The fourth annual Source Maine Sustainability Awards night on April 4 at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester honored seven of the state’s environmental superheroes – the people, nonprofits, institutions and businesses that make Maine a greener place.

“We are proud to be the only newspaper in the country with a section dedicated to sustainability,” said Lisa DeSisto, CEO of MaineToday Media, which publishes the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Maine Telegram, among other newspapers, and hosts the Source awards.

“This is kind of the Oscars of sustainability,” said chef Kerry Altiero of Cafe Miranda in Rockland. “Sustainability makes good economic sense both in the long term and in the short the term.”

Amanda Beal, president of Maine Farmland Trust and a past Source award recipient, joined the judges’ panel this year. “It was fun to be on the other side of it and to see all the amazing work that’s being done in the state,” Beal said. “It’s really inspiring.”

The more than 110 nominees showed that anyone and everyone can practice sustainability – even prisoners.

“We’re teaching our inmates sustainability practices,” said Capt. Ryan Fries, explaining that inmates at the Maine State Prison compost, garden and manage beehives as part of the Prison Sustainability Program, led by Mark Hutchinson of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. This program was honored with the Trailblazer Award.

The Energy Saver Award went to the nonprofit WindowDressers, which has helped save $2.2 million in energy costs by helping people make window inserts that keep drafts out. “These pop-up workshops are like old-fashioned barn-raisings for windows,” said Laura Seaton, director of community development.

Maine Audubon biologist Susan Gallo received the Conservationist Award for her longtime work organizing 1,400 volunteers for the annual loon count on the third Saturday in July. “Sustainability is really what Maine Audubon is all about,” Gallo said.

A team from the six-location Rosemont Market & Bakery accepted the Entrepreneur Award. “We just listened to what our customers wanted, and as we listened, we developed relationships with farmers in the area,” said John Naylor, who was one of the founders of the first Rosemont store on Brighton Avenue in Portland 14 years ago.

Other honorees included teacher Neil Lash, director of the Heirloom Seed Project at Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro; Local Wood Works, a nonprofit that works with eight partner organizations to connect consumers and local wood products; the Maine Grain Alliance, a nonprofit that has helped bring back grain farming for baking and brewing; and Dana Morse of Maine Sea Grant and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, who was named the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation winner.

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at:

[email protected]

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