For the second straight year, Maine Audubon joined forces with the Maine College of Art (MECA) to help teach a class on grant writing. Under the tutelage of Professor Bob Jenkins, students learned about the importance of developing an idea and pitching it to a foundation for funding. Once again, Maine Audubon was used as a content partner for the students, who worked in groups to create faux grant applications addressing our real work.
We had a blast as the MECA students had their full creativity on display. Throughout the semester, Maine Audubon’s Nick Lund visited with and talked with the students about Maine Audubon’s work and their ideas. Students toured our Gilsland Farm center to speak with other program staff and see our grounds. The class culminated in the teams presenting their grant ideas for judging in front of a panel of MECA staff.
Each team tackled a different aspect of Maine Audubon’s work. Team Live Stream (Richard Takita, Jenna Zammett, Opel Morris, Seth Baron, Imani Jones) focused on helping Maine Audubon improve our social media presence by developing a series of online livestreams, including tiny cameras that fit into bird houses.
The Bringing Nature Home team (Chloe Adams, Taylor Mastrio, John Costello, Blake Walther, Sophia Lengle) helped flesh out a potential future for our native plant work, encouraging Portland companies to landscape with native plants and the City of Portland to replant the green space along Franklin Street with native trees, bushes, and ground cover.
Building upgrades were the focus of the Audubon Restoration Team (Shea Quinn, Naomi Russo, Troy Kallis, Joshua Lightbourne, Jessica Silvia, Andrew
Jackson), who proposed updates and renovations to our Gilsland Farm Headquarters. While our headquarters was the vanguard of environmental construction when it was built in the 1970s and remains a model of efficiency, the team proposed roof renovations to aid in heating and cooling and additional solar panels to bring us to 100% on-site energy.
The team judged to be the winners was The Bean Team (Regan King, Corey Boynton, April Azutillo, Calea Roy). These students chose to work on our Maine Bird Atlas project, and developed a grant designed to make the Atlas more accessible to non-birders. The result was Nestr, a fake bird dating app with profile pictures and sample tweets for each species. The Bean Team developed created an amazing prototype brochure complete with illustrated “sexy selfies” for certain species and “tweets from single birdies in your area,” including this one for the Piping Plover:
I like long runs on the beach and sharing marine worms over a nice sunset during high tide. Not to flex, but I also have kicked plenty of shells and pebbles to make a home. HMU.
And this one for the Ruby-throated Hummingbird:
I can take you to one of my houses around the Gulf of Mexico if you want to get away in the winter. Or maybe you want to go to the tip of Florida? Or my nest in Vermont? It’s up to you, tweetie <3
So great. Maine Audubon thanks Professor Jenkins, all the students, and the Maine College of Art for working with us again, and we hope to join this class for years to come. Nestr cover art by April Azutillo (@https_aj on Instragram)