I Had No Idea: It Takes a Community to Keep a Land Trust Running
by Devon Funt, 2017 Maine Coast Heritage Trust Conservation Intern
This summer I am working for Blue Hill Heritage Trust in Blue Hill, a small coastal town in Maine. Coming into this internship, I didn’t know what it meant to work for a land trust. I had been exposed to the idea in classes but didn’t have a grasp on what people working for a land trust did on a day-to-day basis.
During the interview for the position I was told that my responsibilities would “change daily” and I would have to be willing to be flexible. Even though I was uncertain of all this job would entail I remained optimistic about my summer and the types of experiences I would have. I knew I would be completing trail work, which I’d done before and enjoyed.
I thought my biggest lesson of the summer would be related to building trails or learning how to operate tools I hadn’t used before. I had no idea that my appreciation for land trusts would grow significantly—not only from learning about the stewardship aspect, but the community aspect as well. The one big thing I learned that I wasn’t anticipating was how much community involvement it takes to keep a land trust running. From volunteers to donations to even just visiting the trails—the surrounding community plays a large role in how Blue Hill Heritage Trust functions.
“I had no idea that my appreciation for land trusts would grow significantly—not only from learning about the stewardship aspect, but the community aspect as well.”
I grew up in a small town, but it wasn’t as tight knit as Blue Hill. I noticed almost immediately the extraordinary sense of community in Blue Hill and I have come to truly appreciate it during my time here. The community members all share a love for the surrounding landscapes and together are working hard to conserve the places they love in a rapidly developing coast.
The Blue Hill Heritage Trust was started by a few community members who were passionate about conserving their local land. Over the years, with support from the broader community, the Trust has gone on to protect over 9,000 acres. As someone who hopes to have a career in conservation, seeing what can come from the dedication of a few determined people and a supportive, close knit community is inspiring.
Devon Funt is a senior at Unity College majoring in Parks and Forest Resources. She’s one of five MCHT Conservation Interns. This year she’s working for Blue Hill Heritage Trust.