A Unifying Force
This summer I spent my time at Blue Hill Heritage Trust, a land trust in Blue Hill, Maine. The trust serves several towns along the Blue Hill Peninsula in Hancock County including Blue Hill, Brooklin, Brooksville, Castine, Penobscot, Sedgwick, and Surry. As described in their mission statement, Blue Hill Heritage Trust works, “To lead in conserving land, water, and wildlife habitat on the greater Blue Hill Peninsula. To teach and practice a stewardship ethic. To promote ecological, economic, and community health for this and future generations.”
As a rising senior double majoring in Biology and Environmental Studies at Connecticut College, my studies have been focused in the sciences, including conservation biology and ecology. In my classes, I’ve learned about the benefits of land conservation and its importance to wildlife habitat and ecological systems. Working with Blue Hill Heritage Trust I got my feet wet and experienced first-hand what it’s like behind the scenes of a land trust.
This summer, I worked alongside Maine Conservation Trail Corps on a trail rehabilitation project to create a boardwalk connecting two very trafficked parts of the downtown of Blue Hill. Additionally, we worked to inventory a forest to assess its value and maturity, and also monitored easements, which involved going to each property to assess any changes.
“Working with Blue Hill Heritage Trust I got my feet wet and experienced first-hand what it’s like behind the scenes of a land trust.”
Hauling wood down a muddy trail by hand may not be the most glorious of tasks but it is all part of the process, and in addition to having built part of a boardwalk, I will be ending the summer far more physically fit than I was prior.
Working with Blue Hill Heritage Trust, I have learned more than just the scientific aspects and inner workings of the Trust. I have hiked alongside trail stewards who volunteer to hike a specific trail often and keep up on basic trail maintenance. These volunteers have willingly shared personal information ranging from stories of the trails to places where they go to meditate.
I have helped with children’s events, including the creation of a story trail, and I have heard how the children respond to the natural environment, creating imaginative stories of a mouse crossing one of the trail streams.
“The Trust serves as a unifying force to rally people around their natural surroundings…”
Other events that I attended included the Blue Hill Farmers Market, the Northern Light Women’s Wellness Fair, board meetings and the Blue Hill Heritage Trust annual meeting. I have also had the opportunity to work closely with the Development Director with fundraising and other events.
My summer with Blue Hill Heritage Trust has enabled me to see and experience the expansive reach the Trust has in its community. As I reflect on the summer, I have realized that in this rural setting all kinds of people, from local fishermen to day tourists, access the land, which has been conserved for many different reasons—for play, wildlife observation, solitude, hunting, and clam digging. The Trust serves as a unifying force to rally people around their natural surroundings that affect their daily habits.
Morgan Zenter was one of ten 2019 Maine Coast Heritage Trust Conservation Interns. She worked for Blue Hill Heritage Trust.