Every summer Boothbay Region Land Trust welcomes two seasonal caretakers who live and work on Damariscove Island. Located five miles off-shore, Damariscove is easily the land trust’s most remote public preserve. The caretakers’ jobs include maintenance and upkeep of the island’s trails and structures, as well as welcoming and overseeing the hundreds of visitors who flock to Damariscove each summer. The jobs also entail living in a rustic one-room cabin without running water, appliances, or modern conveniences. Given the unique conditions of life on the island, the positions tend to attract those who love nature and are up for an adventure, and this season’s caretakers, Aiko Pandorf and Scott Peterson, fit the bill.
Pandorf and Peterson hail from California, though they have a long-time connection to Maine, where they have spent summers for the past 20 years exploring the coast of Casco Bay while rehabbing an old family camp. Pandorf’s professional background is in the nonprofit sector where she has worked in virtually every capacity from communications and fundraising director, to executive director, and consultant. Peterson’s career has been in education with a focus on promoting civic engagement. His expertise is in curriculum design and learning facilitation. Both Pandorf and Peterson bring strong communications and public engagement experiences to these positions and are sure to be excellent ambassadors of the land trust at Damariscove this summer.
One trait that has been a strong point of connection between Pandorf and Peterson throughout their lives together is their mutual love of adventure. It led them, early in their relationship, to move to Africa together, where they spent several years working and exploring, and ultimately it is also what led them to seek the caretaker positions on Damariscove this summer. “The pandemic has taught us that opportunities for adventure are not infinite,” Pandorf and Peterson explain. “After months of being locked down, we are seeking something completely different. We love and respect Maine’s coastal ecosystem and the range of people who enjoy it recreationally and for their livelihood. We are looking forward to sharing our love of Maine and to learning from visitors we meet at Damariscove this summer.”
Pandorf and Peterson will spend approximately ten weeks on Damariscove Island undertaking a range of projects from trail clearing to carpentry. They are already enjoying meeting many visitors and locals on the island. Please feel free to introduce yourself should you meet them on your island adventures this summer.