Tag: PSS

Voices from the Barrens: Native People, Blueberries and Sovereignty

Join Portland Public Library and the Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative on November 17th for a screening of Voices from the Barrens: Native People, Blueberries and Sovereignty, which documents the wild blueberry harvest of the Wabanaki People from the USA and Canada. The film will be followed by a discussion with film director Nancy Ghertner and several participants in the blueberry harvest who are featured in the film.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021
TIME: 5:30 – 7:30pm
5:30 – 6:30 Film Screening
6:30 – 7:30 Discussion – panel of participants from the film and community
VIRTUAL EVENT: Via Zoom* (click here for details)


Voices from the Barrens: Native People, Blueberries, and Sovereignty focuses on the Passamaquoddy tribe’s challenge to balance blueberry hand raking traditions with the economic realities of the world market, which favor mechanical harvesting. Each August, First People of the Canadian Wabanaki, the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet tribes, cross the US/Canada border into Maine to take part in the tradition of hand raking blueberries with their Passamaquoddy brothers and sisters. This crossing to Maine’s blueberry barrens isn’t considered “agricultural labor,” but is a part of the traditional harvest from the earth.

This migration is part of their traditional sustenance life-style, a way of gathering from the earth. Families and extended families arrive at company owned camps and live in cabins on the remote barrens of Washington County. During the weeks of the harvest they hand rake the blueberry gullies and fields and at day’s end share camp activities.

Conversations in the cabins and the fields are interspersed with stunning views of the glacial barrens of Down East Maine as the film follows the rakers’ lives. In interviews with the tribal-owned company and elders from the Canadian Wabanaki the film documents the Passamaquoddy Tribe’s struggle to find a necessary balance between traditional work and the realities of tribal financial independence.



Nancy Ghertner began research into the hand harvesting of blueberries in Down East Maine in 2013 with field videography, interviews, and visits with blueberry companies in Washington County. The unique story that became “Voices from the Barrens” began with an invitation by an Eskasoni First Nation family from Cape Breton to visit their camp. This led to Nancy’s meeting the Passamaquoddy Wild Blueberry Company and filming their harvests. Through encounters and interviews with ninety people the story unfolded. The production team visited First Nation communities at Elsipogtog, New Brunswick, Eskasoni, Nova Scotia and the Passamaquoddy communities of Sipayik and Motahkomikuk in Maine to meet tribal elders and hear their personal stories of this gathering tradition.

This film was made across the ancestral lands of the Wabanaki: the Abenaki, the Maliseet, the Mi’kmaq, the Passamaquoddy and the Penobscot. We honor the Land and Traditions of the Wabanaki people and are grateful for their voices and knowledge shared in this film.

This program is funded in part by a grant from the Maine Bicentennial Commission.

Finding Hope in the Face of Climate Change

Ordinary people have more power to change the world than they think they do. But it is hard to stay positive and motivated in the face of devastating weather and constant bad news about politics and the environment. Join us on October 27th as we welcome author Susan B. Inches for a presentation on how to find your power and take action for the environment—as an advocate or within current daily activities. By working together, we can create a healthy future where all life is respected, revered and nurtured. This talk will show you how.

Wednesday, Oct 27 – Wednesday, October 27
5:30pm – 7:00pm (Virtual Event)
Location: Sustainability Series: Finding Hope in the Face of Climate Change
Audience: Adults

Click here for full details and Zoom Information

About the Speaker:

Susan B. Inches is author of the newly released book, Advocating for the Environment: How to Gather Your Power and Take Action. Sue has worked in public policy for over 25 years. As Deputy Director of the State Planning Office, she conducted research, designed and led public engagement processes, and lobbied on behalf of the Governor. Prior to this Sue worked with the fishing, aquaculture and seafood processing industries as a Director at the Department of Marine Resources and chaired the Board of Coastal Enterprises, a Community Finance Development Corporation providing funding to low income areas in Maine and nationally. Sue now works as an author, consultant, teacher and advocate with a focus on the environment and climate change. She developed and teaches a course called Advocating for the Environment at several colleges, and offers public workshops on the same topic. Sue holds a BA in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic and MBA from the University of New Hampshire.


Equity, Education, and the Environment: A Discussion on the Need for Comprehensive Climate Education

As we come together to combat climate change, we must also come together to educate our youth about these environmental issues. Join Kosi Ifeji in a conversation on the importance of climate education, and how we can come together to foster more climate conscious youth.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021
TIME: 5:30 – 7:00pm
VIRTUAL EVENT: Via Zoom* (click here for details)


Kosi Ifeji is a high school senior, intersectional climate justice activist from Bangor, Maine. Their passion for the environment led her to pursue citizen science efforts through her school’s Stormwater Management and Research Team (SMART), which focuses on monitoring the health of the Penobscot watershed. Kosi’s interest in climate education led her to their work the Nature Based Education Consortium’s Climate Education Working Group, but they also share their time as a Penobscot County Hub Coordinator for JustME for JustUS and NBEC’s Steering Committee and collaborates with the Maine Climate Table Intergen cohort. In her free time, Kosi loves to cook and bake for herself and for others.

Understanding the Fascinating Life Cycle of Native Plants

Join us for a presentation by Wild Seed Project founder and Executive Director Heather McCargo on the fascinating lives of native plants and how you can propagate and help preserve them.

In this live virtual program Heather McCargo (Executive Director of the Wild Seed Project) will explore the fascinating reproductive life cycle of New England native plants and how we can change our landscape practices to support wild plant reproduction, pollinators, and other wildlife. The program will include instruction on simple outdoor seed sowing that anyone can do to help increase native plant populations and protect the genetic diversity of our native flora and to how to be part of a grassroots movement to sow native seeds. 

Monday, June 7th | 5:30pm-7:00pm | Virtual via Zoom

Click here for more info. and Zoom Details

About the Speaker

Heather is an educator with 35 years of expertise in plant propagation, landscape design, and conservation. She was the head plant propagator at the Native Plant Trust’s Garden in the Woods during the 1990s, worked at landscape architecture/planning firms specializing in ecological design, and has been a contributor to several research projects with USAID, the National Gardening Association, and MOFGA. She has lectured nationally and is widely published in journals and magazines such as Horticulture, American Nurseryman, MOFGA, and Wild Ones. Heather designed the master plan for the medicinal gardens at Avena Botanicals in Rockland. Heather has a B.A. in plant ecology from Hampshire College, and an M.A. from the Conway School of Landscape Design.


Up for Grabs – The Battles Over Maine’s Public Lands

Join PPL and the Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative on Wednesday, May 26th at 5:30pm for a presentation by author and former Maine Audubon director Thomas Urquhart on the exciting story of Maine’s Public Reserved Lands from colonial times to statehood in 1820 to the present as related in his new book Up For Grabs: Timber Pirates, Lumber Barons, and the Battles Over Maine’s Public Lands (Down East Books).

Up For Grabs: Timber Pirates, Lumber Barons, and the Battles Over Maine’s Public Lands

Each year thousands of people recreate on Maine’s Public Reserved Lands. Most of these visitors know only that the large green areas on the map promise them access to some of the state’s most magnificent places. Very few have any idea how Maine acquired them. Or that, as a conservation success, their acquisition more than rivals the celebrated purchase and gift to Maine people of Baxter State Park by Governor Percival Baxter.

Up for Grabs tells the story of Maine’s Public Reserved Lands from colonial times to statehood in 1820 to the present. With dramatic moments and colorful characters, it provides an engaging and informative history of Maine’s wildlands from exploitation to conservation and sustainable use.

We are delighted to partner with Print: A Bookstore in presenting this program. Up for Grabs can be pre-ordered from Print here.  

About the Speaker

Former Maine Audubon director Thomas Urquhart is the author of For the Beauty of the Earth (2004). He has written extensively on Maine’s natural resources for such publications as Down East Magazine, Audubon, Habitat, and Port City Life. He lives in Falmouth, ME.

Date: Wednesday, May 26th from 5:30pm-7:00pm

Virtual Event: Full Zoom Info: For details click here