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Maine Rivers executive director to speak at UMFK

March 26, 2004


As part of the environmental spring speaker series, the University of Maine at Fort Kent will host a presentation by Maine Rivers. The presentation will take place on Thursday, April 8 at 6:00 p.m. in the Nadeau Hall Teleconference room.

Naomi Schalit, executive director of Maine Rivers will give a talk entitled "The role of alewives in the Gulf of Maine and Maine's River Systems".

Alewives may not be what most of us conjure up when we first think of Maine. That's because, as once was the case with loons and bald eagles, Maine's historically thriving population of alewives has plummeted during the last two centuries, victims of polluted and dammed rivers, and of over harvesting.

Scientists report that prior to Europeans settling this region, there was more than likely not a stream from one end of the state to the other, and along the entire Gulf of Maine for that matter, that didn't have an annual alewife migration, their silvery bodies crammed bank to bank on their springtime spawning runs.

The presentation, with slides, includes vintage photographs from the well-known Damariscotta Mills alewife run, as well as contemporary, underwater photographs from National Geographic photographer Bill Curtsinger. There will be time for questions and discussions after the presentation.

Schalit is a cum laude graduate of Princeton University, where she majored in Religion and Near Eastern Studies, and edited the acclaimed journal The Nassau Literary Review.

For twenty years, she practiced journalism, writing for newspapers and magazines across the country. Since coming to Maine in 1993, she has worked for the Maine Times and spent five years as a reporter and producer for Maine Public Radio.

At MPR, she concentrated on environmental and public interest reporting, and won many awards for her work, which was also featured on National Public Radio's news programs, as well as their environmental program, Living on Earth.

In April of 2003, Schalit became the first executive director of Maine Rivers, a statewide conservation group whose mission is to protect, restore and enhance Maine's river systems.

The presentation is being made possible through a grant awarded to Maine Rivers, from the Gulf of Maine Council on Marine Environment, to conduct educational sessions across the state on the role of alewives.

The workshop is free and open to the community. For more information call Kim Borges at 834-7612.