• Deborah Orieta

Welcome Back, Summer

Hello GOMI community! It's been a while since we've published content on this blog, but fear not, we are not out of commission. With COVID-19 and social distancing procedures, we've been working with the teachers at our partner schools to build a comprehensive action plan for the upcoming semester. These meetings are happening over Zoom and phone calls and will continue throughout the summer in lieu of our typical GOMI Summer Conference.

Our preparations for the fall semester, however, should not overshadow the fact that the summer is upon us. If you've taken a socially distant walk across your neighborhood, or visited any nearby parks, you might have noticed that ferns have taken over the forest floor, skunk cabbage is proliferating in our wetlands, and that flowers are blooming all around. The bees, butterflies and birds, too, are making an appearance, ensuring that our green companions can reproduce into the next season, and that our vegetable crops are as delicious and refreshing as these hot days call for. The liveliness of the summer can serve as a good reminder that protecting our public health infrastructure doesn’t have to mean disengaging from the world around us. The problems that were sharp in our consciousness before the pandemic are still here: our environment still demands our curiosity, creativity, and care. It demands our stewardship.

Stewardship can be carried out individually, in the ways we take care of our gardens, our belongings, our friends and family. But at GOMI, we believe that stewardship works best when we work in community. That’s why we engage teachers who engage students, and partner with organizations and teams that have an environmental and social vision. In times when physically being together can be a challenge we need to find other ways to build community and engage with our environment. One way is staying connected with the organization around us that are doing a lot of the work, such the Kennebunk Land Trust and the Kennebunk Climate Initiative, the Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary, the Long Term Ecological Research Network, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and their Park Rangers, various universities along the Gulf of Maine, and many, many more. Another way is through learning and practicing stewardship in our own backyards, parks and wild areas. Even though it might seem solitary, if we consider our conservation and sustainability efforts as something we’re doing together but apart, we can really begin to envision the effect that many people doing the work can bring.

At GOMI, these two ways of engaging are taking center stage this summer. We want to engage with our community and alongside it. GOMI members are doing backyard permaculture projects, microscopic investigations, going on crab-finding explorations, and reading books about conservation. We are envisioning the powerful effects of a native plants corridor that spans hundreds of backyards. We’re trying to bring visibility to cool projects happening around the Gulf of Maine. But we can’t do it alone. In a community, it’s up to all of us to participate, so if you’ve been waiting for an invitation, here it is!

Let us know what you’ve been up to! How are you making your surroundings a little bit more sustainable? How are you engaging and learning this summer? If you haven’t embarked on any projects already, what are hoping to learn about, or do?

On our end, we’ll be posting more regularly. Stay tuned for project ideas, highlights, reflections and instructions.It will all be kicked off with our latest edition of the GOMI Journal, but beyond this edition, we’ll be filling your feeds with information on how to join in on different projects. To keep up to date, be sure to follow the blog, but also follow us on Instagram and Twitter, and join the community on Facebook. Let’s keep the chain of positive influence going, and find inspiration together. In the meantime, stay safe, stay hydrated, and stay engaged.


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