Promise + Trio Scholars venture into Casco Bay
By Corra St. Pierre/ Contributor
On Sunday September 10th a group of adventurers left the craggy coast of Maine on an Eco-Retreat to Cow Island- an inaugural fundraising event hosted by Ripple Effect to benefit further use of Cow Island. Who were these fundraisees’ and what is Ripple Effect? Founder Ted Regan bought the Bovine landmass in 2000 from Albert Glickman (yes, that Glickman) who was co-owner at the time of purchase. When all was said and done the island exchanged philanthropic hands for $1.4 million dollars. An Additional half million dollars was given to the Maine Heritage Land Trust by Ripple Effect under a commitment to keeping the island protected “forever for all.”
The Social philanthropists vision is archived in a video published by Great Bay Foundation’s Youtube channel on May 30th 2008, titled simply, Ted Regan. In the video pitch, Regan breaks down his vision for Cow-Island. Much like other projects, Regan wanted to utilize renewable resources all the while creating programming to reach at-risk youth. Regan oversaw successful programs in the Fort Lyons Educational Initiative. Maine became an extension of that vision once MHLT and Ripple Effect, “for youth development” came into partnership with Cow-Island. The idea of “forever for all” is outlined in this promotional material comes from Regan’s recognition of wealth disparity. He reportedly “grew up in an affluent community, but came from a family of very few means”. Despite his class division Regan still had access to better material and education than most. It would seem that Regan is grateful for that access but realizes that many youths in Maine and beyond don’t have access to the kinds of means that Regan himself has. A particular story he points out is the repetition of the expression of unmet needs through-out Maine Youth. “In 2001 when we took 12 kids out for ten weeks. Twelve kids from a group home, and brought them to the offshore islands realizing only then they’d never been off shore and by the end of the summer discovering changed perspectives, future ripple effects”.
It’s evident that Regan had big visions for Cow Island’s future, how has it panned out a little less than 20 years later? According to Ripple Effects website they along with “The Maine Coast Heritage Trust hold a conservation easement for 26-acre Cow Island which protects public access in perpetuity. This easement also limits the number and size of structures built on the island. All new structures have either been built on existing foundations or are temporary, and all structures are situated so that they cannot be seen from the waters of Casco Bay, thereby preserving the natural landscape. Rippleffect owns Cow Island thanks in part to the enormous generosity of MCHT, and we continue to work closely with them to ensure that Cow Island remains protected forever for all.” The island plays a key role in what Ripple Effect is calling Eco- Retreat where guests can have access to “26 acres of serene natural beauty in the middle of Casco Bay, Maine…featuring Professional solar powered kitchen,Four composting toilets, Five canvas house tents on platforms. Heated and solar powered indoor and outdoor meeting space, 30′ x 40′ outdoor deck, Historic Spanish American war era battlements, Private dock and deepwater moorings Tables, chairs, serving and flatware for 150 people 200 person event tent/50 person event tent Public camping area Opportunity Fleet of 70 sea kayaks and gear 400′ zip line, Climbing tower, Low and high challenge course elements, Organic garden, managed by students, staff and volunteers, 1.5 mile graded trail system, Large fields and secluded open spaces, Rainwater catchment systems Private coves with sandy beaches”
While researching for this piece it became increasingly evident that both Regan’s and the Maine Heritage Land Trust ambition to make Cow-Island forever for all may be falling short in some key areas. For instance when asked for comment Ripple Effect has yet to address some important questions; what is the definition of at-risk- youth according to Regan, Ripple Effect and Maine Heritage Land Trust in regards to the use of Cow Island. There is also little said on what the patronage for Eco-Retreats like what took place on September Sunday 10th
Ted Regan- Ripple Effect Owner