BAR HARBOR — Four pillars of the Maine economy – blueberries, tourism, working waterfronts and land conservation – will be explored in-depth with a series of lectures and presentations at College of the Atlantic’s Best of Acadia: Back to College week, co-hosted by Acadia Senior College July 10-14.
Best of Acadia week begins on Monday, July 10, at 9 a.m. with Land and Garden Preserve Chief Executive Officer Rodney Eason presenting “The Epic Journey of How the Land & Garden Preserve Came To Be.” Eason will explain how the Asticou Azalea Garden, Thuya Garden, Little Long Pond and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden are becoming connected as one organization for current and future generations to enjoy.
At 5 p.m. on July 10, Elliotsville Plantation Inc. (EPI) President Lucas St. Clair will present “The Creation of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.” In 2011, St. Clair took over EPI, his family’s operating foundation. The foundation had been accumulating tens of thousands of acres of timberland in Northern and central Maine, and in 2016, gave 89,000 to the federal government to create the newest unit of the National Park Service, Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. The presentation will be followed by a reception in The Turrets.
Best of Acadia joins COA’s Coffee and Conversation series on Tuesday, July 11, at 9 a.m. for a look into “Civic Engagement in Maine” with Ann Luther, treasurer and advocacy chair of the League of Women Voters of Maine, and COA James Russell Wiggins Chair in Government and Polity Jamie McKown.
On July 12, at 9 a.m., David Yarborough, University of Maine professor and extension blueberry specialist, will present “A Sweet Story: Maine’s Wild Blueberry Industry.” Yarborough will share the story of Maine’s noble, agricultural heritage symbol, from its first uses by Native Americans to one of the state’s largest commercial crops.
Maine Sea Grant Marine Extension Associate Natalie Springuel will present “MDI’s Working Waterfront, Then and Now” on Thursday, July 13, at 9 a.m. Springuel will provide perspective on some of the complex issues and trends of Maine’s commercial fishing and marine industries, which contribute more than $800 million annually to the state’s economy and employ about 30,000 people.
Representatives of Acadia National Park and the local business community will gather on Friday, July 14, at 9 a.m. for a forum entitled, “The Local Effect: Is Tourism Taking a Toll on Our Community?” Island Housing Trust Executive Director Alison Beane, Acadia National Park Planner John Kelly, Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Martha Searchfield, Bar Harbor Parking Solutions Task Force member and hotelier Dick Cough and Bar Harbor Cruise Ship Committee member and Mount Desert Island director of operations for Ocean Properties hotels Eben Salvatore will grapple with the questions “How much is too much?” and “Are we an island in the sun or a sunken treasure?” Mount Desert Islander Editor Earl Brechlin will moderate the discussion.
Best of Acadia wraps up on Friday, July 14, with a sunset cruise on Sea Princess leaving the Northeast Harbor Town Pier at 6 p.m. Seating for this event is limited. Attendees are encouraged to sign up early.
“Our series is a fun, educational way to get together and focus on the enriching people and places of our region. It’s all about learning something new and bringing out the best of Acadia,” said Laura Johnson, College of the Atlantic Summer Programs director.
A $60 pass includes four morning talks, admittance to a gathering with Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument creator Lucas St. Clair, a sunset cruise on Sea Princess and a panel with Acadia National Park and lodging and business representatives examining the local impacts of the tourism industry.
Weekly passes are available through Acadia Senior College by calling 288-9500.
All talks in the Best of Acadia series will take place at the Thomas S. Gates Jr. Community Center. Visit coa.edu/summerprograms.