May 30, 2023

Building Resilience

Island Institute's 2023 Business Resilience Grant Awardees
We are thrilled to announce the Island Institute's 2023 Business Resilience Grant awardees, a remarkable group of businesses and entrepreneurs who are at the forefront of building resilience in Maine's coastal communities. From Eastport to York and islands in between, these business owners are committed to sustainability, innovation, and supporting their communities.
Jeff Frank, Senior Community Development Officer
May 17, 2023

There’s “Wicked Fast Broadband on the Peninsula,” so now what?

A regional victory and vision for highspeed internet access for all
Blue Hill, Brooklin, Brooksville, Castine, Deer Isle, Penobscot, Sedgwick, and Stonington are now served by world-class internet. The fiber-to-the-home network built by Fidium (of Consolidated Communications) was made possible by a multi-million federal dollar grant won by the State of Maine in 2022 because these communities were ready. But that readiness didn’t happen overnight. It was countless hours of community meetings, hard work, and support from our staff and other partners, plus $55,000 in Island Institute planning grants that eventually leveraged over $20 million of public and private investments to connect 15,000 homes on the Blue Hill Peninsula.
Christa Thorpe, Community Development Officer
May 11, 2023

The Roux Institute Start Summit brings innovators together

A testament to the power of collaboration and innovation within coastal communities
The Roux Institute Start Summit on Innovation in Coastal Communities was truly a testament to the power of collaboration and innovation within our island and coastal communities. By bringing together diverse perspectives and expertise, the summit generated potential solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing Maine's coast. It also provided a forum for forming new connections and partnerships, ensuring that the spirit of innovation and collaboration will continue to thrive well into the future.
Jeff Frank, Senior Community Development Officer
April 28, 2023

Maine State Ferry Service Reports Released

Goal is to understand current system and identify opportunities for future improvements
National firm KPFF Consulting Engineers completed their reports on the Maine State Ferry Service (MSFS) in March, a culmination of 2 years of work collaborating with Island Institute, islanders, and the Maine Department of Transportation (DOT). This effort largely does two things: 1) gives a clear baseline of where the service is today in a format easily understood and publicly available and 2) opens the door to whole-systems thinking around where the service could go based on Maine islander needs and comparable systems.
Lisa Millette
April 10, 2023

Building on the tradition of hope and staying power

Kim Hamilton, Ph.D., appointed as president of the Island Institute
Stepping into a 40-year-old organization is a tremendous responsibility and an extraordinary opportunity, especially at this critical inflection point for Island Institute and our region.
Kim Hamilton, Ph.D.
March 9, 2023

Reflections from the Maine Fishermen's Forum

The Maine Fishermen's Forum is a unique event that brings together leaders and innovators working in our state's blue economy. From fishermen and aquaculturists to scientists, management agencies, gear suppliers, and others, the forum is an opportunity for stakeholders in this sector to convene, collaborate, and share ideas. We were excited to attend this past week and connect with friends and partners from across the coast. Read on for reflections and takeaways on the 2023 forum from Island Institute staff.
March 8, 2023

Celebrating International Women's Day

Recognizing the extensive contributions that women across the state make to Maine's working waterfront and marine economy
Today, we want to recognize the extensive contributions that women across the state make to Maine's working waterfront and marine economy. Molly Miller and Lia Morris are part of the Island Institute's Blue Economy team and work to ensure a vibrant and sustainable future for the economic sectors directly and indirectly connected to the ocean—and the people and communities who depend on this resource. Read on to learn more about what inspired their interest in this field and how they are working to create a more resilient coast.
February 27, 2023

Building Workforce & Education Pathways for a Changing Coast

Our approach is inspired by communities like Cliff Island that are supporting individuals and are planning for the future
The Island Institute's Workforce Pathway's Team is working to understand and address these long-term workforce needs and connect community members with promising education and career opportunities. The two primary ways we do this is through our education pathway and workforce partnerships. We focus on clean energy, seafood, and remote work because these three sectors show great promise for island and coastal communities, and they align well with Island Institute's broader work and commitments.
Yvonne Thomas
February 22, 2023

To save the last 20 miles of Maine’s working waterfront, we need to update the law

Legislation that allows land trusts to hold working waterfront covenants can provide needed agility and funding to protect these critical properties
The need for an additional, responsive tool for securing working waterfronts has led Island Institute to partner with Representative Morgan Rielly of Westbrook on legislation that will enable land trusts to have the option of holding working waterfront covenants. Land trusts provide a vehicle for private sector partners to work together to mobilize additional funding sources and act more nimbly. This is particularly important in urgent, emergency sale situations where multiple parties must move quickly to put together the funding and structure and close the deal.
Molly Miller, Ph.D.
February 21, 2023

Energy resilience planning in coastal communities

What communities everywhere can learn about clean energy from Maine's islands and coast
How do you cope with electricity outages and plan for energy resilience when you’re a small, isolated community—either at the end of a 40-mile power line or on an island several miles out to sea? Eastport and Islesboro, both off Maine’s coast, were selected to tackle these issues through a U.S. Department of Energy program, the Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project (ETIPP).
Emma Wendt & Emily Roscoe