In My Words, Maggie Cozens, Southern Maine Outreach Coordinator
Earlier in 2022, Maine Coast Heritage Trust welcomed two dedicated outreach specialists to the Stewardship Department who will be leading outings, managing MCHT programs, and partnering with other organizations to connect people to the land. Welcome, Maggie (and Renee)!
Will you share a little bit about your background? Where are you from?
I grew up in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and moved to North Carolina when I was a teenager. I got my undergraduate degree at Appalachian State University and did a year with AmeriCorps in Connecticut at New England Science and Sailing. My BA is in global studies and Spanish, but I focused on environmental issues. During my undergraduate years I participated in a transatlantic crossing with the Sea Education Association; that’s where I solidified my love for the environmental sciences.
For graduate school, I returned to North Carolina and received an M.S. in Environmental Science at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Most recently I’ve been working as the education coordinator at a nature preserve in southwestern Connecticut.
What’s your connection to Maine?
I grew up in New England but hadn’t been to Maine—my interview at Woodward Point in March was first time I’d ever been here! My dad always talked about it like it was this magical place, and I’ve found that to be absolutely true. Everywhere you look there’s a place of staggering beauty.
What made you know this was the job for you?
Connecting people and place is something that’s always interested me, and I think it’s at the heart of addressing environmental and societal issues. It required boating experience and outreach experience, which I have, and it was open enough for me to bring a vision to it.
“Everywhere you look there’s a place of staggering beauty.”
What excites you most about the position?
I’m excited to work with people who might not have opportunities to get out on the land or the water otherwise, and to help them develop a relationship with the place they live. I’m also excited to bring more voices to the conversation—and, of course, I’m looking forward to spending lots of time outside!
Do you have experience working with people who have had limited outdoor experiences? Or ones that are different from the kinds of experiences typically offered by Maine land trusts on conserved lands?
Yes, while working in New London, CT, a big part of my job was getting school kids outdoors and facilitating their exposure to outdoor spaces. My students lived in a coastal city, but since so much of the Connecticut coastline is private property, they did not have access to the ocean. It’s really exciting time to be joining MCHT, but everyone has a lot to learn, including myself.
What’s on your work plan?
I’m working with my counterpart on MDI, Renee Duncan, to develop MCHT’s volunteer system. I’ll also take over The Richard G. Rockefeller Conservation Internship Program. I’ll be maintaining relationships MCHT land stewards have cultivated over the years and reaching out to new people and places to see how we can be of service. Where can we provide support or facilitate programming? I’ll also be leading community events—nature walks, guided hikes, paddles on preserves. My area of focus is Southern Maine through the Midcoast.
“In some ways, every time I work with a different age group it becomes my favorite.”
Are there particular age groups you enjoy working with?
In some ways, every time I work with a different age group it becomes my favorite. But I think there’s something special about middle schoolers. They’re so funny and still so curious—they ask the best questions. I think time outside in greenspaces really makes a big difference at that time in life. They’re absorbing so much information and undergoing so many changes. I also really like working with older adults. They have such a wide range of experience to draw on and appreciate meaningful outdoor experiences in a different way.
What’s your favorite kind of place to bring people to?
I’ve done a lot of environmental education in salt marshes, and I think they’re really special. In graduate school I did salt marsh research. We were studying the predatory nature of snails on the grass, as well as marsh migration and erosion.
Every time you go out into salt marsh it’s a completely different landscape because of the tide. You’re never in the same place twice. And there’s so much wildlife. They’re a wonderful place to bring kids, because there’s so much to teach and point out to them. I’m really excited to bring people to Cousins River in Yarmouth, which MCHT will conserve and open to the public later this year.
What’s it like living in Maine so far?
I love it! I have been doing lots of exploring on my free time, going paddling, and spending time hiking in the woods. There are so many places I can’t wait to see.
More Stories from the Coast
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MCHT has been engaging in “natural climate solutions” for over fifty years, which is a critical component of the multi-faceted approach we must take to slow the rate of climate change and mitigate its impacts.
Enock Glidden is helping Maine land trusts make their trails more accessible.
“Writing the Land is an attempt to honor nature and our relationship with it in a way that is as equitable and transparent as it is deep and entangled. We intend to be as inclusive—to humans and places—as we hope the mantle of protection that land trusts offer can be.”
Zhenya Mikha spends formative years on the Teen Ag Crew at Erickson Fields, fostering an interest in conservation and studying ecology and psychology.