Poland Spring is about a lot more than bottled water. Yes, they have three bottling plants in Poland Spring, Hollis, and Kingfield and employ 800 Mainers full-time or seasonally in places where jobs are hard to come by, with a $42 million annual payroll. And they’ve invested over $500 million here since 2000. They also spend $60 million each year with other Maine companies.
But what I most admire – and appreciate – is the $6 million that Poland Spring has contributed to conservation and community since 2000, supporting schools, fire and rescue services, environmental conservation and lots of causes from the local to the state level.
When I worked for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, Poland Spring became one of our corporate sponsors, and when I left SAM to write full time, they became a sponsor of my website, which I appreciate. But I also have to tell you that they did not ask me to write this column. In fact, they have never asked me to do anything for them. The only project I’ve gotten involved in with Poland Spring was the fish hatchery that came with property they purchased in the Kingfield area. I encouraged DIF&W to make use of that hatchery and they have.
This year Poland Spring has named one of my favorite programs, the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program, as its 2016 Natural Leader Award recipient. The award is given biannually to a local organization in recognition of their commitment to make Maine a better place to live and work. Representatives from the VLMP accepted the award at a luncheon held on August 31, 2016 at the Poland Spring Museum for Poland Spring Good Neighbor Grant recipients.
Tom Brennan, Poland Spring’s Natural Resource Manager, presented the award to Maine VLMP Executive Director Scott Williams, who was joined by the organization’s environmental educator and Invasive Aquatic Species program coordinator, Roberta Hill, and other staff and volunteers.
“The Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program helps sustain Maine’s pristine lakes through ongoing water quality monitoring and management,” noted Brennan. “What they do each and every day in communities across the state is imperative for protecting Maine’s bodies of water.”
More than 1400 volunteers participate in this critically important program focused on keeping our lakes healthy. The program trains, certifies and provides technical support to volunteers who monitor a wide range of indicators of water quality, assess watershed health and function, and screen lakes for invasive aquatic plants and animals. In addition to being the primary source of lake data for the state, VLMP volunteers benefit their local lakes by playing key stewardship and leadership roles in their communities.
Natural Leader Award recipients are chosen from among many worthy projects and causes supported by Poland Spring’s Good Neighbor Grants funding, such as water and environmental stewardship, health/wellness and education initiatives, and critical community infrastructure developments. Previous recipients of the Natural Leader Award include the Saco River Recreational Council, Gulf of Maine Research Institute, The Ecology School and Lynne Richard, Maine’s coordinator for Project WET.
“We all have a role in protecting Maine’s lakes and we are fortunate to have the VLMP and its army of volunteers taking on this important work,” said Brennan. “This organization truly embodies the core of Poland Spring’s commitment to caring for the environment and acting as good stewards of our state’s most precious natural resource: water.”
Other Good Neighbors
In 2015, Poland Spring generously supported 60 important Maine projects, programs, and groups, including the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, a group in which I’ve been active since 1977. In addition to that, they donated half-a-million bottles of water through their water donation program.
I encourage you to read this list and consider how important each and every one on the list is to our state, our outdoor heritage, and our communities. I was especially delighted to see Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield on the list. Linda and I have written a lot about this place in our Travelin’ Maine(rs) weekly travel column. We think it’s the best place to listen to music in the state. And from the Norway/Paris Fish and Game Association to Pine Tree Camp, I recognized many groups, projects and programs that I admire. I’ll bet you will too.
If you want more information about the Good Neighbor program, contact Heather Printup, Community Relations Manager (Heather.firstname.lastname@example.org).
$75,000 – $150,000
Gulf of Maine Research Institute
$25,000 – $50,000
The Ecology School
$10,000 – $24,000
Poland Spring Preservation Society
Poland Spring Good Science Scholarships
Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine
Denmark Public Library
$5,000 – $9,000
Bicycle Coalition of Maine
The Nature Conservancy
Maine Audubon Society
Denmark Charitable Foundation
C.A. Snow School Portable Classrooms
Camp Susan Curtis
MSAD72/University of Maine – Bryant Pond 4-H Camp
Fryeburg Community Giving Tree
Maine Appalachian Trail Club
Fryeburg Fire Department
Brownfield Lions Club
Fryeburg Rescue Association
Saco River Recreational Council
Town of Denmark
$1,000 – $4,000
Crystal Lake Ice Fishing Derby
Poland Community Food Bank
Poland Fire Rescue Department Benevolent Association
Maine State Chamber: Scramble for Scholars
MANNAFED Backpack Program
Maine Cancer Foundation: Sugarloaf Charity Summit
Kingfield Methodist Church Heating Assistance Fund
LifeSprings Senior Group
Maine Volunteer Lakes Monitoring Program
Eastern Maine Medical Center – Champion the Cure Challenge
Thompson Lake Environmental Association
Maine Parent-Teacher Backpack Program
Dallas Plantation Town Hall Improvements
Lovell Pond Association
Town of Fryeburg Winter Wellness Fund
Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice House
West Oxford Agricultural Society
Stone Mountain Arts Center
Food Rescue of York County
Good Neighbors Inc.: Great Adventure Challenge
$100 – $900
Androscoggin River Watershed Council
Believe in Books Literacy Foundation
Scarborough Boys Lacrosse Boosters
Androscoggin Chamber of Commerce
Norway/Paris Fish and Game Association
Golf for Food
Oxford Hills High School Golf Tournament
Patriot 5K Road Race
Relay for Life
Oak Hill High School Boosters
Pine Tree Camp
Weston’s Farm Community Dinner
Maine Tree Foundation
Saco River Theatre
Ryan Michael’s Colson Cares Foundation
Harvest Hills Animal Shelter
Soldier’s Memorial Library
Valley Pride Day
Bridgton Four on the Fourth
Fryeburg Area Rotary Charities
“THE CAP” Memorial Gold Tournament
Town of St. Alban’s Fireworks
Camp North Woods Law