To celebrate 10th anniversary of the SunriseGuide, we wanted to shine a light on Mainers who are creating real change in their communities. Their efforts have resulted in significant advances in the areas of sustainability, environmental health and wellness in Maine over the past ten years. These champions work tirelessly—often under the radar—improving access to local foods, ensuring Mainers are safe from harmful toxins, protecting our land, air and waters from pollutants, and much more. Our hope is that by sharing their stories, others will be inspired to create their own.
Nominations were collected in the fall of 2015 and ranked by a panel of independent judges to select the top ten. We had a 3-way tie, which means there are actually 11 winners this year. We are thrilled with the caliber of all the nominations received and in particular, the contributions these awardees have made to Maine. Join us in congratulating the first annual SunriseGuide Stewards of Sustainability!
One of the pioneers of green building in Maine, Peter has been championing sustainable building methods since 1990. His company, Taggart Construction, specializes in energy-efficient, environment-friendly, and occupant-healthy buildings. They built the first LEED Certified home in the United States in 2005. Peter has influenced countless builders in Maine, sharing his passion as a longtime board member and past chair of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association and board member and past chair of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Maine chapter.
Peter has worked tirelessly with Kennebec-Messalonskee Trails over the past 15 years to develop what is now a 40-mile trail network in the Waterville-Winslow area. Since 2005, Peter has been a regular participant in the state’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Council and is a past board member for the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. Peter is the coordinator of the area’s Window Dressers program, which hosts community “builds” to make inside storm windows, and he volunteers to do home energy assessments that help home owners make wise decisions about weatherizing.
NATURAL RESOURCES COUNCIL OF MAINE Augusta
Since 1959, the Natural Resources Council of Maine has been advocating for the protection of Maine’s natural resources and educating and empowering citizens to make informed choices about environmental issues in Maine. They are an active voice in Augusta, keeping an eye on proposed legislation that may impact Maine’s environmental health and rallying support for important environmental protections, land preservation, and good energy policy across the state. They were a leading voice in restoring $38 million in funding for Efficiency Maine that was in jeopardy due to a typo in a recently passed law. They are strong advocates for good solar policy in Maine. And they were integral in banning the importation of tar sands in South Portland. Their team works tirelessly on behalf of all of us.
JOHN NAYLOR Portland
Long before it was fashionable and hip, before Portland became synonymous with great food sourced locally, John Naylor would talk to anyone who would listen about his belief that we should all eat seasonally and locally and that there was value in being connected to the foods we eat and to the people who produce them. He opened the Rosemont Market in 2005, along with his partner Scott Anderson. Since that time, the markets have made a significant difference in the way people in Portland and Yarmouth are able to eat. Rosemont is recognized throughout the region as having one of the best collections of local foods available. They now operate markets in five walkable neighborhoods in Portland and Yarmouth, helping residents support local farmers, fisherman and producers from their local food market.
KAREN KLEINKOPF, FARMS Damariscotta
FARMS (Focus on Agriculture in Rural Maine Schools) was formed eleven years ago by Karen and a group of parents concerned about the food served to their children at school, and its relation to the obesity epidemic. Working with food service staff and local farmers, FARMS has brought significant change to menus in the local school district, educating students about good nutrition and the role of local farms in promoting healthy, sus- tainable communities. Recognizing that it is not enough to change school lunches, they visited almost every K-8 classroom in the school district and Wiscasset Primary School (six schools, 1200 children) to teach kids how to enjoy the healthier foods they were being served. FARMS has provided each school with cooking supplies for kids to make their own healthy snacks, and curricula and mini-grants for teachers to purchase foods.
Naomi Beal is the director of PassivhausMAINE, an advocacy group for high-performance buildings in Maine that use 90% less energy than typical structures. As leader of PassivhausMAINE, Naomi has organized monthly education seminars, tours of current projects, and hosted an international conference that took place in Portland in 2014. She has quietly educated people across the building community about the possibilities associated with new technologies and green building design. Naomi recently chaired the building committee for the new K-8 Friends School of Portland, a 15,000 square foot net zero building that opened in September, 2015. It is the first school in Maine (and the third in the country) to achieve Passive House certification.
RICHARD BURBANK Portland and Rockland
Richard started Evergreen Home Performance more than ten years ago, when few people had heard of “home performance” and even fewer believed that Maine’s drafty old housing stock could ever be comfortable or energy efficient. Richard knew that innovative building science practices could transform our state’s houses and environmental health, and he has spent the last ten years nurturing a business that does just that. Home performance is so much more than insulation. It looks at the house as a comprehensive system and makes recommendations for the whole, making homes more comfortable, healthy, and energy efficient, and then engineering comprehensive air sealing and insulation projects to achieve those goals. The home performance industry in Maine has grown considerably in the past ten years, and Richard has played an important leadership role in advancing this comprehensive approach.
MIKE PARKER Windham
Mike Parker is the board president for the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust (PRLT). He has volunteered tirelessly over the years to increase public access to conserved lands in the region west of Portland to Sebago Lake, and was instrumental in bringing to fruition several recent projects including the permanent preservation of Randall Orchard, a 500-acre working farm and open space. Randall Orchard is one of the last large commercial agricultural properties in Standish and Gorham with prime agricultural soils. In addition, under Mike’s leadership PRLT recently preserved 70 acres of land along the beautiful and densely forested Mill Brook in the heart of Westbrook. Treasured for its cold-water stream, steep ravines, and great wildlife habitat, the preserve will soon be open to public with a two-mile trail along the river. This land was identified as a conservation priority in the region because up to 50,000 migrating fish (alewives) swim from Casco Bay up to Highland Lake through Mill Brook each year. And now, this habitat will be forever protected.
JILL AGNEW, WILLOW POND FARM Sabattus
Jill Agnew is a CSA pioneer in Maine. She started Maine’s first CSA (community supported agriculture) in 1989 at a time when few had heard of the concept. That CSA has built community around organic food in Sabattus for 26 years. Jill has trained many MOFGA apprentices, and some of whom have gone on to start their own CSAs in Maine. In addition to providing her shareholders with organic produce, eggs, and meat, she is highly regarded for providing education about sustainable agriculture, organic foods, and how to be involved with our food supply. For 20 years, Willow Pond Farm had a children’s garden and gave every child of shareholder families a little plot of land on which to plant, tend, and harvest some produce of their own to help the children learn about how their food is grown. Jill is the seed for CSAs in Maine.
MANOMET’S SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIES PROGRAM Brunswick
For more than ten years, Manomet’s Sustainable Economies Program has advised communities and businesses on practices that enhance their economic viability and human well-being, while reducing their environmental footprint. Their work improves the health of Maine’s people and natural resources by helping to reduce carbon emissions, pollution, and waste, and by promoting sustainable growth and development. Examples include the Downeast Fisheries Partnership that works to recreate fish habitats, diversify the fishing economy, create stewardship programs, and develop new markets for fisheries products, and a grocery store certification program that helps the grocery sector reduce its environmental footprint, and has certified 60+ stores in Maine.
ENVIRONMENTAL & ENERGY TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL OF MAINE (E2TECH) Portland/Statewide
E2Tech is the state’s leading energy, environmental, and clean technology business and economic development organization. Launched in 2002, it now has more than 250 members. E2Tech provides a resource center that promotes Maine companies, supports their acceleration, and helps them compete in national and global markets by providing connections to investment, mentors, strategic partners, information, and other resources. Their monthly educational programs bring together diverse voices that would not otherwise sit at the same table to discuss issues related to energy, the environment and the clean tech sector, advancing our collective knowledge and the clean, green economy in Maine.