Maine's island and coastal communities pay some of the highest energy costs in the nation, and their location within the fast-warming Gulf of Maine puts them on the leading edge of climate change impacts. The Island Institute's Energy Education and Leadership program employs place-based and experiential projects that equip learners of all ages with action-oriented, technology-infused approaches to learn about energy and tools to save money and reduce carbon emissions at school and at home. Harry and Yvonne will outline the evolution of the program, providing examples of this work in action, and sharing educational resources including ready-to-use lesson plans and project ideas. These resources are relevant to coastal and inland educators alike.
At the time of this broadcast Yvonne Thomas was a K-12 educator with 25 years of experience working on Maine islands, as the K-12 school counselor, health teacher and leadership/admin team member in both the largest and smallest of Maine’s unbridged island schools. In 2015, she joined the Island Institute as the Education Director, working closely with Maine’s 13 island schools, remote coastal schools, partner organizations and higher education institutions. She helps develop networks and implement education programs through collaboration that support the unique challenges and opportunities that these schools have. The Island Institute’s Education Program takes a place-based and experiential education approach, often with a focus on the marine environment, and increasingly, emphasizing adaptation to climate change. Yvonne received a BA in Fine Arts and Psychology from Connecticut College in 1987 and an MA in Expressive Therapy from Lesley University in 1993. She holds Maine Department of Education school counselor and assistant principal certifications. She lives on the island of Vinalhaven with her family.
At the time of this broadcast Harry Podolsky had joined the Island Institute as a Community Energy Associate. He assisted the Gulf of Maine’s year round islands and remote coastal communities in implementing numerous programs focused on energy efficiency upgrades, education, and community owned renewable energy. Harry holds a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies with Minors in Natural Resources and Science of Earth Systems from Cornell University. Prior to joining the Institute he was conducting field research on land restoration and native tree propagation on the island of Hawai’i. He grew up in Rockport, Maine, and is an avid sailor and climber in Penobscot Bay.