Five conservation organizations in the mid-coast region are excited to announce that they are exploring the possibility of a shared future by growing into a regional organization. The group has a vision of an organization with deeper connections to the communities they serve, which in many cases already overlap, while continuing to work on priority conservation programs. The groups involved in this exploration are the Damariscotta Lake Watershed Association, Hidden Valley Nature Center, Pemaquid Watershed Association, Sheepscot Valley Conservation Association and Sheepscot Wellspring Land Alliance.
Steve Patton, Executive Director of the Sheepscot Valley Conservation Association, said “The vision we are working toward is an organization that is larger, more efficient, and more effective without diminishing the essential grassroots connection of each organization. The new organization may also have a broader mission with greater emphasis on providing our communities with a wide range of educational and recreational opportunities.” Bambi Jones, Hidden Valley Nature Center’s Co-founder and Board member said “We are very excited about the discussions. Combining the missions of local land trusts with our focus on education, recreation, and sustainable forestry provides great possibilities for taking conservation efforts to a whole new level.”
Sheepscot Wellspring Land Alliance’s Executive Director Anna Fiedler said she “sees great potential for building on our respective areas of expertise to meet the urgent challenges we face of ensuring clean water supplies and conserving lands for the public to enjoy for generations to come.” Peggy Drake, PWA Board President said “our Board of Directors supports the ongoing discourse and discovery about the possibilities available from increased collaboration.”
Based on our deliberations to date, John Hartman, a Damariscotta Lake Watershed Association Board member said “he can clearly envision DLWA’s mission, legacy and ongoing performance being continued and enhanced to meet the lake’s future environmental challenges by DLWA becoming an integral component of a more powerful and sustainable unified organization.”
The exploration started in 2013 when some of the Executive Directors began meeting to share ideas and help one another solve problems. Early on it became apparent that there was a great deal of overlap among organizational missions and the towns they serve. The group realized that a consolidated organization would undoubtedly create efficiencies by eliminating duplicative efforts, by allowing staff to specialize in key program areas, and by enabling the new organization to develop closer ties to the communities they serve. Also exciting was the opportunity to redefine and revitalize how the organizations interact with the community.
Board members have agreed to continue the discussion with their eyes wide open and committed only to achieve the best outcome possible for each organization. The group plans on continuing the exploration through the winter and early spring and intends to have recommendations for change, if any, ready for presentation to their respective governing bodies soon thereafter. Any change in governance or structure of the organizations would require approval by each organization’s governing board as well as favorable votes by the general memberships of the participating organizations.
The exploration has been largely funded by grants from the Land Trust Alliance, The Maine Coast Heritage Trust, the Fund for Maine Land Conservation of the Maine Community Foundation and other private donors.
For further information contact:
Spokesperson for the Explorer Group