting a broad range of human and natural systems.


Laura Bither, Regional Youth Hub Coordinator with JustME for JustUS

—-What are you passionate about and how does that play out in your work:

My passion is climate justice and outdoor accessibility for all. The Scarborough Marsh Climate Change Observatory (CCO) site is ADA-accessible, which is a necessary and obvious step in inclusivity. The restorative benefits of nature are especially vital for folks who are combating ableism, white supremacy, settler colonialism, and capitalism in their everyday lives because of the identities they present.

I’m thrilled about the participatory model of the Climate Change Observatory Network (CCON). In a place like the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center that gets a lot of tourists, visitors develop only a transient, transactional relationship with the land. Bringing in a program that fosters in visitors an intentional engagement with the land is crucial as we adapt to climate change and reframe our relationship to the land to be one of reciprocity rather than of extraction.

In my roles this past summer as the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center Environmental Education Intern and the Maine Environmental Changemakers Community Organizer I created and authored a project on climate change and sea level rise. By focusing on the stories of youth and fisherfolk – those typically left unheard in the traditional environmental movement – I centered on the challenges Maine coastal communities face and their visions for a climate-resilient future. A digital version will be posted to the Maine Audubon website, and a physical display will be mounted next spring on the front of the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center.

In my current role as the Regional Youth Hub Coordinator with JustME for JustUS I am driven by a mission to create a strong youth-led network of civic engagement and climate justice work in rural Maine. I feel incredibly lucky to work with an organization and leaders in the climate justice movement to shift power toward a shared goal of equity and justice for all Mainers. Through a series of political power trainings and micro grants to support youth projects, we are dedicated to supporting the awesome civic engagement and climate justice work that youth are putting forward. We must center youth voices in policy and planning as we reimagine our future with climate change.

POEM: vacationland by Laura Bither

Telling Stories about Climate Change: Climate Change Observatory Network

Click on the image below to watch the NEEFNational Environmental Education Foundation Educational Week event featuring guest speaker,Ky Wildermuth, co-creator of the Chronolog. The Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative has partnered with Chronolog to provide the Climate Change Observatory Network a participatory resource tool that is used at each Climate Change Observatory project site to help tell stories about environmental changes occurring over time. Chronolog is used to create crowd-sourced time lapses that monitor the environment and engage communities in science.

The Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative (SMCC)  Climate Change Observatory Network (CCON) is a photo monitoring program designed to work with environmental organizations and communities to assist with the observation, measurement and documentation of long-term climate change trends. Using participatory tools and collaborative partnerships, the program brings people with various perspectives and knowledge together to co-learn about climate change and adaptation. The CCON encourages participation in climate change study, develops an interest and community ownership in climate action, and inspires collaboration amongst community stakeholders to develop adaptation strategies and solutions.

SMCC partners with environmental organizations, municipalities, universities, schools and other community stakeholders to build out Climate Change Observatory (CCO) project sites. Each CCO project site is unique to the local context, geography, and the changes being experienced in that area. CCO project sites document a range of observations including erosion and sea level rise, storm surge and the effects of the ocean on the wetland complex, marsh migration, water levels, vegetation changes, changes in land use over time, restoration efforts: native plants/re-wilding, invasive species management and more.

Contact the Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative if you are interested in being part of the Climate Change Observatory Network in Maine.