2017 Best Land Trust In Maine
We are proud to announce KELT 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 in early July, 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.