Ted’s work in fisheries management has focused on bridging the interests of stakeholders such as conservation practitioners, scientists, fishery managers, and fishermen. Ted advocates for civic engagement, understanding that communities can collaborate to achieve common goals even in the most unlikely of settings. Spending time both in church and at sea has provided Ted with a unique perspective on the complex relationships that define community-based conservation.
Gulf to Gulf Conservation Exchange Program, Honduras, 2001
Intra-Regional Exchange for Community Citizens from Northern New England and Atlantic Canada, Eastern Muscongus Bay, Maine, 2002
Alumni Congress, Budapest, 2006
Middle East Exchange Program, Developing Approaches to Preventing and Mitigating Conflict, 2007-2008
Middle East Exchange Program, Capacity and Consensus Building Workshop, 2008
Communities have always been at the center of Reverend Theodore (Ted) Hoskins’ work. Whether in the spiritual community of the church or a fishing community in Downeast Maine or coastal Belize, Ted has dedicated his time in service to people and community.
Ted’s devotion to community traces back to his early days growing up on the coast of Maine. During World War II, his father served as a Minister of a church on a small island. Ted spent his childhood by the sea, developing a keen interest in marine flora and fauna that would guide his career. As a fisherman, he learned about the complex relationship between fisheries and marine ecosystems. Ted received a Bachelor of Arts from Illinois College and a Master’s in Divinity from Yale Divinity School. For many years, he served as both the Senior Minister of the South Glastonbury Congregational Church in Connecticut and the summer Minister at the Union Congregational Church on Isle au Haut, Maine.
Ted served as a Consultant and Board Member of several organizations, including the Penobscot East Resources Center, the Saltwater Network, the Cobscook Bay Resource Center, the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, and the Maine State Lobster Advisory Council. As Co-Chair of the Downeast Groundfish Initiative, Ted works in partnership with the University of Maine to advance the stewardship, management, and governance of the fisheries in the North Atlantic Ocean. “It just seems natural for me to be involved in the fisheries, and I’ve worked with fishermen all along,” he says.
Ted’s work in fisheries management has focused on bridging the interests of stakeholders such as conservation practitioners, scientists, fishery managers, and fishermen. Ted advocates for civic engagement, understanding that communities can collaborate to achieve common goals even in the most unlikely of settings. Spending time both in church and at sea has provided Ted with a unique perspective on the complex relationships that define community-based conservation. Along with moving between the spiritual and environmental approaches to stewardship, Ted has also crossed national boundaries. After Hurricane Mitch devastated Honduran communities in 1998, Ted brought members of his church in Maine to the area to help rebuild local villages. By connecting these disparate communities, Ted experienced the possibility of spreading stewardship service beyond geographical borders.
Ted continued to expand stewardship across international borders by participating as a Fellow on QLF’s Gulf-to-Gulf Conservation Exchange Program in 2001, with conservation leaders from the Gulf of Honduras and the Gulf of Maine. During the program, Ted met Wil Maheia, a QLF Alumnus from Punta Gorda, Belize. That year, Belize was hit by Hurricane Iris. Just off the Caribbean Sea, Monkey River was one of many small villages left in a state of severe damage. Wil Maheia called upon Ted and asked if he could assemble a group of community organizers to help rebuild Monkey River. “We went there to build shelters for the community,” Ted recalls. “There was no loss of life, but tremendous property damage.”
Ted felt strongly connected to the Monkey River community. “What caught my attention and my heart was a plea from the Chairwoman of the Village Council: ‘Without a school, we do not have a community’.” The rebuilding efforts served as an opportunity to develop a deep commitment to the community and to forge lasting friendships with the locals over time. Year after year, Ted brought teams of volunteers from Downeast Maine to rebuild the Monkey River community’s church, school, and houses. For the past fifteen years, he has returned to Monkey River, and the community is now like family. “Building friendships is more important than building infrastructure.”
In 2008, Ted also participated in QLF’s Middle East Exchange Program. Ted values and appreciates the professional and personal friendships that he gained with Middle East Alumni during the Exchange, drawing inspiration from their sustained spirit and hope. “It was an extraordinary experience, the coming together of the East and West, and I have such wonderful memories of going to the Middle East,” he says. “I went to so many countries with QLF. We learned how countries worked together across borders on shared environmental challenges, such as natural resource management shared in-region and beyond. Their challenges and concerns were not unlike our own.” During the Middle East Exchange Program, Fellows explored consensus-building and collaborative techniques to achieve peaceful resolution through environmental stewardship. “We began at the community level… and addressed resources and relationships, property and peace, law and tradition.” Reaching consensus is no easy task, yet Ted believes that this can be accomplished through a shared vision both within each community and across the borders and boundaries of Middle East communities.
Ted insists that he would not have had this transformative experience without QLF’s Network of Alumni and his participation in its exchange programs. His career has been inspired by working with local communities and discovering the capacity of the human spirit to make a difference for the environment. Ted is a firm believer in collaboration, sharing knowledge, and engaging communities as stewards of the earth. “People and communities share the discipline to fit into the paradigm of sustainable work.” His deep and abiding friendships with people and communities in Downeast Maine, Monkey River, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, and the West Bank mean a lot to him. “The experiences offered to me by QLF have not only opened the world to me but gave me a way to participate in it. I am forever thankful to QLF.”
Header Photo: Ted Hoskins hikes in the central highlands of the West Bank, Palestine, during the 2007 Middle East Exchange Program. Photograph by Elizabeth Alling