Saturday night August 8, 2009 at the Rockport Opera House was an extraordinary conservation crossover event, one whose repercussions will linger on and on in the ongoing defense of Sears Island in Maine's Penobscot Bay and its adjoining wild fish nurseries.
Click here for audio from the event, which brought together comic satirist Robert Skoglund aka the humble farmer, Nashville recording artist Susan Oliver (a 4th generation Sears Island family, and Ron Huber of Penobscot Bay Watch on behalf of Maine's most endangered island ecosystem Click here for photos of event.
Singer Susan Oliver and her son Gareth Laffely, above, performing at the show. WLBZ/WCSH reporter Sarah Delage met singer Susan and I on Wasumkeag Saturday morning, and illuminated the entire reason for the event as well as remarking on the various characters that visited the state. Here's another link to her story Listen to an audio-only version of story (mp3).
Humble farmer! He opened the Sears Island fundraiser with the grainiest of corny humor, and as documented on the recordings made the building ring again and again and again with laughter for his driest of downeast jokestry.
Then Susan Oliver opened all hearts & ears with her songs of glory, faith and salvation. Read the Bangor Daily News on Susan Oliver Here
Ron Huber time-traveled 'em through 10,000 years of Wasumkeag in 10 minutes. From the mammoth hunters of ice age Maine camping on what was then "Sears Hill", which sprouted from the boggy plain near which the great river flowed to its meeting with Penobscot Bay which was then 40 miles down river to the east, though the water level was rising.
Then 4,500 years ago the Red Paint People aka Maritime Archaic tribes, came venturing across the far North Atlantic, hopskotching across the archipelagos we now call fishing banks from Northern Europe to Canada to...Maine! The flooding increased, the Red Paints moved inland, doggedly digging up and reburying their cemetaries above the advancing tides, before vanishing before a tumult of Susquahannocks that raged briefly across Maine, before themselves disappearing. A thousand years past this dark age, came the Dawn People the gerat Wabanaki confederation that flourished until the 15th century, when European fishermen, traders and colonists began an interaction that overwhelmed them. End of 10 minutes on 10thousand years
The Old Guard was honorably represented in the audience. The people who fought off Brennan's, McKernan's & King's Sears Is port plans- not to mention Baldacci's first attack on Sears Island in 2004, were there, wrath at Sierra Club's betrayal of Sears Island alight in their grim visages. A Prince of Injunctions was there: be afraid MDOT. Very afraid...
Thoughts: a large % of the attendees are country music fans. Concerns about the island are spreading among all of Maine's people, who see the port as another global trade exploitation that will bleed even more of America's wealth and jobs overseas.
At the same time, having a fundraiser at such a classy venue - a place where famous quartets and opera stars perform, elevates the island defenders' 'tone' a little bit, n'est-ce pas?
May we somehow liberate the Sierra Club from the tiny cabal running it now that cozies up with government and industry too much and consults its members too little.
Thanks everyone for their efforts, especially Melani without whom for multiple reasons our event would never have happened, Sally who took the event in hand and calmly explained our case for saving all of Sears Island to each member of the audience as they entered the opera hall, Peter for video-recording the event, and Ruth and everyone else who is keeping the Sears Island protection effort alive and kicking.