MASAR Conference 2021

The 2021 MASAR Conference will be held on September 24-26, 2021 at Camp Kieve in Nobleboro, Maine. The registration fee is $85 for MASAR-Certified team members, $100 for anyone not affiliated with a MASAR-Certified team, $20 to licensed EMS personnel. Late registrations will be subject to a $25 late fee. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

The conference will be co-hosted by Maine Mounted Search and Rescue (MMSAR) and Maine Search and Rescue Dogs (MESARD). 

If you would like to donate an item or gift certificate for our raffle or silent auction, please download our donation form here! We encourage MASAR team members and supporters to actively solicit donations from businesses they frequent, and/or businesses they work for or own.

Click here to skip to the Keynote Speakers.



Scent Behavior - Jocelyn "Josh" Stohl (New England SAR Education & Consulting Services)
This presentation will cover the characteristics of human scent, basic meteorology, terrain and the environmental factors in consideration to the SAR field worker that will assist in decision making and support to their animal partner.


SAR Resources: Drones and Animals - Jocelyn "Josh" Stohl (New England SAR Education & Consulting Services)

This presentation will introduce participants to a general understanding of a Small Unmanned Aircraft System and its role in SAR as a beneficial addition to resources. The program will provide a brief overview of operators/pilots, federal regulations and restrictions, limitations, SAR management responsibility and risk management when operating in and around animals to include canines and horses, as well as livestock and wildlife. Examples of affects will be provided and methods for training that can assist riders and handlers to be prepared and to manage the unexpected.


SAR Case Review - Jocelyn "Josh" Stohl (New England SAR Education & Consulting Services)

This presentation will provide an overview for the process of conducting case review, when to conduct a review, who participates and the benefits. Two cases will be reviewed.

Mantracking and Clue Awareness - Jocelyn "Josh" Stohl (New England SAR Education & Consulting Services)

This program will provide participants with the basic knowledge and importance of being clue aware and looking for sign. Participants will receive an introduction to the step-by-step method of following foot track.


Basic GPS TrainingBryan Courtois (Pine Tree SAR)

Basic overview of GPS, including how they work and how to customize to make them most useful. Create and edit waypoints, customize screens to make your GPS usage more efficient. Models that will be used at example will include Delorme PN60, Garmin 60Csx, Garmin 64st, and Garmin inReach Explorer. Most Garmin models will be similar.


Search Planning, Resource Deployment Strategies, & Case Studies - Lt. Kevin Adam (Maine Warden Service)
Have you ever wondered why certain resources are placed in certain areas, and at certain times? Using real searches on which MASAR teams were deployed, Lt. Kevin Adam will walk us through the search planning process.


Recognizing and Evaluating Human Remains in the Natural Environment - Dr. Marci Sorg (Forensic Anthropologist)
Review of the progression of decompositional changes in human remains in outdoor settings in Maine, including changes in the remains themselves, the environment around them, and in clothing or other evidence associated with the remains.  Includes the basics of differentiating human from nonhuman bones and recognizing scavenger patterns.


Basic Maine Wilderness Rope Rescue System Review Steve Hudson & Melissa Shea (MDI-SAR)
In this class we will review the design, construction, and operation of the basic two rope rescue system currently used by the volunteer wilderness rope rescue teams in Maine.  We'll discuss the system's components and characteristics, and the common hardware and software.  Following that, attendees will have the opportunity to build and operate the system.


Rope Rescue for Non-Rescuers - Steve Hudson & Melissa Shea (MDI-SAR)
Search team members, including mounted team riders and dog team handlers, can be of great assistance in the event that the search subject requires rescue with ropes.  In this class we will review the equipment used in wilderness rope rescues in Maine, identify common items, explain how this equipment should be handled, and explain how attendees can safely and effectively assist with a rope rescue operation.

"Fight, Flight, or Search": How Equines' Natural Instincts Make them an Ideal Air Scent Detection Resource

Lt. Robert Norman (UMPD), Ashley Norman & Sharon Kenney (Highlands SAR)
Designed for non-riders. Through discussion and video demonstrations, learn how Equine Air Scent Detection works, how it's similar to / different from K-9 Air Scent Detection, and how it can be used in conjunction with other search resources such as search dogs, grid search teams, air assets, etc.


Firearm Safety: What to do When the Search Subject Has a Firearm - Craig Gerry (Maine IF&W)

We never know what we will come across on a search. Learn how you should respond if you see a firearm while you are searching, either in the possession of the search subject or unsecured on the ground. Understand the 3 most important safety rules of firearms, be introduced to the most common firearms actions in each category, and learn/practice how to unload and secure firearms of various types.

Leadership Styles and Group Dynamics - Bryan Courtois (PTSAR)

What are the characteristics of a great leader? What are the different types of leadership styles and group dynamics, and what are the various ways a great leader use those dynamics to motivate and encourage the team? Learn how to apply different leadership styles to interact with your group, and how the group behavior will evolve over time.

Injury Prevention and Fitness for Searchers - Joshua Bridges (Fitness Director, University of Maine Campus Recreation)

Search and Rescue is a unique physical activity that requires searchers to go over, under, and through obstacles that the average outdoor recreationalist would not consider, and do so for hours on end. Learn what you can do in your everyday life, in your fitness routine, and in your training sessions to help prepare you for the search season and prevent injury... especially as the years pass. Specifically, you will learn how to build a strong core and foundation to prevent injuries and maximize your time dedicated to health and wellness. Josh will also show common minimal-equipment methods of training to specifically improve your functional capacity and improve your search and rescue abilities. As time allows, the unique nutritional needs of SAR may be discussed.


What it Takes to Train, Certify, and Deploy a SAR Dog - Michelle Fleury (Maine SAR Dogs)
Handler training, dog training and management at home, time and equipment needed, what is a working dog, how to find a working dog, industry standards for search and rescue and other detection dogs, liability issues, and how to certify a dog through MASAR.

Situational Awareness (EMS CEHs) - Jonathan Ward (PTSAR)

Situational awareness is key to safe operations in the field. Effective situational awareness is a blend of experience, observation, discipline, and intuition. Using lessons learned from other high-risk operations, this class will explore the process of developing the skills needed to utilize this important component of risk management.


Search and Rescue Field Assessments (EMS CEHs) - Evie & Paul Marcolini (FSAR)
This program will include both didactic and practical skills.  We will discuss and practice patient assessment for the backcountry setting.  How do you determine if a patient is critically ill? How do you make evacuation decisions to optimize patient outcome while maintaining rescuer safety?  These decisions are made on every rescue, and constitute the foundation of rescue medicine. 


Respiratory Emergencies and Treatment (EMS CEHs)- Evie & Paul Marcolini (FSAR)

Through case studies, we will discuss what constitutes a respiratory emergency in the wilderness.  This course will focus on evaluation and treatment to optimize patient outcome as well as evacuation decisions to maintain rescuer safety.


First Responders & Dangerous Drugs (EMS CEHs) - Chad Carlton (Maine SAR Dogs)

This presentation is designed to provide search team members with a familiarity of some of the dangerous drugs and paraphernalia they may encounter while searching for lost persons or in their everyday lives.  The objective is to give the attendee an awareness-level education on what dangerous drugs and paraphernalia could look like in the real world along with ordinary items that take on a different context when combined with drug use.  This is a lecture and PowerPoint presentation using stories and photos of illicit drugs and dangerous drug exposure situations encountered in Maine.


How NOT to have a Tick Encounter - Paula Jackson (Mid-Coast Lyme Disease Support & Education)

Tick species found in Maine, diseases that they carry (along with symptoms), 5 simple steps for prevention, and free resources should one become exposed to a tick-borne disease.


MASAR Critical Incident Stress Management - Kylie Mack (PTSAR)
MASAR now has a CISM team of 3 individuals who have been trained by the Maine Warden Service Chaplain, Kate Braestrup, to provide optional CISM services to MASAR volunteers who have undergone search-related stress. Learn what the CISM team does and how to access those resources if you need them.


Friday: Warden Alan Curtis is known for his humor.  He will talk about how he became a Game Warden, Some warden and Conservation K-9 war stories, and his experiences with North Woods Law.  As anyone who works in law enforcement knows, to quote the retired Penobscot County Sheriff Glen Ross, “Law Enforcement is a front row seat at the Greatest Show on Earth.”

Biography: Warden Curtis was born and raised in Machias and wanted to be a warden at a young age.  After graduating high school, he spent two summers fighting forest fires out west. He then worked at the Machias Fire Department, went to college and earned an Associate degree in Conservation Law Enforcement.  He then worked at the Machias Police Department for 2.5 years before he was hired as a Maine Game Warden in 2006. He has worked in Kennebunk, Newport, Topsfield and currently is stationed in Wesley. He lives in Wesley with his wife, Ashley, and 3 daughters.

Saturday: Kate Flora, Award-winning Maine mystery & crime author of 21 books, will give a keynote speech titled: 
"Telling the World What We Do: A Journey Behind the Headlines or Not Just Hobbyists Walking in the Woods: The Realities of Search and Rescue".

Description: Most people hear of SAR through brief news stories, and have no idea what goes into a rescue operation. Not of the training, not of the physical demands, and not of the joys when a rescue is successful or the sorrow when the subject isn't found alive. Kate Braestrup once jokingly referred to MESARD as "those middle-aged hobbyists with their dogs." But you know better. Part of my writing journey has been to tag along and see what your work is really like, collect stories rescue operations, and then share that with readers as naive as myself.


Biography: Flora’s fascination with people’s criminal tendencies began in the Maine attorney general’s office dealing with deadbeat dads, abused kids, and employers’ discrimination. The author of 21 books, Flora’s been a finalist for the Edgar, Agatha, Anthony, and Derringer awards and won the Public Safety Writers Association award for nonfiction and the Maine Literary Award for crime fiction. She writes the Thea Kozak amateur detective series and the Joe Burgess police procedural series, as well as nonfiction with public safety personnel. Her nonfiction includes Finding Amy, written with Portland Deputy Chief Joseph K. Loughlin; Death Dealer: How Cops and Cadaver Dogs Brought a Killer to Justice; A Good Man with a Dog: A Warden’s 25 Years in the Maine Woods, Roger Guay’s memoir; and Shots Fired: The Misunderstandings, Misconception and Myths about Police Shootings with Joseph K. Loughlin.

This conference is funded in part by the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, in which proceeds from the sale of a dedicated instant lottery ticket, currently Wild Winners, are used to support outdoor recreation and natural resource conservation. If you are a scratch ticket buyer, please consider purchasing Wild Winners to support this program!