Poland Spring Supports Conservation and Community

Poland SpringPoland 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.printup@waters.nestle.com).

$75,000 – $150,000

Gulf of Maine Research Institute

LabVenture! Program

$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

Treadwell Racing

Poland Fire Rescue Department Benevolent Association

Maine Envirothon

Maine State Chamber: Scramble for Scholars

MANNAFED Backpack Program

Kingfield POPS

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

Sanford Mainers

Interstate Snogoers

Webster Library

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

Kingfield Sno-Wanderers

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

Graustien Park

Fryeburg Academy

Legislative Memorial

“THE CAP” Memorial Gold Tournament

Town of St. Alban’s Fireworks

Cugno Boxing

Lobster Bowl

Camp North Woods Law

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.