Women in Science talk
Dec. 12, 6:30–7:30 p.m.
Community Room, South Portland Library, 482 Broadway, South Portland
Early in her career, Samantha Horn, the new director of science for the Maine chapter of The Nature Conservancy, spent some time chasing owls. She was a preserve caretaker at the McCloud River Preserve at Mt. Shasta in California. It was 1992 and the debate over protecting the spotted owl was at a fever pitch, with loggers at war with environmentalists.
It was Horn’s job to track the spotted owls, staying up all night to observe their movements and count them, but she was warned by others not to advertise that. Don’t use your real name on the walkie talkie, use a code for your location and whatever you do, don’t look at the guys coming out of the woods on dirt bikes, who are most likely pot farmers who don’t want to be identified. “I realized how extreme the conflict was that there were these folks that felt very strongly that having protection for spotted owls was going to affect their livelihood,” Horn remembers. “I thought, this is nuts.”
The human conflict was the driving force of a conservation effort, Horn realized. When she arrived at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to get a master’s degree in wildlife and fisheries conservation, it was that topic Horn wanted to study: human dimensions. Namely how human beings make decisions around natural resources and how to make those decisions more durable.
Her work included studying a Georgia paper company’s environmental partnerships and giving the company feedback about what was working and what wasn’t. She came to Maine in 1999 to work with the state’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “I ran the moose hunt lottery,” she says. Then it was on to the Department of Marine Resources to work as its aquaculture policy coordinator. Horn was most recently the acting executive director of Maine’s Land Use Planning Commission. She worked for that body and its predecessor, the Land Use Regulation Commission, for almost 11 years, before joining TNC.
This month she’s part of a panel of women from the conservation group discussing women in the sciences at the South Portland Library. Has it gotten easier to break in? “It certainly has changed,” Horn says. “It used to be that it was a real struggle. We as women now are much more able to participate fully in the profession.”
In her new role, Horn is looking forward to once again getting out in the field—without having to speak in code—at The Nature Conservancy’s many Maine preserves. She’ll also focus on climate change mitigation. “I see some opportunities, especially as the Governor’s Climate Council is ramping up, they’re going to need some support.”
Networking and Mentorships
Dec. 4, 2 p.m.
Elks, 1945 Congress St., Portland
Million Women Mentors is a national group that aims to advance women and girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) through mentorships. It’s Maine chapter started up two years ago, led by Catherine Lamson, the chief accounting officer for the Maine Employers’ Mutual Insurance Company. Learn more at this networking event.
Screening and tasting
Dec. 4, 4:30–7 p.m.
MECA’s Osher Hall, 522 Congress St., Portland
Gather for videos of immigrant women making treasured recipes, followed by a tasting. $10 benefits In Her Presence, the nonprofit that advocates for women from minority communities in Maine.
Dec. 5, 7:30–9 p.m.
Kresge Auditorium, Bowdoin’s Visual Arts Center, Brunswick
The famed historian, New Yorker writer and Harvard professor will be at Bowdoin College talking about her one-volume history, These Truths: A History of the United States. The 932-page book has been called “sweeping” but also “readable.” (Free and open to the public)
It’s not just Christmas, it’s Little Women day. Director Greta Gerwig is the 8th director to take on the Louisa May Alcott classic about the March girls, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy and the movie opens wide today. Our hunch is that this might be the most modern and feminist version yet. Round up the women, little or otherwise, in your life and hit the theater. (Boys welcome too.)
Craft & maker fairs aplenty
And in this state, you never know when you might pick up a work of art or a craft from a future artworld superstar. Here are a few highlights:
MECA Holiday Sale
Dec. 6, 5:30–9 p.m.
Dec. 7, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
MECA, 522 Congress St., Portland
This two-day event features work of faculty, graduates and students, and your purchases support MECA’s education, outreach and student programs. (Free; meca.edu)
Art on the Hill
Dec. 6–8, varying times
East End Community School, 195 North St., Portland
This annual sale presented by the Society of East End Artists features a wide range of artists and makers. It starts Friday, 6–9 p.m., and is open all day Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Free; seaportland.org)
Dec. 8, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Pepperell Mill, 40 Main St., Biddeford.
Art, crafts and vintage items fill the upstairs event space at the Pepperell Mill for this relatively new annual event (heading into its third year). Food vendors as well. (Free; facebook.com/CONFETTI.craftshow)
Makers Market at The Point
Dec. 1, 15 & 22, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Brick South, Thompson’s Point, Portland
This events featuring artists, makers, some food and cocktails, runs three Sundays in December, the 1st, 15th and for the procrastinators amongst us, the 22nd. (Free; thompsonspointmaine.com)