This Year’s Journey

We all need healthy food, reliable sources of energy, efficient and affordable transportation, clean water, and access to health care. A Learning Journey explores remarkable innovations, breakthroughs as well as barriers and roadblocks.

Join us and learn how to see together to connect and accelerate positive change.

Casco Bay Learning Journey


THINK DIVERSITY:  for an effective Learning Journey, we begin with a diversity of perspectives, professions, ages, ethnicity, disciplines, sectors. The power of a Learning Journey is to learn how to see through the eyes of another and that is best accomplished through diversity – so join us and bring your perspective but be prepared to learn how to see through the eyes of others!


Monday’s and Friday’s events will be based at Southern Maine Community College. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday will be the expedition portion of the Learning Journey and will feature a range of locations in the Casco Bay Bioregion – such as the brand new New England Ocean Cluster, the new home of Bristol Seafood, the Osher Map Library at University of Souther Maine, the East End Wastewater Treatment Facility, and demonstrations of regenerative agriculture at Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment.


The entire Learning Journey will start at 12:00 noon on Monday August 8th and end at 5:00pm on Friday August 12th 2022. For those just attending the Kick-off Taste of the Bioregion, it begins on Monday at 2:30pm and will end at 8:00pm. The Friday closing event “Co-Create a Bioregional Feast” will commence at 10:00 am and conclude by 3:00 pm.

People outdoors at a table eating lobsters at sunset

Program At A Glance

Five days of complete immersion within the Casco Bay bioregion, from the land, to the waterfront and the ocean, will lead to many questions, discussions, and reflections.

  1. DAY ONE: Kick Off – Taste of the Bioregion
    Welcome to Casco Bay! For those joining the full Learning Journey, this day will be for orientation, meet your team, and prepare for the journey. This day features the “Taste of the Bioregion” ~ an unforgettable meal that serves as a journey across the Bioregion.
  2. DAY TWO: Land-based Food Systems
    This will be the launch and we will visit community initiatives and deeply connect with policy initiatives to increase local food production.
  3. DAY THREE: Where the Land Meets the Sea
    On this magnificent day, we will explore issues such as vibrant working waterfronts, to “foodie hubs” with special focus on innovations and facilities that central to the land/water interface.
  4. DAY FOUR: Ocean-based Food Systems
    Deep dive into ocean/coastal based food systems, we will be thinking about the dramatically changing water quality of Casco Bay and the implications for ecological aquaculture and the seafood/lobster industry. This day features an exploratory ferry journey across Casco Bay.
  5. DAY FIVE: Co-create a Bioregional Feast
    Conclude the journey with a reflective day of what was learned, inspiration and commitment for action, and work alongside local Chefs for the co-creation of a truly amazing feast.

Kick Off

Get to know the Casco Bay bioregion that will welcome and challenge you for the next few days!

Welcome with Sacred Blessing

We will begin with a reflection of the indigenous past, present, and future followed by a sacred blessing. The learning journey will continue to be guided by Indigenous & Western knowledge systems.


Meet the team you will be working with over the coming days, consider the questions we will be asking and other important information as part of a detailed orientation.

Taste of the Bioregion

Come prepared for a journey from the top of Mount Washington down through Sebago Lake, past Portland and into the Gulf of Maine, Past Cashe’s Ledge and then through the Northeast Channel and over the Continental shelf and into the deep ocean. Chef Barton Seaver will share with us a Transect-Tasting menu of the Bioregion.

Land-Based Food Systems

While Casco Bay is well-known for its aquatic systems, land-based food systems are equally important for the region and its residents.

Local Innovation

We will visit a number of community-led initiatives that are seeking to provide organic, locally-grown produce to residents, while also addressing complex issues such as climate change, food waste, and hunger.

Zostera Palooza I: Casco Bay

Tonight will mark the first of two evening sessions designed to look at the importance of maintaining the health of seagrass meadows for the overall health of the Casco Bay bioregion. It will be hosted at the Osher Map Library at the University of Southern Maine with a focus on the Gulf of Maine.

Where the Land Meets the Sea

Today we will begin to look at what happens between the land and the ocean, at the waterfront.

Waterfront Initiatives

Whether it is a commercial business or a public facility, we will visit a series of important spaces that are crucial to the maintenance of the waterfront. This will include an outdoor Working Waterfront tour.

New England Ocean Cluster

The conclusion of this amazing day will be a reception at the “Hús” which is the name of the spectacular New England Ocean Cluster. Participants will meet a wide range of social entrepreneurs, all with focus on transforming the “Blue Economy”. We will taste local foods including the signature Monkfish Stew that is a specialty of the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association.

Ocean-Based Food Systems

With a focus on the aquatic ecosystems, today we will explore how we are harvesting and growing food from the coast and ocean. We will deeply consider the politics, the engineering, the social license and warming nature of the Gulf of Maine and consider what is happening under the surface.

Seeing the Seafood

We will start the day by visiting Bristol Seafood as well as renowned seafood restaurants and businesses to taste and learn. We will cross Casco Bay and lush seagrass meadows via Ferry and return back to the New England Ocean Cluster for a Taste of the Blue Economy.

Zostera Palooza II: Gulf of Maine and the Wider World

Tonight will feature the second of two Zostera Palooza sessions that will focus on the importance of community science efforts, both locally and globally. We will examine Community Science activities in the wider Gulf of Maine as well as initiatives in Ireland, Denmark, British Columbia, and Chesapeake Bay. This event will be held at Southern Maine Community College.

Co-Creating a Bioregional Feast

Following five days of learning, participating, and immersion, we will regroup and share our observations from the week and consider potential pathways for ecosystem change.

Team Reflection

Sharing stories, lessons learned, and memorable moments from the journey we will meet together and navigate the complex systems observed to better understand our own personal and collective commitment to stewardship action and periodic reflection.

Signature Meal

In partnership with a renowned chef, teams will develop a signature meal, inspired by their experience and using only local bioregional ingredients, that will be shared and enjoyed by everyone.

A bowl of steamed clams and salad


For journey participants coming from out of the bioregion, a number of flexible accommodation options are available.

McKernan Center’s Spring Point Inn

There will be a few hotel suites for Learning Journey participants at Spring Point Inn. Rooms have spectacular waterfront views and will be on a first come first served basis, please contact us to reserve.

Local Hotels

There are a number of local hotels nearby the SMCC campus which will need to be booked independently.

SMCC meeting room

Southern Maine Community College (SMCC)

The SMCC will be our hosting venue for the learning journey and it will be where the journey both starts and finishes. SMCC has an auditorium for the orientation and fully-equipped commercial kitchens for the creation of the Story of Meal.

Taste of the Casco Bay Bioregion
Monday, Aug. 8 (3:30-8PM)

Co-creating a Bioregional Feast with Barton Seaver Friday, Aug. 12 (10-3PM)
for both events

Work alongside local chefs to co-create a bioregional feast while learning about the importance of local food systems.

LIMITED Tickets Remaining!

Both Special Events

3 Day Learning Journey
Monday – Friday, Aug. 8-12
for the week

Complete Learning Journey experience.
Includes access to Taste (Monday) and the Bioregional Feast (Friday), plus the three day Casco Bay Learning Journey.


This learning journey is being organized principally by COBALT (Collaborative for Bioregional Action Learning and Transformation) and its core partners.

Glenn Page
SustainaMetrix and COBALT

Glenn is an interdisciplinary conservation scientist and practitioner with almost 30 years of program development experience building coastal and marine ecosystem stewardship.

Alexandra Doudera
Founder & Executive Director, Saltwater Classroom

Alexandra is the founder of Saltwater Classroom, an innovative approach to ocean education driven by hands-on workshops and a collaborative mobile phone/tablet application.

Mike Conathan
Senior Policy Fellow on Ocean and Climate with Aspen’s Energy & Environment Program.

Mike is a Senior Policy Fellow, Ocean and Climate with Aspen’s Energy & Environment Program, and previously served as the Executive Director of the Aspen High Seas Initiative.

Barton Seaver President/CEO
World Class Chef

Barton is one of the world’s leading sustainable seafood experts and educators. Before leaving the restaurant industry to pursue his interests in sustainable food systems, he was an award-winning chef leading top seafood restaurants in Washington, DC.

Join us in August

The most effective learning journeys begin with good questions, some of which are unanswerable in the short term and lead to better questions.  Often we end up with far more questions than answers! If we are truly successful, this may even feature some “unlearning” of what we thought we knew about ourselves and our place in this beautiful world.