The Island Institute will send eight new Island Fellows to a variety of projects on islands from Downeast to Casco Bay. They join four returning Fellows in bringing expertise, resources, and their vitally important “extra set of hands” to their hosting communities and organizations.
This year’s group of Fellows comes from diverse backgrounds. Mary Terry is the new Willoughby Stuart Fellow assigned to help develop affordable housing on Peaks Island and a community project on Cliff Island. She worked for several years as a residential director and conference coordinator on college campuses and holds a master’s degree in public policy and administration from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Mary is originally from Kittery, Maine.
Eliza Greenman, a native of Poquoson, Virginia, will lead efforts to support a sustainable community on the Cranberry Isles, with a focus on natural resources, energy conservation, and renewable energy. With a B.S. in forestry and diverse work experience in Germany, Uganda, and California, she brings unique skills and energy to the Islesford School and Neighborhood House to develop conservation projects, as well as work on food co-ops, island farming, and energy audits.
The Town of Stonington will have recent Cornell graduate Emma Miran working to improve the climate for year-round businesses, and acting as a small business consultant for their micro-loan program. She will bring technical expertise to their websites, and planning and development skills to her research on the potential for a new industrial park. Emma comes from Waverly, New York.
The students at the Monhegan Island School will use their computers from the Maine Laptop Technology Initiative on place-based and experiential learning projects taught by Bates College graduate and Island Fellow Andy Whitaker. He will also assist with physical education, music, art, and foreign languages. His experience in field ecology programs with grade school students will come in handy as he undertakes a rehabilitation and stewardship project at the Monhegan Plantation Cemetery.
Lana Cannon grew up on Peaks Island and recently graduated from Allegheny College in Pennsylvania with a degree in environmental studies. She will work at the Matinicus Island School as the new Bingham Fellow in Rural Education, developing new curricula, raising funds for new textbooks, and cataloging books for the school library. In the summer, she will assist the historical society in archiving and preserving the current collection, and will research the possibility of creating a non-profit.
The North Haven Historical Society will have Betsy Walker helping them to settle into their new facility, creating new programs, and coordinating with the new North Haven Community School. Betsy, who studied in Croatia and Switzerland, has a bachelor’s degree in history from Connecticut College. She is from Preston, Connecticut, but has family in Owls Head, Maine.
Two island community centers will have the support of Island Fellows. Emma Lishness will be working at the new Islesboro Community Center creating programs, recruiting volunteers, and collaborating with the Islesboro School and other organizations. Emma is a native of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, and received her master’s degree at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
Kate Power, the Louis Cabot Fellow, brings her skills in journalism and communications to the Long Island Community Center. She will be working on projects to update the building and make it more energy efficient, and help with recreation programming and with affordable housing projects with the Year-Round Housing Corporation. A native of Phippsburg, Maine, Kate received a bachelor’s degree from Saint Michael’s College in Colchester Vermont.
Four Island Fellows are continuing their projects for a second year. Katie Chapman’s work on Swan’s Island on alternative energy will focus more specifically this year on the environmental impact of the Fox Islands Wind Project, which is moving towards the installation of wind turbines on Vinalhaven. Peter Levandoski will continue work as Public Health Outreach Coordinator with Vinalhaven’s Island Community Medical Services as the clinic expands services and adds new treatment and diagnostic capacities. The new Town of Chebeague Island will keep the Cooney Fellow, Thea Youngs, engaged in using her GIS expertise to create maps that offer graphic information on the implications of land development policies, and in assisting with their first Comprehensive Plan, land use regulations and zoning ordinances. Morgan Witham will continue to promote ‘healthy habits’ and physical activity at the school on Isle Au Haut, and will maintain a full schedule of activities for volunteers, adults and children at the Revere Memorial Library.
The Island Fellows Program is one of the Island Institute’s most visible and valued program. North Haven Principal Barney Hallowell confirmed the Institute’s highest aspirations when he said at a recent event, “It is to the Island Institute’s great and everlasting credit that it does this for us, that it has provided us with extraordinary, high quality people… that contribute to and make better what we do.”