On September 1, the MCHT family lost Board Member, long-time supporter, and close friend Dr. Edmund B. 'Ned' Cabot. The son of the Trust's co-founder Thomas D. Cabot, Ned quietly exhibited a passionate and generous commitment to conserving Maine's treasured coastline and island jewels. This dedication to land conservation, in many respects, stemmed from his lifelong love of sailing and outdoor adventures along with his deep commitment to the well-being of future generations.
Even while trying to absorb the untimely loss of their colleague and friend, MCHT Board and Council Members have been reflecting on Ned's contributions to the organization. "It meant a great deal to him that his father was one of the founders of MCHT, and he saw his own role on the board as being a voice for staying true to our roots," explained past Board Chair Tom Ireland. MCHT Council Member Harold "Ed" Woodsum echoed this sentiment, "Ned was an astute and valuable steward of the vision that Peggy (Rockefeller) and his Dad had about the threats to the Maine Coast and the islands."
While Ned was always eager to remind us of MCHT's roots, his reach went well beyond words of wisdom. Not one to call attention to himself, he often devoted his time to the difficult, behind the scenes work of the organization. As a 2010 Board Resolution explained, "During his tenure on the Board, Ned readily volunteered for duty on the stewardship committee as our holdings increased and he helped tackle the essential work of the audit committee as MCHT's finances grew in their magnitude and complexity." In more recent years he had also supported the Board's Investment and Governance Committees. Making this level of commitment all the more remarkable is the fact that Ned was an active Board Member for many other organizations across the country.
Ned also left his direct mark on the Trust's coastal conservation efforts. In 2011, he and his brother worked with MCHT and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to permanently protect valuable seabird nesting habitat on Cutler's Cross Island. This personal donation, while very significant, was just a small piece of Ned's legacy. As every MCHT staff and Board member knows firsthand, his most lasting contribution will always be the tough questions he asked to ensure every project was consistent with the mission and beneficial to the members, always meeting the highest standards.
Ned's presence will be greatly missed at future board meetings and gatherings. However, his passion for land conservation and his dedication to the proud traditions of MCHT will live on through the many people he has touched throughout the organization. In the words of Ed Woodsum, "The board and the staff will, I am sure, carry on, but it will do so with a big gap in the starting line-up." Ned's passing does indeed leave a gap but his life's work also inspires all of us to step up our game; to stretch for what may seem unattainable; and to shoulder the load that he carried so well and so long.