Famous LGBTQ+ Environmentalists

Happy Pride Month! Celebrate by learning about current and past queer environmentalists.

Pattie Gonia

This drag queen uses her powers for good! Pattie Gonia (aka Wyn Wiley) wears sustainable fashion pieces and produces hilarious videos for social media to spread awareness of the climate crisis. Pattie is also the founder of the non profit The Outdoorist Oath. View Pattie Gonia’s channel HERE.

Rachel Carson

Everyone knows that Carson was a world renowned conservationist and helped spark the environmental movement, but not many realize she was part of the queer community.  She met Dorothy Freeman when she was living on Southport Island in midcoast Maine. While many still debate their relationship, it is apparent that the two shared a rich friendship. You can read more in the book Always, Rachel: The Letters of Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman.

Pinar Sinopoulos-Lloyd

Pinar is a queer environmentalist and indigenous advocate. They co-founded Queer Nature, a non profit dedicated to delivering naturalist studies to LGBTQ+, non binary people, and allies. They are also a member of the Diversity Outdoors Coalition, a trans ambassador of Native Women’s Wilderness, and the 2020 recipient of the National Environmental Champion award from the Audubon National Society.

Spring Excitement

The winter brings a natural slowness to the day, and a stillness to the night. We stay in more often than not, but when we step outside the earth feels relaxed, gently spinning in slow-motion. Fewer birds are chirping, and less visual noise too. The eyes adjust to this monomorphic landscape. Snow covers the brownness of the earth and trees with only the burnt yellow beech leaves breaking up the brown and white.

Green is the first color we see in the spring, as the snow melts and the earth is revitalized. Yellow is the next, with dandelions littering the grass, and purple too, as the lilacs begin to bloom.
The world awakens after a long sleep through frigid weather. Brightness returns to the land as birds arrive and flash their new plumage.

Soon, full spectrums will reveal themselves as summer’s long days and rays give life to floral bodies. We will watch as green dominates the panorama. Grasses grow taller; deciduous trees bright with new leaves. The bounty of a field will be unbroken, yielding yellows, blues, purples, and greens.

What are you most excited for this time of the year?


Abby Wilson | Event and Outreach Organizer



Celebrate Earth Day

Since 1970, we have been celebrating the planet and environmental successes.

Earth Day was invented to put environmental issues on the front page of the national agenda. The first year, over 20 million people demonstrated support for mother nature. This served as the catalyst for environmental policy and later that year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was created.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Several environmental policies were then enacted including the Clean Air Act, the Water Quality Improvement Act, the Water Pollution and Control Act Amendments, the Resource Recovery Act, and many more.

To view the many milestones, from the 1960s to today, visit the EPA’s website! Also check out the EPA trivia game!

Fast forward 53 years and there are many ways to celebrate Earth Day!


Join SVLT and other organizations at the McArthur Library on Earth Day from 10 to 2 for an Earth Day Celebration. We will have games, prizes, crafts,  a clothing swap, information booths, presentations, guided walks, city cleanups, a group bike ride, and more!

Help clean up public lands! Saco Parks and Recreation is hosting a city-wide clean up on Friday, April 21st. You can sign up to help pick up garbage and prepare for spring activities at the local parks.

Biddeford Parks and Rec will also be hosting a public parks clean up. Join them for breakfast and the volunteer event on April 22nd! Register here.

After you participate in a clean up or get inspired by one of the many speakers from the Earth Day Celebration, head over to Portland and catch the Maine Outdoor Film Festival screening of The Original Mother.

Consider donating or volunteering! There is no bigger way to show your support for mother earth than contributing to a local environmental organization. Learn more about giving to SVLT on the How You Can Help tab.

Women in Conservation

Men are often labelled as the important shapers and changemakers in the conservation movement. Thoreau, Roosevelt, and Emerson are all names that spark thoughts of natural preservation. Here are the women that played major roles in the environmental movement and  are currently working in conservation.


To celebrate trailblazing women in history during the month of March, let’s remember the leading ladies in conservation!

Rachel Carson

Author of Silent Spring, Carson was a huge advocate for regulating chemicals. She exploited the lethal effects of pesticides such as DDT on bird and insect populations. In 1966, Maine opened the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge which consists of 50 coastal miles and 11 divisions between Kittery and Cape Elizabeth.


Margaret “Mardy” Murie

Murie is often considered the “Grandmother of Conservation”. She grew up in Alaska and was the first woman to graduate from the University of Alaska. Adventurer and advocate, Murie played a major role int the creation of the Wilderness Act and designation of the Arctic National Wildlife Range.


Cornelia “Fly Rod” Crosby

Born in 1854 in Phillips, Crosby is known as Maine’s first licensed guide. She was considered a great angler in the Rangeley area and wrote a newspaper column called ““Fly Rod’s Note Book”. In 1895, she attended a Sportsmen’s Exposition in New York City and helped promote tourism in Maine.




Conservation looks a bit different today than during it’s inception 200 plus years ago. Let’s take a look at the women behind science, policy, and creativity!

Rue Mapp

Founder of Outdoor Afro, Mapp is dedicated to making the outdoors a safe and accessible space for all. Her organization focuses on Black leadership and connection to nature. Mapp is a National Geographic fellow and serves are multiple conservation initiative boards.


Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

Johnson is the co-editor of All We Can Save,  a book about the climate crisis from different perspectives. She also co-created the podcast How to Save a Planet, which addresses both policy and science. Johnson has appeared on TED talks, is an accomplished writer, and is currently president and co-founder of Urban Ocean Lab- “a think tank for the future of coastal cities”.

Sandy Ritchie

Ritchie began her career as a biologist with Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. In the 1980s, she and one other were the only women employed by the state as biologists. She never had a female role model in science to look up to. With out any intention, she paved a trail for future women in conservation.

Winter Conifers

Conifers of Maine

Coniferous trees! Do they all look the same? Read more and find out how to identify species of evergreen, all year around.

Pine needles are grown in clusters off of branches and the number of needles per bunch can help you identify the species. Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus) has 5 needles per cluster, Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida) has 3, and Red Pine (Pinus resinosa) has 2 needles per bunch.

Color can be tricky to use as a distinguishing factor, however at times it is helpful. Eastern white pine needles have a bluish green hue, while Red pines have a dark green needle, and Pitch pines are much more greenish yellow.

Maine is home to one deciduous conifer- a tree that has needles which fall off in the autumn. The Eastern tamarack (Larix laricina), also known as larch, or hackmatack, is a softwood found scattered throughout the state. It occurs in cool and swampy environments with well-drained soils. The needles grow off the branch in clusters or spurs of 8 needles. They turn bright yellow in September before they fall. The short cones grow off of the branch which then open up to spread winged seeds all over the ground below the tree in autumn.

There are three Spruce species in the state- Black (Picea mariana), Red (Picea rubens), and White (Picea glauca). You can use characteristics of the needles to identify them. Black spruce needles are bluish in color with no shininess. Red spruce needles have very shiny needles and White spruce are not shiny but have a strong odor when crushed between your fingers.

You may also use the shapes of the cones to help distinguish the trees. Black spruces have spherical cones, the red spruce cones are wide in the middle, while the white spruce has cylindrical cones.

Balsam fir (Abies balsamea) is another iconic species in the north woods of Maine but does occur state wide. This fir grows in a sharp spire with very regular whirls for branches, giving the tree stunning symmetry. The bark has blemishes filled with pitch or sap. This resin is so sticky it was once used to mount microscope slides and was used in theater costume making. It’s symmetry as well as aromatic needles make it an easy choice for a Christmas tree.

Eastern hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis) typically dominate moist and cool habitats of Maine. This semi shade-tolerant species has scaly bark that can have a reddish-brown hue or be mostly gray. The leaves are flat which is a major difference between this tree and a spruce. The needles are yellowish green with white on the bottom.

Atlantic white-cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) is a common species in low areas or bogs. It can be found as far south as York County. It is a short tree- rarely found over 40 feet- with short branches and has scaly leaves which are arranged in fanlike structures. These white-cedar needles emit an odor when crushed. Its cones are small and have a purplish hue before maturity. The wood is also quite fragrant and is light brown in color.

Need some more help with conifer ID? Head over to Maine Forest Service’s identification guide!