• December 11, 2019

    The Island Institute is excited to be partnering with the nonprofit Rural Aspirations Project to bring together three small, isolated, rural Maine high schools and take an in-depth look at the unique role and purpose of rural education and its connection to rural community, vitality, and sustainability. The schools involved are: Islesboro Central School and Vinalhaven School in Penobscot Bay and East Grand School located in Northern Maine near the Canadian border. Learn more about the "Portrait of a Graduate" project and other grantees in this announcement from the Barr Foundation.

    Education & Leadership

  • October 24, 2019

    The Town of South Thomaston is pleased to announce that they were recently awarded a $10,000 ShoreUp Maine grant from the Island Institute. The grant will assist in the engineering of the Town’s Spruce Head Island Causeway road project. The project is intended to improve the road in ways that mitigate potential wash out during heavy weather events, effectively shutting down the island and our working waterfront.

    Aquaculture & Marine

  • September 18, 2019

    More than 90 people filled boats on Wednesday to go to Islesford to celebrate the installation of new solar panels at the Cranberry Isles Fishermen’s Co-op. The new panels on top of the fishermen co-op’s buildings provide 100-percent of the power. Between grants from the Island Institute and the USDA, Nighman says 60% of the cost was covered.


  • July 3, 2019

    The Island Institute, announced July 1 the launch of the Tom Glenn Community Impact Fund, a new catalyst fund that seeks to build a more diverse coastal economy by providing grants, loans and equity investments for small businesses and municipalities. The fund was made possible through a grant from The Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation to honor Tom Glenn II and his lifelong commitment to Maine’s island and coastal communities. The Tom Glenn Community Impact Fund supports the Island Institute’s strategic priority, strengthening community economies, giving preference to projects aligned with the organization’s impact targets for economically critical community infrastructure and the diversification of coastal livelihoods.

    Economic Development

  • May 16, 2019

    People who work the sea say Maine’s climate is changing, and the evidence is all around them. Mid-Atlantic species in Maine coastal waters is just one piece of the evidence that a changing climate, with warmer ocean waters, is already having an impact here. Cousens, the former president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, says he has been tracking sea surface temperatures in the waters of Penobscot Bay, just off his home in South Thomaston, for the past 40 years.

    Aquaculture & Marine

  • April 30, 2019

    It was a sharp, windy March day, but the gray water of Casco Bay glimmered green in the sun. On his lobster boat, the Pull N’ Pray, Justin Papkee scanned the surface of the ocean, searching for his buoys. But he wasn’t looking for lobster traps. Mr. Papkee was farming, not fishing: His crop, clinging to ropes beneath the cold waves, was seaweed, thousands of pounds of brownish kelp undulating under the surface. Growing at a rate of 4 to 6 inches per day for the past six months, it was nearly ready to be harvested and sent to restaurants like Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Estela, Houseman, Saint Julivert Fisherie and Luke’s Lobster in New York, and Honey Paw, Chaval and the Purple House here in Maine. He pulled a blade of kelp from his line and handed me a long, translucent strip. I took a bite, and then another, seawater running down my chin.

    Aquaculture & Marine

  • April 30, 2019

    Governor Janet Mills announced today that she has introduced bipartisan legislation to create the Maine Climate Council. The Climate Council will develop the action plan and timetable to meet the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals, to promote jobs and economic benefits for Maine people in the transition to a lower carbon economy, and to support the climate resiliency of Maine’s communities.

  • April 11, 2019

    Downtown Vinalhaven sits on a mix of quarried rocks subject to erosion and vulnerable to inundation. When a selectman raised concerns in 2015 about “the inevitability of sea-level rise,” the board acknowledged, “We have to start talking about this; we have to form a committee,” recalls Vinalhaven Town Manager Andrew Dorr. Dorr turned for help to the school, where students working on a climate curriculum began preliminary research and modeled inundation using a gingerbread town. After they presented findings to the board of selectmen, the town sought a grant to obtain an engineering assessment of its harbor area. That report confirmed the potential for more frequent and destructive flooding in coming decades — a plight Vinalhaven shares with many of the 144 communities in Maine’s coastal zone.

    Aquaculture & Marine

  • March 13, 2019

    From shellfish growers and farmers to doctors and home-grown clean energy businesses, a wide range of Mainers testified today in support of a bipartisan bill to spark action on climate change. "An Act to Limit Greenhouse Gas Pollution and Effectively Use Maine’s Natural Resources" (LD 797) would set Maine on a clear path forward for tackling climate change by reducing carbon pollution and growing local economies, while protecting families and businesses from the worst effects of the changing climate. Read more in this news release from the Natural Resources Council of Maine.