Myla, what are you doing this summer?

Almost every day, whether in the surf lineup or on the mountain biking trails, people keep asking me “Myla, what are you doing this summer at your Androscoggin Land Trust internship?” Depending on my mood or the time of day, my answers vary:


“Oh, well I’ve been making GIS maps of a new Androscoggin Land Trust property.”

“I learned to use a chainsaw and built a bridge and picnic tables.”

“I went to a city planning meeting with officials and saw how cities are planned.”

“I walked a beautiful riverfront property and learned about the legal intricacies of land trusts.

“I’ve learned to identify types of ferns and variety of birdcalls.”

“I am planning community events, marketing them, and meeting incredible people every day.”

“I worked the Lewiston Farmers’ Market and got a friendship bracelet from a little girl.”

“I get to work outside in the most stunning places in our state.”

And last, but certainly not least, “I’m working with four incredible local Lewiston-Auburn girls building an ADA-accessible trail at Camp Gustin and teaching them all about land trusts and environmental science!”

I guess you could say no two days look the same…maya 2

Getting a glimpse into the intricacies of land trusts has made my appreciation for Maine’s public lands and trails grow tenfold. These trails aren’t just here by chance. There are many hardworking people behind the scenes maintaining them to ensure they are accessible for everyone. Stewarding the trails is just part of the work that goes on within a land trust. There are also folks advocating for land conservation, raising money, jumping through endless legal hoops, engaging the community, and so much more!

At, two small but mighty powerhouses of women are running the show. The Amy-Aimee duo is not to be messed with; they are intelligent, hard-working, and passionate women. They are conserving land and creating tangible change in the greater Androscoggin County area.

Like most, I have been taught to appreciate conservation from an ecosystem services perspective: Conserved lands provide natural habitats for native species, regulate the climate, control flood and erosion, and culturally, offer endless recreational and spiritual opportunities.

While I continue to appreciate this perspective, I have learned that one of the less talked about benefits of conservation is how it connects communities and brings people from all walks of life together. Before a place is protected, people rally together and advocate tirelessly for its preservation. Forever after, people gather on the trails, taking in all that it has to offer.

So, the next time you ask someone in the land trust world what they do, please thank them and know that they are a double agent, doing more for the community than you can even begin to imagine.

More Stories from the Coast