Maine land trusts serve their communities in many ways

One of the important ways that land trusts serve their local communities is through partnerships with everything from schools to community projects. Here are some examples.

The Phillipsburg Land Trust partnered with its local elementary school to develop an outdoor classroom and an integrated arbor education. Every third grade student in the school adopts an outdoor classroom tree and then researches the tree throughout the year to learn about plant reproduction, animals that rely upon it, how decomposers work, and more.

Kennebec Land Trust hosts the Curtis Homestead forestry education program each year, where 150 students from Buckfiel, Monmouth, and Leeds learn about sustainable forestry, wildlife, and local history.

Kennebunkport ConservationTrust’s “Trust in our children” initiative includes field trips for elementary school grades, engaging projects for middle school students, and an evolving partnership with the high school’s alternative education program to provide hands-on learning opportunities to reach students struggling in the traditional classroom setting.

The Royal River Conservation Trust has supported trail and boat ramp construction on municipal parks in Durham, New Gloucester, Yarmouth, and North Yarmouth. RRCT also works with the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands to benefit Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal.

In addition to taking care of 13 miles of trails on their own properties, the Orono Land Trust looks after more than 10 miles on town owned lands.

The Damariscotta River Association maintains trails on municipal properties in Edgecomb and South Bristol, co-manages Maine’s BPL’s Dodge Point Public Reserve and Whaleback Shell Midden Historic Site, and partners with the MDIFW on the maintenance of the Sherman Marsh wildlife management area.

Maine Coast Heritage Trust donated more than 25,000 pounds of produce to Good Shepherd Food Bank and local food pantries in 2016. The produce was grown by Teen Ag Crew, a social entrepreneurial program employing students, 14 to 18 years old, in a full-time summer job where they learn the essentials of business planning, marketing, growing, harvesting, packaging, and delivering fresh produce.

Androscoggin Land Trust partners with Tree Street Youth, a program serving young people from socio-economically challenged communities in Lewiston and Auburn. Together they sponsor “learn to fish” events, a day on Androscoggin River where many cast a line for the first time and share in the excitement of landing their first catch.

Blue Hill Heritage Trust collaborates with Cynthia Winings Gallery to sponsor the “open air arts initiative,” an effort to ignite creativity in the young people who live on the Blue Hill Peninsula. Students from pre-K through 12th grade visit land trust properties, create something that expresses their inspiration, and display their work and do not show the next year.

And this is just some of the amazing work done by a land trusts all over the state of Maine. We are very blessed by them, by their work, by their volunteers, and by their donors.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.