Three Rivers Land Trust
During the year the full Board of Directors and the Executive Committee each met at least once each month. 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.
Development Director Ruth Gutman continued to take the lead on both traditional and social media outreach, fundraising, membership development, and event planning, in addition to maintaining the membership database and website. By the end of 2015, our membership had reached 195, up from 185 in 2014.
A printed newsletter was distributed once; 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. We again hosted our annual Great Maine Outdoor Weekend events at Hobbs Farm: winter fun activities in February and kite-flying in September. Our annual meeting in May featured local drinks: we had panelists from a local brewery, meadery and winery. We featured local foods at our two major events of the year: our Annual Members Dinner, and our first annual Open Farm Day Breakfast – a very well-attended pancake breakfast held as part of the Sanford Open Farm Day Trail Walk.
With the award of an MNRCP grant, we were able to purchase “Sousa B,” a 21-acre parcel abutting the Sousa Family Preserve. For woods-loving humans, it will provide parking along Wilderness Acres Drive and access to the Sousa Preserve; for Blanding’s turtles and other wildlife, it will provide a buffer to the Sousa Preserve habitat, and hopefully encourage more turtle activity on the parcel. After this acquisition, we applied for and were rewarded another MNRCP grant to conduct wetland restoration and habitat enhancement on the property, set to begin in the spring of 2016.
We continued to move forward with the Goat Hill to Shapleigh Pond conservation project, directing our focus particularly on the Romac property. We were awarded a ME Community Foundation grant toward this effort.
All 2015 easement stewardship visits were completed and documented. A thinning harvest was conducted at Walnut Hill 1 by students in the Maple Stone School forestry program, under the direction of a licensed forester and funded by NRCS. Several volunteer workdays were held at Hobbs Farm to improve the trail system, and one workday at Sousa B achieved improvements to the turtle nesting ground. Two board members received permits to assist IF&W biologist Derek Yorks in a survey of Blanding’s turtles on the Sousa Preserve and in other parts of the Walnut Hill region; the successful trapping and marking of numerous turtles, representing both genders and a wide range of ages, proved that there is indeed a thriving population in the area.
A highlight of board achievement in 2015 was the submission of a completed application for accreditation to the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. This significant effort included the drafting and adoption of many new policies, thorough review of our practices, and documentation of important organizational history and procedures. We are certainly a stronger organization as a result of the application process, and hope to hear a positive response in 2016.