Dr. Steve Kahl Named Clean Water Champion Alisa Meggison | October 5, 2022

Dr. Steve Kahl, a member of the science faculty at Thomas College, has been named a Clean Water Champion by the Natural Resources Council of Maine because of his work as the Founding Director of the George Mitchell Center for Environmental Research. This honor has been given to the top 100 water quality leaders in the State of Maine. 

“Being acknowledged as a Clean Water Champion is gratifying because there are so many of my colleagues over the past 40+ years who were also acknowledged, even including one of my first graduate students.” Said Kahl.   “Students may think that the high-quality Maine environment that they see today has always been so, but NO! It took many, many scientists, managers, elected officials, and citizens to make the incremental progress that exists today.”

Throughout his career as a geochemist, Kahl’s research has had a profound impact on water quality in Maine. His work includes research on Maine’s 90 high-elevation lakes, acid rain impacts on lakes, stormwater management, and monitoring of the lakes and streams at Acadia National Park. Today, along with being a faculty member at Thomas College, he is also a certified monitor for the Lake Stewards of Maine, an organization he helped start in the 1990s. 

As our climate has changed, so has Kahl’s environmental focus. “My interests and concern have become more focused on the coming threat of climate change,” said Kahl.  “My environmentalism has increasingly focused on educating students and speaking to the public about climate science, and the solutions to climate change such as the economic imperative of renewable energy.” 

Kahl’s passion for educating the future of Maine’s environmental stewards is made evident by his impact on Thomas College. Kahl has been fundamental in developing three majors, two minors, and eight science courses at our college. The most recent program that Kahl has created is our Bachelor of Arts in Global Sustainability which was made available for the first time in the 2022-2023 academic year. This program is especially timely today because of the supply-chain issues creating shortages of products ranging from lithium to helium, oil to wheat, and even including climate-related resources such as water and energy.

Thomas College is fortunate to have distinguished faculty members like Dr. Steve Kahl who work tirelessly to provide a robust and career-centered education for our students based on the real-world problems they have faced throughout their careers. 

“I hope that I am remembered for innovative and insightful programs at Thomas that I’ve created just in the 7 years I’ve been here,” said Kahl. “Where else but Thomas could anyone make such an impact so quickly?” 

Learn more about our academic programs, including the three that Dr. Kahl developed (Global Sustainability,Environmental Science and Policy, and Interdisciplinary Studies) at