POLAND, ME – Continuing its long-time support of STEM education and research at the University of Southern Maine (USM), Nestlé Waters North America, through its Poland Spring® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water, has awarded a $25,000 “Good Neighbor Grant” to the USM Foundation. The grant will fund an upland watershed monitoring project conducted by the University’s Environmental Science and Policy (ESP) program.
“At Nestlé Waters, we are committed to the sustainability of our natural resources and the environment, both in our own operations and the communities where we live and work,” said Heather Printup, Community Relations Manager for Poland Spring. “Our ‘Good Neighbor Grants’ are awarded to projects with a focus on education, environmental conservation and other endeavors that help improve the future of Maine. We can’t think of a more appropriate recipient than USM’s Environmental Science and Policy program.”
The gift will specifically support internships and assistantships for ESP students working on the research project, located within the Tannery Brook Watershed/USM “Smart Forest” on the USM Gorham campus. The project entails building a network of environmental sensors that will be located throughout the watershed/forest. The sensors will provide researchers with better insight regarding the impacts of climate change and land use on small forests and mini watersheds. Data collected at the site can be remotely accessed by the public, including educators, researchers and interested “citizen scientists.”
“All of the fieldwork needed to develop and maintain the environmental sensor network will be done by our ESP students,” said Robert Sanford, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Science and Policy. “Poland Spring has stepped up as an important partner in this venture, enabling us to make paid watershed assistantships available to our students, who benefit from both financial support and valuable workforce experience.”
“USM is dedicated to working with the community to address real-world problems while imbuing our students with technical workforce skills,” said Jeremy Qualls, dean of the College of Science, Technology and Health at USM. “Poland Spring's gift is very impactful. It helps us get students engaged in the field and widens the pathway to STEM jobs here in Maine.”
Ainsley Wallace, president and CEO of the USM Foundation, said, “This investment by Poland Spring recognizes USM’s central role and commitment to growing Maine’s skilled and educated workforce. We are very grateful for this generous gift and the opportunities it affords our undergraduates.”
Since 2000, Poland Spring has given more than $7 million to local Maine community organizations, causes and events through the Good Neighbor Grant program. Past grant recipients, include: The Ecology School, Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Poland Spring Preservation Society, The Volunteer Lakes Monitoring Program, Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, 4-H Camp & Learning Center at Bryant Pond, Camp Susan Curtis in Stoneham, and the Franklin County Animal Shelter in Farmington, as well as numerous other organizations.
About Poland Spring
Established in 1845, Poland Spring® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water has invested in Maine and created jobs using an abundant, renewable resource. The brand, part of Nestlé Waters North America Inc., operates three Maine bottling plants in Poland, Hollis and Kingfield. Additionally, Poland Spring maintains spring sources in Fryeburg, Poland, Dallas Plantation, Poland Spring, Pierce Pond Township, Kingfield, Denmark, Hollis and Lincoln, Maine. Poland Spring also:
- Employs nearly 900 full-time and seasonal workers across the state, contributing nearly $49 million to the economy in annual payroll;
- Spends over $135 million directly with other Maine companies each year; and
- Invested over $7 million in community giving since 2000 to support schools, local non-profits, fire and rescue, environmental conservation, and many other local and statewide causes.
About USM ESP
The University of Southern Maine Department of Environmental Science and Policy (ESP) is an interdisciplinary program offering a BA in Environmental Planning and Policy and a BS in Environmental Science. An accelerated program allows students in the BA program to work toward a master’s degree in Policy, Planning and Management. For students who wish to become teachers, there is also a pathway leading to secondary science certification. The program also offers minors and/or certificates in Environmental Sustainability, Applied Energy, Environmental Science, Environmental Education and Environmental Policy & Analysis.
About the USM Foundation
The University of Southern Maine Foundation engages with USM alumni, employer partners, and the wider community to encourage philanthropic support for the long-term benefit of the University and its students. The Foundation solicits and secures private funds for the sole benefit of the University and its mission. Acting as an independent, 501 (c)(3) corporation, the Foundation provides quality programs and services to USM alumni, donors and supporters and serves as the primary fundraising vehicle for the University of Southern Maine.