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Environmental group could win $2,500 in vote at Freeport store

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Environmental group could win $2,500 in vote at Freeport store

FREEPORT — Voting will end Saturday, Oct. 24, in the second annual Voice Your Choice campaign to award a local environmental group up to $2,500 in grant money.

Freeport's Patagonia store is one of the 23 stores nationwide participating in the event to support environmental organizations.

This year the three organizations nominated include Maine Rivers, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay, and the Sheepscot Valley Conservation Association. The organization with the most votes will receive $2,500, the second- and third-place organizations will receive $1,500 and $1,000 respectively.

Candidates were selected by Patagonia store members based on their local focus and range of environmental concerns. Votes can be cast at the Patagonia store on Bow Street.

Tish Carr, lands program director at SVCA, said the group was very excited to be nominated.

"Our main emphasis is to conserve and restore the Sheepscot Watershed through water quality testing and monitoring," Carr said. "We would use the grant money to upgrade our monitoring equipment and provide waders and boots for volunteers."

Landis Hudson, Maine Rivers program director, said their organization's main focus is to protect and restore the ecological health of Maine's river systems.

"As with any non-profit, we can think of more than 10 ways to use the grant," she said.

But if awarded the $2,500 grant, she said she would like to restore the migratory alewives to the St. Croix River. The organization is also against the reconstruction of a dam on the Crooked River and would use funding to oppose the project. Finally, Hudson said the money could be used to work on the water quality and bacterial testing on the Kennebunk and Mousam rivers.

"All three organizations are wonderful in their own way, similar but different too," she said. "And Patagonia is an amazing organization that supports real grassroots environmental work."

Misty Gorski, executive coordinator of Friends of Merrymeeting Bay, said the organization takes a holistic approach to protecting the bay using research, environmental education and land conservation.

"If we receive the $2,500 grant, we would be able to increase our commitment to the Healthy Rivers/Healthy Gulf program by 40 percent," she said. "We want to provide and increase a safe and efficient fish passage through our rivers."

Winners will be announced Monday, Oct. 26, at 7:30 p.m. at the Patagonia store.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net