1. What is included if I sign up for the entire “Bioregional Learning Journey”?

You will be joining a team (max. 30 people) for an unforgettable set of experiences across the bioregion, meeting a wide range of leaders in food systems, ecological restoration, wastewater engineering, estuarine ecology, social justice etc. The price includes all events and the facilitation/curation needed to work together as a team.

Participants in the Learning Journey must attend the orientation starting on Monday August 8th at 12:00 noon at SMCC Campus and the Learning Journey event will end on Friday August 12th at 5:00 pm.

The meals that are included in the price are the following: dinner on Monday and lunch on Tuesday – Friday. Other meals will be “on your own”, likely coordinated with other members of the Learning Journey Team.

Other costs included are transport to Freeport from SMCC on Tuesday morning and returning to SMCC Tuesday evening after Zostera Palooza. Other transport needs will be supported if possible.

Overnight accommodations ARE NOT included in the price – but a limited number of rooms are available for Monday – Thursday at the beautiful Spring Point Inn on the SMCC Campus. Please contact us for more details and hurry as these rooms will book fast.

2. Can I just attend the events on Monday and Friday?

YES, there is a special ticket for attending just Monday and Friday. Monday’s event (August 8, 3:30-8 pm) will feature the launch of Team Zostera and the Learning Journey and includes a special dinner called “Taste of the Bioregion” with Chef and National Geographic Explorer Barton Seaver.

Friday’s event will feature a celebration of the Learning Journey, reflections on lessons learned and the co-creation of a special lunch menu that will be made with help from all participants to co-create a bioregional feast with local Chefs. Purchasing a ticket to these two events (Monday and Friday) gives you a seat at the launch of Team Zostera, a celebration of the Learning Journey and on Friday to actually work with local Chefs to prepare a rather remarkable bioregional feast.

3. How will you launch “Team Zostera” ?

On Monday August 8th, we will officially announce the launch of “Team Zostera” at Southern Maine Community College , as part of the afternoon event and reception (2:30-6:30 pm). This is a long term community monitoring, mapping, restoration and awareness raising initiative to underscore the importance of seagrass habitats in Casco Bay, Gulf of Maine and the rest of the world. Also, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the Learning Journey team will host three Zostera Palooza events that fully describes the plan for the launch in Casco Bay (Tuesday night August 9), shares lessons learned from similar efforts in the wider Gulf of Maine and similar efforts going on across the globe (Thursday August 11).

During the launch events, we will take people on a virtual deep dive into the lush seagrass meadows of Casco Bay. There is something truly magical about seagrasses: they are the only plants that flower fully submerged in salt water. They have all the necessary features of a terrestrial flowering plant—roots, stems, rhizomes, leaves, flowers, seeds—and what is truly astounding is that they thrive in under-water marine environments. Seagrasses like Zostera marina (L.) are like engineers of ecosystem health. They form meadows along coastlines creating some of the most biodiverse areas in the ocean, indeed in Casco Bay you could see seahorses, bay scallops and sea turtles.

4. How can we help sponsor or contribute to this event?

We are very eager to add sponsors to the event. Please contact us with a simple note of interest in sponsoring including the amount. We will follow-up with you as your support will both support the development of team Zostera and help support participants in the Learning Journey to create a more diverse and meaningful experience (see below).

5. Do you provide discounts for the FULL Learning Journey experience?

Yes, if you seek a discount of the Learning Journey please contact us. Our goal is to add different perspectives and include people from across the Gulf of Maine who are specifically interested in stewardship action and create a Learning Journey that is diverse, inspiring and meaningful for all involved. We are also looking for people interested in sponsoring support for Learning Journey participants (see above).

6. Is overnight accomodation included?

Overnight accommodations ARE NOT included in the price – but a limited number of rooms are available for Monday – Thursday at the beautiful Spring Point Inn on the SMCC Campus. Please contact us for more details and hurry as these rooms will book fast.

7. What is COBALT?

COBALT is the Collaborative for Bioregional Action Learning & Transformation. This is a global group focused on developing pathways for a more just, equitable and regenerative future on our planet in the face of massive social and ecological change. We have been organizing Learning Journeys in other parts of the globe including Iceland, Scotland, England, Costa Rica, Ghana, Peru and Ecuador. Our philosophy and reason for being is well defined in the recent 2021 Nobel conference keynote paper Our future in the Anthropocene biosphere (Folke, C., Polasky, S., Rockström, J. et al. Our future in the Anthropocene biosphere. Ambio 50, 834–869 2021). While this is rather detailed paper, it fully describes why a Learning Journey such as this is so timely and who community science/stewardship efforts like Team Zostera are so critical. For more information on COBALT please contact us.

8. How do I learn more?

To learn more about Team Zostera, here is a Story Map that provides significant background materials and describes a bit more about this amazing ecosystem and why stewardship is so important here in Casco Bay. To learn more about Learning Journeys, here’s a brief 4 minute video that tells the story of the five day learning journey that COBALT co-led in South Devon UK in September 2019 with the Bioregional Learning Center. To learn more about the Blue Economy and the rise of Blue-tech Clusters, here is a Story Map focused on the Americas – the other on the many countries across the Northern Arc of the North Atlantic. To learn more about a recent COBALT Learning Journey to Iceland, check back here in a few days as we will be releasing a brand new video that offers a deep dive into a Learning Journey into the Westfjords produced by our storytelling partners at MS Storyworks.

Join Us In August

This is the 50th Anniversary of “The Year that Changed Maine” which includes the passing of the landmark Clean Water Act. Come join us as we appreciate the past, recognize the urgency/opportunities of the present and learn how to navigate together into the future of the Casco Bay Bioregion. We plan to host this event every year, AND, this kickoff event in August 2022 is SPECIAL! This event will likely sell-out so please book soon!