July 15, 2020, 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Island Institute

386 Main St
RocklandMaine 04841

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Virtual Event

Island Columnists
The Dynamics of Island Life, Explained by Island Insiders

View the video here

Join us for this special online event as we engage in a lively rapport with four of The Working Waterfront’s island columnists gathering to talk about the unique qualities of their communities. 

We’ll tackle the delicate but critical relationship that has always existed between year-round islanders and seasonal residents, explore how island towns govern themselves, and hear some of the lessons our island columnists have learned as they tell their community’s stories each month. 
Barbara Fernald of Islesford, Sandy Oliver of Islesboro, Courtney Naliboff of North Haven, and Phil Crossman of Vinalhaven are not shy about their views, and each will bring some of the color of their island communities to the discussion. 

Note: If you are unable to join by computer, a call-in option is available as well.


Phil Crossman

Phil Crossman is a lifelong resident of Vinalhaven with a centuries-old connection to the island. Currently, he serves on the town select board and on the Maine State Ferry Advisory Board. He also is chairman of CARES, an island group addressing substance use disorder. In addition to his contributions to The Working Waterfront, Phil is the author of two books, Away Happens and As the Crow Flies.

Courtney Naliboff

Courtney Naliboff  is a writer, teacher, and musician living on the island of North Haven. In addition to teaching music and theater at the North Haven Community School, she is the bass player and singer for the feminist punk band Bait Bag. Courtney also spends time playing and parenting on the island with her husband Bill and their daughter.

Barbara Fernald

Barbara Fernald grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and spent four weeks of every summer on Little Cranberry Island. She moved to the island in 1976, looking for a job on a lobster boat for the fall. She got the job, fell in love with the captain, and married him three years later. They raised twin sons on the island who went to the same elementary school as their father, and now live in southern Maine with families of their own. Barbara and her husband Bruce still live on Islesford year round.  

Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver is a food writer, food historian, gardener, and cook who lives on Islesboro, where she has also served on the town select board. In addition to articles in The Working Waterfront, her writing regularly appears in the Bangor Daily News and Down East magazine. Sandy is also the author of Maine Home Cooking and Food in Colonial and Federal America.


TomTom Groening

Tom Groening serves as editor of The Working Waterfront newspaper and oversees all aspects of the paper’s print and online editions. He also edits the Island Journal, the organization’s annual publication that celebrates island life and culture. A seasoned reporter and editor with more than 30 years of experience in Maine journalism, Groening spent 12 years at Belfast’s weekly Republican Journal and 14 years with the Bangor Daily News, most recently as Belfast bureau chief, before coming to the Institute in 2013. 

About the series

This summer the Island Institute is hosting a series of coastal conversations in a virtual format to engage and inform island community residents and our supporters. Throughout the series there will be various panels of representatives from Maine’s unbridged islands and coastal communities discussing their views on current challenges and emerging solutions for Maine’s lobster fishery, climate change, broadband, and the creative economy.

See the schedule for the full series here.