Ari Leach is currently the Biotoxin Specialist for the western Maine division of the Maine Department of Marine Resources. Ari has taken over the organization and operation of its volunteer phytoplankton monitoring program, which involves training and supporting a network of volunteers to collect and identify harmful algae species in western Maine, a service that helps to fill gaps not covered by DMR field staff. Ari also serves as a judge at the Maine State Science Fair and will be attending the Unity career fair to promote DMR and available positions within the agency. Ari particularly loves doing outreach with the public and enjoys speaking with current students about potential careers in marine science.

Ari and their partner Steph recently purchased a parcel of land on an island near Boothbay and placed a tiny home on it. They are completing projects on the property and hope to have the off-grid solar home finished by the end of next fall. Their 5 1/2-year-old black lab, Charlie, loves romping around the land trust trails that border the property. Recently, they discovered a very healthy population of bobcats in their backyard!

Ari is also an active member of the Lincoln County Search and Rescue team and has been organizing the 2019 Maine Search and Rescue Conference with a panel of skilled rescuers. The conference will feature experts from around the country, including workshops on GPS usage, patient psychology in the field, use of mounted search teams in Maine, as well as other informative topics.