- Category: President
- Hits: 2443
December 10, 2012
We’ve had a great year at the Woodie Wheaton Land Trust thanks to your support.
This summer the Trust advanced the cause of conservation and environmental education through our annual lecture/field trip series. This year’s highly attended events included three fly tying seminars by local guides, Syd Lea reading stories from his new book about the North Country, and Donn Fendler reliving his experience of being lost on Mt. Katahdin as a boy. Canoe trips to the Booming Out Grounds Ecological Reserve led by ecologist Janet McMahon and a tour of the 65,000 acre Spednic Lake Protected Natural Area led by Lee Sochasky informed us about environmental and political issues of timely importance. Securing the funding to sustain these important educational programs is a priority of the Land Trust.
Promoting our outdoor heritage and conservation with youth is essential if the next generation is to value the land and waters we have protected since our inception in 1994. Last spring WWLT board members and staff assisted the Chiputneticook Lakes International Conservancy board members with their landlocked salmon stocking program on East Grand Lake. Guides prepared a traditional shore lunch and demonstrated streamer fly tying while over 100 grade school students assisted Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife staff releasing salmon parr the students raised in school aquariums over the winter. WWLT also provided financial support and volunteers for the day-long outdoor adventure race sponsored by the East Grand School Outdoor Education Program.
This year we focused a great deal of attention on conservation of the Canadian shore by formalizing a cross border working relationship with the Nature Trust of New Brunswick. This effort establishes a framework to explore conservation opportunities and funding for potential projects over the entire length of the St. Croix River, including the Chiputneticook Chain of Lakes. Our relationship with NTNB has already opened doors with the Province of New Brunswick to participate in policy discussions regarding land use on Crown Lands. We have offered written testimony about increasing Protected Natural Areas, clarified exchange policies for lands bordering East Grand Lake, and raised the awareness of on-going cross border conservation efforts in Maine.
Our summer educational and outreach efforts are closer to implementation thanks to grants from two local banking institutions that will help complete the Land Trust Center’s upstairs apartment. Housing is the first of two critical needs in our educational and outreach efforts. Funding a summer intern program is second.
Building the capacity of WWLT to sustain the business of conservation is one of the most important investments we can make. Efforts begun in 2012 will strengthen our management and governance including sharpening administrative and executive abilities, broadening and diversifying funding, developing a planned giving program, and addressing board succession. Another major goal of this effort will be to find ways to better inform and meet the needs of our membership¾the cornerstone of the Land Trust.
Your contribution will help continue the lecture/field trip series, our educational and outreach efforts, and our ongoing responsibility to conserve the lands and waters of the St.Croix Watershed. We are especially thankful for your past support and ask that you consider a generous end of year gift.
Elbridge G. Cleaves
2011 has been a very productive year for the Woodie Wheaton Land Trust. We believe The Conservation Fund (The Fund) will soon acquire 12.200-acres of the East Grand Watershed Inititative lands, a project envisioned by WWLT in 2006. The lands located in the towns of Orient and Weston; include thirty miles of undeveloped shoreline on six lakes and Monument Brook, a deer wintering area of state-wide significance, hundreds of acres of high quality wading bird habitat, public access for outdoor recreation, and forestland that will continue to provide local jobs.
Since 2010 WWLT has worked with The Fund to build consensus and support with local communities. We have also been deeply involved and substantially invested in the formation, planning, negotiation, and acquisition phases of the project. The Conservation Fund, with our assistance, has moved this project forward through an outstanding proposal to the Federal Forest Legacy Program. The culmination of all of these efforts leading to outright acquisition will be a huge win toward landscape-scale conservation in the East Grand Lake area.
WWLT is now positioned to refocus our efforts within the watershed. These efforts include permanent protection of the extensive undeveloped shoreline of East Grand Lake in Canada, partnering with other organizations to improve fish and wildlife habitat, promoting youth and community involvement in conservation, and securing permanent public access to lakes and ponds within the watershed. WWLT will continue to elevate the importance of our outdoor heritage through field trips and programs offered at the Land Trust Center.
As we look toward 2012 and beyond, we are especially thankful for your past support and ask that you consider a generous end of year gift. This will help us finish outstanding financial obligations to the East Grand Watershed Initiative and support both ongoing and future conservation projects in the Chiputneticook Lakes Region.
Elbridge Cleaves, President.
The Woodie Wheaton Land Trust has experienced a busy and productive summer and fall! Our speakers forum/field trip series was well attended and drew positive feedback. Our WWLT Center office is up and running, with lots of hard work from board member, Art Wheaton, and office manager, Patty BuBar. Most of the needed equipment and furnishings are now in place, and we have begun landscaping the grounds, a task that will be completed next spring, welcomed four new board members at the August annual meeting: Jeff Bursaw, Norm Eykel, Bruce Hoyt, and Phil McLellan. Many thanks to Dave Hentosh, Steve Keith, and Chris Madigan, all of whom stepped down as directors this year. Steve remains involved by serving as project coordinator for our East Grand Watershed Initiative, while Leslie Hudson coordinates fundraising activities for the East Grand project and other WWLT needs.
Much of our time and energy the past few months has been invested in the East Grand Watershed Initiative, a project to conserve more than 12,000 acres around Monument Brook and North, East Grand, Longley, Deering, Brackett, and Sucker Lakes. This collaboration between the land trust, the towns of Orient and Weston, The Conservation Fund, the state of Maine, and Wagner Forest Management represents a tremendous opportunity to protect the undeveloped character of the upper St. Croix watershed. We are currently exploring some innovative ideas to strengthen the local economy through this initiative, and we look forward to reporting more progress in the spring – and hopefully the launch of a major capital campaign!
Greenland Island on East Grand Lake is a very special place that is loved by many, as portrayed in a brief history by Art and Dale Wheaton (below). We have worked hard to draw significant support from individuals and foundations to complete the Greenland Island campaign. Now, as we wrote in our summer newsletter, we seek to pay off the mortgage and establish a modest stewardship fund to ensure the island is cared for into the future. We would greatly appreciate your tax-deductible donation to the Woodie Wheaton Land Trust in support of Greenland Island, the East Grand Watershed Initiative, and any and all of our various activities. Like you, we treasure these lakes and this special part of Maine and New Brunswick. We thank you for your past support and hope we can count on you for a generous year-end gift!
Elbridge G. Cleaves, President
WWLT Board of Directors
November 20, 2009
Thanks to your generous support the Woodie Wheaton Land Trust now has a home. (See the photo on our Home Page). The Woodie Wheaton Land Trust Center was officially dedicated last August at our annual meeting. We want to express our profound gratitude to all of you who made this possible. We simply could not have done it without you! If you have not already visited this beautiful new building, you should do so the next time you are in the Forest City area.
We still have a distance to go to finish furnishing and landscaping the building and pay off our line of credit. Please help us match the $25,000 C.F. Adams Charitable Trust new member challenge by December 31st of this year. Each contribution from a new member will be matched, dollar for dollar by the C.F. Adams Charitable Trust, until we raise $25,000 which will yield a total of $50,000 toward the cost of completing the construction and furnishing of the WWLT Center. To help us meet this challenge, please consider giving a gift of membership in the WWLT to someone you know who is not yet a member of WWLT. Of course, we welcome all gifts from current WWLT members as well!
Many of you enjoyed last summer’s inaugural speaker and field trip series. In the coming months, we plan to expand on this successful launch with a wider range of programs, including a collaboration with the East Grand School in Danforth.
In September, Executive Director Paul First decided to step down, taking a job closer to home. We wish Paul well in his new role as town planner in New Gloucester. In October, we welcomed Sigrid Pickering as our new executive director. Some of you may know her from her extensive conservation work in Maine and throughout the Northeast.
With your help, the Woodie Wheaton Land Trust continues to conserve important places in the Chiputneticook Lakes area so they will be there for us as well as future generations. We are currently exploring the potential for our most ambitious conservation project yet within the East Grand Watershed.
As this holiday season approaches, we hope you will make a special effort to recognize our 15 years of accomplishments, and help us wrap up the building campaign so we can pursue a promising future. Please give as generously as you can to help us grow into our new home. As a nonprofit organization, contributions to the Woodie Wheaton Land Trust are tax-deductible.
Thank you and have a wonderful holiday season!
With best regards,
Elbridge C. Cleaves, President
President's Letter to the Membership
July 12, 2007
With our Annual Meeting approaching, it’s time to update you on the recent efforts of the Woodie Wheaton Land Trust.
The Land Trust was recently presented with an opportunity to acquire a small conservation property located in the Town of Orient on North Lake, including 300 feet of waterfront. The property is strategically important, as it represents a foot-hold in the Chipuneticook Chain headwaters and positions the Trust as an abutter to the single largest privately owned tract of “at risk” shoreland in our area. Additionally, the property encompasses the tip of a wetland complex that according to Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife offers high value waterfowl and wading bird habitat. Currently, we are working to resolve a title issue which is holding up the Trust’s purchase of the property. Although it’s too early to say, we are hoping for a successful conclusion.
In other news, we are making progress on our conservation center. State building permits are finally within sight, and the board has reviewed a newly created vision statement that recognizes the Land Trust Center as a significant enabler of our future conservation work. In addition to generous member contributions to the project, in May we received a $5,000.00 grant from the Davis Conservation Foundation.
While we will soon be conducting a dedicated mailing for the Land Trust Center we remain diligent to our primary focus of land conservation. The Trust is continuing its “East Grand Watershed Initiative,” building a base of support along North, East Grand, Longley, Brackett, and Deering Lakes that we believe will inevitably be called into action. The Trust is also working hard to acquire some sensitive lake access points that are strategically important to the enjoyment of our area’s natural heritage.
One final item, this past May the board held a facilitated workshop to develop the content of our new strategic plan. We are now wrapping up the final edits prior to board adoption. The strategic plan will help ensure that WWLT is well positioned to meet the challenges ahead.
You are invited to come and celebrate with us at the 2007 Woodie Wheaton Land Trust Annual Meeting, to be held August 12th, at the Grange Hall in Weston, Maine. Dinner will be served at 5:00 to be followed by a one hour business meeting.
Most importantly, our board of directors would like to sincerely thank all of you for your past and continued support. Working together we can succeed in conserving many of the special places here in the Chiputneticook Lakes for future generations to enjoy and cherish!
January 29, 2007
Friends and Neighbors,
As fellow stakeholders in the Chiputneticook lakes area, we believe the most critical economic and environmental issue to impact our world is at hand. It demands the attention of us all.
Waterfront property is now the most highly sought natural resource in Maine. Opportunities, consequences, and irreversible changes are inevitable. While regulatory oversight has some control over land use, current regulations and local resources are woefully inadequate for today’s pressures. It is imperative that we do not allow the value of our natural landscapes to be driven to extinction by the monetary value of development in the marketplace. The reality is that this demand will change our world and there is only one window of opportunity to “get it right.”
Our immediate concern is the remaining undeveloped portions of East Grand, Brackett, and Longfellow Lakes (see attached map). In Maine, we have a private non-industrial landowner, who appears to be very close to capitalizing on this extraordinary waterfront demand. In Canada, even though the Province appears to be non-development minded, public demand may overcome the will to protect.
The Woodie Wheaton Land Trust is a group of local citizens, like you, working together to protect Maine’s Chiputneticook chain of lakes. We buy waterfront land and build conservation partnerships. Our conservation efforts on Spednic Lake, Mud Lake, the St. Croix River, and in the immediate Forest City area of East Grand have been very successful.
Now is the time to pursue a Greater East Grand Lake Conservation Initiative. We know success is possible only if diverse interests come together toward a common cause. We acknowledge that our organization alone does not represent all stakeholders, or necessarily the optimal outcome. But, the “right outcome” must be chosen by consensus and sought now.
Therefore, it is imperative that you become engaged in this effort. The stakes are extremely high. We welcome your input and ask that you join us in this challenge. We are committed to working toward a solution that betters local communities without jeopardizing our natural heritage. If we fail the outcome is predictable.
Enclosed you will find information about the WWLT and our ongoing conservation efforts. We hope that you will join us in a dialogue that will lead to action and success. Thank you.
Elbridge G. Cleaves
December 13, 2006
It is a privilege to serve those who believe in preserving and protecting a portion of things natural from those made to fit our modern life style. This privilege is especially meaningful when the shared belief includes our natural heritage found along the shorelines and forests of the Chiputneticook chain of lakes.
Through the efforts of a few hard working people who are motivated and empowered by your faithful participation, the WWLT has enjoyed great success, extending conservation outward from its roots in Forest City to the shorelines of Spednic Lake and the St. Croix River.
It would be tempting to relax and enjoy the fruits of this collective labor, but life is not static and neither is the competition for those same natural values that we cherish and enjoy. The landscape on which we now concentrate is large, complex in use, and more at risk than ever before. Much land ownership is governed solely by return on investment with a major focus on those same natural resources that we value and cherish. This landscape, the goals of ownership, and the diverse and potentially conflicting uses, present both challenges and opportunities. Conservation has become very expensive, collaborative, and extremely business intensive--and so must our mission.
We are embarking on some ambitious endeavors to best position the WWLT to meet these present challenges and to be prepared for the future. Our Board will be undertaking a strategic planning effort this coming winter and spring to ensure that all of our resources from human capital to the fruits of our land trust Center project will be used most wisely in the mission of land conservation. We appreciate greatly your past and continued support of our efforts. Please do not hesitate to let us know if you have any questions, thoughts, or concerns about WWLT and these exciting times.
I hope that you enjoy our newly formatted newsletter. (reproduced below)
Elbridge G. Cleaves