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USM Corporate Partners' "Our Parks, Our Future" event sparks vibrant discussion

Our parks, our future panel discussion

On Tuesday, January 31, USM Corporate Partners kicked off its 2017 event series with a full room for “Our Parks, Our Future: An Evening with David Evans Shaw, Shawn Gorman and Lucas St. Clair” at Hannaford Hall in the Abromson Center.

The evening included a fireside chat with David Evans Shaw, founder of Idexx Laboratories, Shawn Gorman, Chairman of L.L. Bean and Lucas St. Clair of Elliotsville Plantation, Inc. and The Quimby Family Foundation. Shaw, Gorman and St. Clair spoke about their love for nature and the significance of national parks to the future of our state and nation.

A portion of Shaw's feature-length film, "Second Century Stewardship," was screened, highlighting the importance of our national parks as classrooms and laboratories for students in the next century. The film excerpt included vingettes of K-12 students learning about the wonder of nature outside of the classroom and without textbooks. Shaw said "I hope these themes of classrooms and laboratories rise to greater importance," adding "the reason we resonate with nature is because we are part of nature." 

Shaw, Gorman and St. Clair were also joined by Yarmouth, ME innovator Kerry Gallivan, who created the Chimani app, a top-notch resource for exploring and touring the National Parks, which now has over 2 million downloads.

The two-part discussion also included Robert Sanford, USM's Professor of Environmental Science and Policy and Department Chair, and Victoria Hill, an Environmental Planning and Policy major who will graduate in May. 

The evening's conversation was facilitated by Steve Campbell, founder and CEO of pro-voke, an Old Port-based business strategy collective that focuses on organizational change, company culture and leadership performance. 

As the evening drew to a close, Campbell asked the panel what they would like to see most in the next 50 years of the national parks. Shaw said he would like to see "a lot of scientific research going on, and a vast amount of visitors [to national parks] being students." Professor Sanford said he hoped to "achieve a balance so the parks haven't become overwhelmed." Gorman said he hopes "there are more great places to go, also that people are taking advantage of the outdoors outside of parks." St. Clair added "I would like to see Congress appropriate funding for parks that matches the consumer's appetite for them."

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