Although Gary Fish of Wayne, Maine, lives many miles from the shores of Casco Bay, he has worked to make it a healthier place for marine life and for the people who live around it. For over a decade, he has taught homeowners, gardeners, and landscapers how to “grow green lawns that keep Casco Bay blue.” Fish is the manager of pesticide certification and reduction programs for the Maine Board of Pesticides Control. Along with Friends of Casco Bay, he helped to launch BayScaping, a program to reduce the escalating residential use of fertilizers and pesticides. Water quality testing by Friends of Casco Bay conclusively demonstrated that pesticides and fertilizers were flowing into our coastal waters. Together, Maine Board of Pesticides Control and Friends of Casco Bay developed educational materials and outreach campaigns to convince homeowners and lawn care professionals to reduce their use of toxic lawn chemicals. Through Fish’s efforts, this BayScaping partnership has since expanded into a statewide collaboration called YardScaping.
In recognition of his commitment to protecting the environmental health of the Bay, Friends of Casco Bay gave Gary Fish its 2008 Friend of Casco Bay Award on October 29th. In presenting the award, Friends of Casco Bay Executive Director Cathy Ramsdell applauded his dedication by humorously introducing him as the “Apostle of Pesticide Prevention.” In accepting the award, Fish said he was just a catalyst of change and referred to the many partners in YardScaping, including Friends of Casco Bay.
Friends of Casco Bay/Casco BAYKEEPER® works to improve and protect the environmental health of Casco Bay through advocacy, education, water quality monitoring, and collaborative partnerships. The award presentation was made at its Annual Meeting and Volunteer Appreciation event.