SOUTH BERWICK — The 13th biennial Beaches Conference will take place on Friday, June 10 at Berwick Academy. Returning after a three-year hiatus, this event brings together residents; beach monitors; artists; scientists; students; local, state and federal agencies; youth; and anyone else who cares about the beaches and coasts to discuss the latest science, arts and culture, management and other trends on the shore.
The conference focuses on both New Hampshire and Maine coasts. This year’s themes include beach, coastal and ecological modeling; coastal management and policy; coastal tourism; community engagement in coastal science; harvesting from the sea; changing coastlines; and community resilience in the face of warming oceans and a changing climate. Conference plenary speakers will tell the stories that explore history through integrated, collaborative approaches that draw on science; archeology; and merged Indigenous, local and Western knowledge.
“The opening session, ‘An inclusive future out of an inherited past,’ will explore the use of archeology at coastal sites in Maine and New Hampshire,” says Rob Sanford of the University of Southern Maine. “We will examine how archeology is used to uncover the truth by revealing hidden stories.”
The conference includes an optional same-day field trip to the Strawbery Banke Museum, where participants will explore the impacts of sea level rise and the progress made to understand and mitigate them. The program includes interactive workshops, such as a Haiku poetry writing, an opportunity to create a collaborative sculptural installation using plastic recycling materials, and lessons on green crab sorting. Attendees also will have the opportunity to attend sessions on community projects, monitoring efforts, recent research and creative solutions to managing coastal issues.
The Beaches Conference runs from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., then concludes with a networking and socializing event onsite in the Berwick Academy Dining Commons and on the lawn that runs through 6:15 p.m. Event planners expect approximately 250 attendees to attend the conference.
“Our coastline can be so awe-inspiring that it would be easy to lose sight of its critical function to the environment and to the local economy,” says Liz Torrance, community relations and social responsibility manager at Kennebunk Savings, which is the event’s lead sponsor. “This conference, and the important conversations and connections it inspires, will help keep us all focused on what matters most.”
The Beaches Conference is made possible through the support of numerous organizations and businesses, including Wave-level sponsor Kennebunk Savings; Umbrella-level sponsors NH Sea Grant, Maine Sea Grant, Ransom Consulting, Maine Coastal Program, NH Coastal Program, Save Our Shores Maine, Horizon Foundation, Great Bay Stewards, Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, and NERACOOS; and Sand-level sponsors Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Maine Geological Survey, Maine Floodplain Management, Drummond Woodsum, Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors, Seacoast Science Center, Union of Concerned Scientists, PREP, and FB Environmental.
Registration is $60 prior to the event or $75 on the day of, with a $10 cost for the field trip and a $10 charge for the networking and socializing event. Tickets are available online.
Anyone who wants to attend the conference must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within three days of the event date. The conference will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 recommendations for face masks and other safety measures.