County Faces: Steve Young of Frenchville
Wildlife biologist Steve Young of Frenchville, 63, first fell in love with nature when he was a Boy Scout growing up in Madawaska. Young went on to become an Eagle Scout and has shared his respect and appreciation for Maine’s natural landscape with others ever since.
“That’s one of the biggest reasons I feel a sense of responsibility to do what I can to promote a deeper understanding and appreciation for nature,” Young said.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in wildlife management from the University of Maine Orono in 1978. Young worked a variety of wildlife related jobs in the field for different government agencies. His work took him to the mainland in Canada and off the coast of Alaska in the Bering Sea.
While banding ducks in the Bay of Fundy in the Tintamarre National Wildlife Area, Young said he found a connection to the Acadian culture prominent in the St. John Valley in which he was raised.
“I spent a lot of time in the (Canadian) Maritimes doing waterfowl surveys and lived on Tantramar Marsh; that’s an actual place,” he said.
Young said he recognized the word as sounding similar to the Tintamarre parade held annually in Madawaska during the Acadian Festival. During the Tintamarre parade, people bang and clang pots and pans and sound noisemakers in honor of their Acadian ancestors. Young’s friend, an ornithologist who also worked in the Tantramar Marshes, pointed out that the area was named for the noise all the birds in the area make during migration.
Later he worked at the Fraser Paper Company (now Twin Rivers Paper Company) in Madawaska as a wildlife biologist until the company sold off some land and cut that position in 2004. After being laid off, Young earned a degree in business management from the University of Maine at Fort Kent, but continues to work with nature.
Young is president of the non-profit Upper St. John River Organization
“We promote wildlife habitat and biodiversity enhancement, and soil & water quality conservation, and focus our efforts in the St. John Valley international boundary area,” according to the organization’s website.
The Upper St. John Valley website also provides an Online Nature Library of free downloadable nature and conservation publications.
“I’m always trying to introduce people who might have an interest in nature and wildlife to the endless depths of nature and provide them with good quality information,” Young said. “There’s a world in an acre; it depends on what level your appreciation is.”
For the past decade the group has partnered with the Aroostook County Conservation Association to care for thousands of seedlings each year which they distribute for free to landowners and plant on community owned property.
Young is a certified USDA National Resources Conservation Service technical service provider for wildlife conservation planning, and has the distinction of being the first in the state of Maine to achieve this credential, which allows him to make wildlife habitat plans for landowners.wildlife cap conservation activity planning
Young and his wife Janice, have two adult children, Derek and Samantha, and are expecting their second grandchild this summer.
When he is not working with nature or spending time with his family Young is an avid photographer and photo printer. He also volunteers to cut trails and old roads on community properties with his new brush saw.
Young and his wife also enjoy spending time with their cat and two dogs and babysitting their son Derek’s dogs.
Young said there is something to appreciate about nature as it exists all over the world, but he has a special appreciation for the upper St. John Valley.
“(Other places,)” they’re beautiful in their own way, but there’s something about Acadia,” he said. “This is Acadia. It’s the mixed wood forest. I’ve lived a few other places, but there’s no place like home.”