A Message in Response to Recent Events from MLTN Leadership

Dear Friends,

While moving through our normal tasks in recent weeks, a new thread of urgency has woven its way through our work. The Maine land conservation community is raising its voice against the racial inequity and violence that has gripped this country for too long. Yet it is difficult to know how best to respond in this extraordinary moment and move productively forward in our missions to conserve Maine’s natural spaces for all to access and enjoy. There are no easy answers as to the best path forward.  As we struggle with how to best engage in efforts to facilitate change, we come up with more questions than answers, but we are all in agreement that silence is not an option, and that action is necessary.

While injustice and systemic racism are as old as America, our nation has reached a new inflection point, and what appears to be a catalytic moment. Our hope is that even amidst so much pain and suffering, positive change will come from this widespread reckoning. We are committed to being part of that positive change and invite all of you to join us in that commitment. We salute those of you who are further along this road than we feel ourselves to be.

Our organizations bear witness to and condemn the acts of violence committed against Black men and women in America. We also acknowledge the many other ways racism and prejudice do daily harm to people of color, Indigenous people, and other communities in Maine and across the country. Injustice and systemic racism pervade all aspects of society, including the land conservation community, and it is no longer an option to turn a blind eye or leave the obvious unsaid and unexamined.

The events of the past weeks remind us that there is a long way to go to listen, learn, and act to address these and other complex issues, and the way they impact our land conservation work. We are committed to the journey and are ready to be active partners in identifying problems and making necessary changes within the land conservation community.

We hope these words ring true for you, and that you will join us in these efforts. Our organizations are committed to doing the work it takes to be more diverse, inclusive and equitable. Let’s work together to make that vision become a reality.

Angela Twitchell, Executive Director
Brunswick Topsham Land Trust
Chair, Maine Land Trust Network

Doreen MacGillis, Executive Director
York Land Trust
Vice-Chair, Maine Land Trust Network

Tim Glidden, President
Maine Coast Heritage Trust

William Abbott, Executive Director
Upper Saco Valley Land Trust

Katrina Van Dusen, Executive Director
Freeport Conservation Trust

David Miller, Executive Director
Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust

Tom Aversa, President
Sebasticook Regional Land Trust

Rachelle Curran Apse, Executive Director
Presumpscot Regional Land Trust

Marian Claxton, Board Vice-President
Androscoggin Land Trust

Linnell Mather, Executive Director
Vinalhaven Land Trust

Aaron Dority, Executive Director
Frenchman Bay Conservancy

Lisa Linehan, Executive Director
Kittery Land Trust

Lee Dassler, Executive Director
Western Foothills Land Trust

Tom Duffus, Vice President and Northeast Rep
The Conservation Fund

Lucy Quimby, President
Bangor Land Trust

Erika Rowland, Executive Director
Greater Lovell Land Trust

Matt Markot, Executive Director
Loon Echo Land Trust

Cindy Krum, Executive Director
Cape Elizabeth Land Trust

Chris Cabot, Executive Director
Chebeague & Cumberland Land Trust

Ed Friedman, Chair
Friends of Merrymeeting Bay

Reed Coles, Executive Director
Harpswell Heritage Land Trust

Ian Stewart, Executive Director
Coastal Mountains Land Trust

Shona Crabtree, President
Crabtree Neck Land Trust

Tom Gilmore, President
Great Works Regional Land Trust

Andrew Beahm, Executive Director
Maine Audubon

Amy Titcomb, President
Three Rivers Land Trust

Richard Rottkov, President
South Portland Land Trust

Robert O’Brien, President
Mahoosuc Land Trust

Theresa Kerchner, Executive Director
Kennebec Land Trust

Brenda Cummings, President
Phippsburg Land Trust

Paul Miller, Executive Director
Island Heritage Trust