For Maine resident Bo Norris, it's about a passion for bringing diverse interests together to restore the Gulf of Maine.
Bo is a trustee of The Nature Conservancy in Maine. He is also the co-founder of Maine Network Partners, which helps diverse stakeholders collaborate for solutions. Read Bo's story below and then share your own story to inspire others as you have inspired us!
What do you think about The Nature Conservancy’s approach to conserving places like the Gulf of Maine?
So many organizations are doing a great job tackling slices of the work. The Conservancy takes a big-picture approach to the whole challenge. This type of approach is embedded in The Nature Conservancy’s DNA. Science drives what to focus on, and the Conservancy’s commitment to partnering in a non-confrontational manner makes it happen. That approach lends itself well to the Gulf of Maine, where there are lots of players and lots of different agendas. You’ve got fishermen on big boats and small, and many other people trying to make a living from the Gulf of Maine. And you have dozens of federal and state agencies and all sorts of nonprofits playing a role. The Nature Conservancy is using its reputation and experience to convene many of these interests in an effort to identify common approaches to achieving shared goals for our oceans.
Was there a moment when you began to realize the urgency of the challenges in the Gulf of Maine?
There wasn’t one specific experience, but rather seeing what has happened here in Maine over the past few years, reading the steady news about declining fish stocks from the Gulf of Maine. It has been heartbreaking to see the impact on Maine’s fishermen, their families and communities. Thinking big-picture is about conservation and science and policy. But in the end, it’s as much about people and communities. The Conservancy understands this.
What gives you hope that we can restore fisheries and revive the livelihoods of fishermen and so many others who rely on a healthy Gulf of Maine?
I think having The Nature Conservancy involved as one of the players in the Gulf of Maine gives me hope that we can get people pushing together in directions that will make a difference. I really am hopeful that we can help people make a living in a vibrant and sustainable Gulf of Maine. Those of us involved with the Conservancy — staff and supporters — are hopeful people. We’re not giving up, and we’ll keep working to find solutions.