Secretary’s Report for Calendar Year 2013
During the year the Board of Directors met at least once each month. Committees met as needed. All easement
stewardship visits were completed and documented. Board members continue to be very active in running this mostly-volunteer organization. Several educational conferences, seminars, and webinars were attended by various board members throughout the year.
The printed newsletter was distributed twice, an e-newsletter was sent monthly, the Facebook page and website were regularly updated, and we had a presence at several community festivals and association meetings to promote interest in conservation and solicit new members.
Ruth Gutman was contracted to be a membership coordinator, in a position shared with Francis Small Heritage
Trust. She focused her efforts on increasing membership, organizing the database, communicating with our membership, and increasing our presence and visibility at community events. By the end of 2013, our membership had reached 141.
Office space was secured at the York County Soil and Water Conservation District office, where we now have
a meeting place and file storage space. New resources were purchased, including a printer, GPS, Quickbooks accounting software, and Little Green Light database management software.
Negotiations were conducted on purchase of the Sousa property, a wooded parcel of over 200 acres with very
high conservation value in the Walnut Hill region of Alfred. Funding was secured through the Natural Resources Conservation Services Program and the closing set for January of 2014. The preserve will be called Walnut Hill II and will be open to the public.
Another major conservation effort was intended purchase of the development rights for Rivard Farm in Springvale. Funding was secured and significant progress was made with negotiations, but a low appraisal led the family to ultimately cancel the project which was a great disappointment for the board.
An additional success came with completion of a conservation easement on the Hutchins Farm in Shapleigh.
Enhancements were made to current fee properties held by the land trust. A parking lot was constructed on
Hobb’s Farm in Acton, where significant trail work and invasive plant removal were also accomplished. Road improvements and gate installations were completed at Walnut Hill I in Shapleigh, as required by the forest management plan.
The Land Trust continued making significant progress toward accreditation, with the accreditation
committee meeting regularly to review the land trust’s current standards and practices. We plan to apply for accreditation in the fall of 2015. The land trust continued our membership and participation in the Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative, making significant use of the advisory services of Jess Burton.
Forest Works! continued as a partnership project with Francis Small Heritage Trust and guided by a number of nonprofit and state agencies. FW! accomplishments include the creation of an interactive online map showing local areas for outdoor recreation opportunities, and a low-impact logging demo held in Limington and open to the public. Significant work was also put into a large conservation project of the Sewell
Forest, to be called the Northeast Pond Forest. Unfortunately, the project was not accomplished due to family disagreements, but there is hope of a smaller scale conservation effort in the future.
The Annual Dinner held on September 27 with three fabulous speakers and lots of good home-cooked food. The event was very well received.