BATH- The Kennebec Estuary Land Trust (KELT), headquartered in Bath, has won Down East magazine’s 2017 “Readers’ Choice” award as “Best Land Trust” in Maine. Held annually, the magazine’s competition solicits nominations from readers; winners are selected by thousands of Down East readers. Executive Director Carrie Kinne announced the award to the organization’s supporters last week, noting that this is the first year that Land Trusts were nominated, and KELT is the first winner. “Thanks to our members and friends, KELT is on track to conserve six new properties in this year alone,” Kinne explained. “We’ve focused on adding lands that are connected to existing conservation areas, adding over 500 acres in 2017 of habitat benefitting people, wildlife, and waterways.”
A member-supported organization, the land trust was founded 28 years ago and now protects over 3,500 acres of significant wild, scenic, cultural, historic, and agricultural resources within the Kennebec Estuary. In addition, KELT makes 23 miles of trails and eleven preserves available for public enjoyment. Its nature-based education programs reach more than 1200 local students, from pre-kindergarten to high school. KELT also sponsors citizen science opportunities, testing water quality in two estuary towns and counting alewives at the Nequasset Fish Ladder. These help to restore habitat and migratory passage for native Maine species. Through its LOCAL garden demonstration programs in Bath, and region-wide efforts to protect farmland, KELT enhances community resilience and food security for all local people.
Sue McLeod of Bath, President of the land trust’s Board of Directors, said “I’m proud that KELT has been recognized by the readers of Down East. KELT does so much for our local communities and, by conserving lands is this important part of Maine, is doing its part to make our land and water resilient. All of this is accomplished through our talented and energetic staff, working together with many dedicated volunteers and supporters. It’s a great organization to be a part of.”
When asked why they value KELT, other supporters reply that its programs address the basic needs of any community: land, water, food, and education. Also, in a time when children do not get outdoors as much as they used to, KELT’s outreach programs ensure that kids can “grow up with the estuary, understand its importance, appreciate it, and protect it” said one member. Volunteers mention that wide and unusual variety of opportunities to work alongside KELT staff as a result of the land trust’s openness to community needs and new opportunities.
To celebrate the award and learn more about KELT, all are invited to three “Summer Shindig” events at spectacular destinations within the Kennebec Estuary: On July 18, join KELT friends and supporters in Georgetown, at the Derecktor Robinhood Marine Center on picturesque Robinhood Cove. On August 15, enjoy the charming setting of Squam Creek Farm alongside tidal Squam Creek on Westport Island. On September 28, gather in the historic Freight Shed in Bath with its splendid views of the Kennebec River. Each location highlights the wealth and variety of natural beauty within the estuary, as well as a chance to meet others who are dedicated to conserving and sharing that beauty. Each event starts at 5:30pm. Tickets are on sale now at www.kennebecestuary.org/summertime-shindigs. Join us at a single event ($60 per person) or all three ($125 per person). The “Summer Shindigs” are KELT’s only fundraising events this year. Contact Becky Kolak at email@example.com or call 207-442-8400 with questions. For more information about KELT’s other upcoming programs, visit www.kennebecestuary.org or call (207) 442-8400.
The Kennebec Estuary Land Trust is a membership supported organization dedicated to protecting the land, water and wildlife of the Kennebec Estuary. It maintains ten preserves for public enjoyment and has protected 3,000+ acres of land since founding in 1989. FMI visit www.kennebecestuary.org or call (207) 442-8400.