My name is Parker Gassett and I am 27 years old. I am currently a Hurricane Island Outward Bound School Instructor, but I have been recently accepted in to a Marine Policy Graduate Program.
I grew up in the town of Camden. We live in a beautiful and special place, and every season I recognize more and more how fortunate I’ve been to be here. My youth began with a love for playing outside. My backyard and neighborhood itself was an infinite exploration. And highlighted by camping trips with my family in Baxter and boat-rides out to the islands, I grew akin to both the quantity and quality of forested and protected land in our state. As I grew older and travelled elsewhere, I also became aware of how many Mainers work directly with the forest and ocean environments, and the unique pride and respect that they have for our natural resources. I came of age splitting firewood, cutting down our own Christmas trees, gathering oysters, and fishing out of a canoe. These experiences, amongst so many others, instilled in me a great appreciation for the world around us.
As an adult this image of the environment has developed into something a bit more complex. In an increasingly urban landscape, not everyone has the opportunities to enrich their lives with nature and biodiversity. I’ve been blessed, both in education and my exposure to the wilderness and its processes. So, what began as a simple love for the natural world, has developed into a feeling of responsibility and stewardship for the environment. Solutions exist: to harmonize our collective footprint with conservation, and to preserve and enhance those inspiring human interactions with our natural environment.
This fall I will be enrolling in the Marine Policy Graduate Program at the University of Maine in Orono. I will be joining a growing number of teachers, researchers, and policy makers who have devoted themselves to improving both our quality of life and the natural landscapes we inhabit. I hope to develop as a leader within this community and to steer my enthusiasm for sustainability towards positive change throughout our state.
It has taken many steps for me to get to where I am now, and I am humble about how much further I have to go for my own ambition and the larger goals of our communities overall. But, I write to you now, asking for a little help in one step of the process. The PC’s for Maine program is a commendable helping hand for so many people throughout our state. Having a computer can improve lives, access to opportunities, and people’s abilities to realize their own aspirations. I sincerely thank the leaders who had the foresight to create such a helpful program, and especially appreciate those partners who continue to support this effort through donation.