The Center for Applied Human Ecology (CAHE) offers a wide range of ways for students to get involved in COA events and the surrounding community. Whether through course projects, visiting lecturers, canoe trips, or stream clean-ups, CAHE faculty and staff work with students to develop skills in collaborative problem-solving and real-world application of classroom knowledge. 

Established in 1991 as one of the primary interdisciplinary centers of College of the Atlantic, CAHE draws on the expertise of faculty in ecology, economics, law, psychology, anthropology, planning, history, business and architecture.

CAHE's mission is to serve students and community by:

  • Teaching a wide range of skills necessary to integrate scientific, aesthetic and social values into complex decision-making on public issues
  • Building upon a solid foundation of courses from traditional disciplines, integrate the knowledge from these courses with practical skills, and apply this integrated knowledge to actual problems in multi-disciplinary courses and independent projects
  • Providing learning opportunities through working partnerships with local leaders and organizations on actual problems in local and international communities

Highlights of the Center's many programs and activities include:

  • Education that Makes a Difference through Project-Based Learning
  • Watershed Initiative, promoting the integration of ecological, social and economic values through a watershed approach to regional planning and community outreach
  • Ecological Entrepreneurship
  • Geographic Information System (GIS) Lab
  • Collaborative Planning and Decision Making
  • Inter-Institutional Projects: The college has conducted a variety of joint projects with several of the leading Architecture, Planning and Watershed Programs in the US
  • Resource library of software, computer resource inventories and material on environmental, social and economic issues in Maine. The Center also provides space for meetings, conferences and classes.


CAHE Faculty

  • Richard Borden
    B.A. University of Texas
    Ph.D. Psychology, Kent State University
    » Course areas: environmental psychology, community planning and decision making, personality and social development, contemporary psychology, and philosophy of human ecology
  • Kenneth Cline
    B.A. Hiram College
    J.D. Law, Case Western Reserve University
    » Course areas: public policy and environmental law, with an emphasis on parks, wildlife, watershed and river conservation
  • Jay Friedlander
    B.A. Colgate University
    M.B.A. Olin Graduate School of Business
    » Course areas: Socially Responsible Business, Entrepreneurship, and Sustainable Business
  • Isabel Mancinelli
    B.S. Catholic University of America
    M.L.A. Landscape Architecture, Harvard University
    » Course areas: community and regional planning, landscape architecture
  • Chris Petersen
    B.A. University of California, Santa Barbara
    Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona
    » Course areas: Marine Biology, Evolution, Field Ecology, and Policy
  • Davis F. Taylor
    B.S. United States Military Academy
    M.S. University of Oregon
    Ph.D. Economics, University of Oregon
    » Course areas: ecological economics, community sustainability, alternative economic development
  • Gordon Longsworth
    B.A. College of the Atlantic
    M.R.P. Planning, University of Pennsylvania
    » Course areas: geographic information systems, land use planning
  • Ron Beard
    B.S. University of Maine
    M.S. Agricultural and Resource Economics
    » Course areas: collaborative leadership, community planning and decision making, skills in community development and non-profit management