ELLSWORTH, Maine — The Nature Conservancy is in the final stages of a $100 million fundraising campaign to support a broad range of initiatives across Maine.
Dubbed the “Sustainable Maine, Sustainable Planet” campaign, the fundraiser will finance several ongoing projects as well as support future endeavors. During the past five years, the organization already has raised $97 million of the $100 million goal through donations from 14,000 people.
The formal, public launch of the “Sustainable Maine, Sustainable Planet” campaign will be this Sunday, which is Earth Day.
In a release announcing the Earth Day launch, The Nature Conservancy called the fundraiser the “widest-reaching effort to protect Maine’s lands and waters that has been mounted in the state’s history.”
“By 2050, there will be nine billion people sharing this planet. The demands on our natural resources will be unprecedented,” Mike Tetreault, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Maine, said in a statement. “But we can make a tangible difference for Maine people and Maine places if we all come together to work at the scale of nature and to protect the lands and waters that we all need.”
The projects supported by the campaign includes:
• The multiparty effort to restore the Penobscot River to a more natural state by removing two dams and bypassing a third. Work on the first dam is expected to begin this summer.
• Preserving natural areas to create buffers near densely populated regions, such as in the Saco River and Kennebec River valleys.
• Completion of the roughly 400,000-acre conservation package tied to Plum Creek’s 30-year development plan for the Moosehead Lake region.
• Programs that bring urban youths to Maine each summer to expose them to conservation work and to develop leadership skills.