Sunset over water

A Deeper Sense of Place: Growing Bioregional Stewardship

A Bioregional T-Lab/Workshop Hosted by Team Zostera & COBALT, July 17-19, 2023 ~ Greater Portland, Maine, USA

Co-Creating A Story Of Place

Instead of only asking ‘what’ is the Casco Bay Bioregion, we will embark on a process of discovering ‘who’ is this remarkable land. This includes learning how to see the patterns that has given this place life. We will explore its identity over time, starting with some the largest volcanos ever known on earth, long history and mountain building and erosion, massive earthquakes to more recent glaciation that has shaped the current features. As orientation, we will “fly” the bioregion from the top of Mount Washington down the Saco, the Androscoggin, the Presumpscot, into Sebago Lake and the Royal and Stroudwater Rivers. This land is source of life for indigenous peoples who have lived here for thousands or years, also source of clothes, food, energy and water all from this place. Today, after 600 years of colonization, we see the fractures in our global supply chains and can sense our life support systems approaching their tipping points. Casco Bay Bioregion is nested within the Gulf of Maine, now famous for being one of the most rapidly warming systems on the planet, second only to the Arctic. Regenerating the health and adapting to the future of this bioregion requires working with the patterns of life that support its thriving as a whole socio-ecological system. Discovering these patterns, its essence, the unique nature will be the focus on this three-day Transformations Lab (T-Lab) Workshop. This is simply a beginning, an opportunity to be together as part of a global Transformations Conference, but our focus is place-based! Our goal is to build relationship and work to discover unique potential, identify and explore new possibilities for collective practice. We will appreciate the innovations already well underway in food, fiber, energy, water, waste, and tourism as well as cycles of death and renewal at multiple scales that provides the basis of patterns of life.

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”

—T.S. Eliot, from “Little Gidding,” Four Quartets (Gardners Books; Main edition, April 30, 2001) Originally published 1943.”

It Can’t Happen Without You!

This is actually an invitation from our seagrass meadows, as they are the true catalysts of change. These little flowering plants are actually the “canaries in the coal mine” and are super heros of ecosystem engineering. They are inviting you to learn more about them (and their families) and to join others who are learning how to sense wider inter-relationships cross systems such as food, fiber, waste and water. Engage with scholars, indigenous leaders, creative artists, philosophers and more in transforming our world toward a more just, equitable and regenerative future.

July 17-19, 2023


With parallel events in Sydney, Australia and Prague, Czech Republic the North American Hub will be held from July 17th–19th at Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment in Freeport, Maine.

You will build relationships with other amazing leaders across a wide range of sectors seeking a new navigation system at a bioregional scale that leverages the digital revolution and inspires stewardship action.

About the Workshop

The North American hub is hosted by Team Zostera and COBALT (Collaborative for Bioregional Action Learning & Transformation). Our major focus is seeing, connecting and accelerating the “green shoots” of transformative change that surround us in the coastal ecosystem of Casco Bay.

This unique gathering will follow the Transformations 2023 Conference in Sydney, Austrailia and the European Hub in Prague, Czech Republic.

Rendering of the Brand New Smith Center for Education and Research at Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment, the location for July’s Bioregional Workshop
Can’t Make It in Person?

No problem, we are planning a free on-line event, that would be two three-hour sessions in late September (27th) and early October (4th) that summarizes the results of this workshop! More on this event to follow!

At the on-line free event on September 27th, experts from around the world in the field of assessment and evaluation will share their insights on how we evaluate the pathways to transformation. On October 4th, Michael Quinn Patton and Glenn Page will guide online participants into a deep dive of the Casco Bay Bioregion in the Gulf of Maine, including the principles of Blue Marble Evaluation and the methods to develop a theory of transformation at a bioregional scale.

While the focus of the online session will be on the Casco Bay Bioregion, the lessons learned will be applicable to other bioregions across the globe!

Explore the Working Groups

The T-Lab/workshop will build from six working groups that have been working together since January 2023 to prepare for the workshop and invite you to help sense, connect and amplify change at a bioregional scale.

Working Groups include:

  • Systems Storytelling
  • Place-Based Regeneration
  • Seagrass Stewardship
  • Bioregional Fibershed
  • Traditional ecological knowledge
  • And more!
Sponsorship Opportunities

You can sponsor the Bioregional Workshop in greater Portland, Maine, USA.

Each sponsorship level features stewarding a healthy seagrass meadow in Portland, Maine, which, according to Project Seagrass, one hectare of seagrass can produce 100,000 liters of oxygen per day and store the equivalent carbon emissions of a small car.

What’s a Bioregion Anyway?

The term bioregion is shorthand for ‘bio-cultural region’ or life-place. It includes the land, water and air, or biosphere, that we live within.

The term bioregion is rooted in the idea that culture evolves from place and develops in relationship to the natural ecosystems we inhabit. It appreciates our collective vast potential for stewardship as well as ecological tipping points, thresholds and limits.

Bioregioning re-connects people with natural systems and each other, enabling deeper understanding of the interdependence between us and our past, present and emerging future.

Your Hosts:

Thank you to our incredible partners for the support in the development of the Transformations 2023 Bioregional Workshop.

Blue Marble Evaluation

Our Presenting Sponsors:

Thank you to our SPONSORS for the support in the development of the Transformations 2023 Bioregional Workshop.

Maine Standard Biofuels
Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment
Portland Paddle