On the Mission
July 16, 2021 | For Love of the Coast | Community Impact, Ecology & Wildlife, Land Protection, Public Access, Staff
Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) conserves and stewards Maine’s coastal lands and islands for their renowned scenic beauty, ecological value, outdoor recreational opportunities, and contribution to community wellbeing. MCHT provides statewide conservation leadership through its work with land trusts, coastal communities, and other partners.
Our board chair Tom Armstrong asks someone to read Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s mission statement at every board meeting. No matter what’s on the agenda, no matter how pressed we are for time, I always find it valuable to pause and hear those words spoken out loud. Every time I do, I’m reminded of how deep MCHT’s roots go and how our branches continue to grow.
Since MCHT was founded in 1970, this mission statement has changed little while the context in which we do our work has changed a great deal. Threats to the environment and biodiversity have always been a concern of this organization, but in our rapidly changing climate, the problems and our response to these threats has become increasingly complex. While the loss of open, undeveloped coastal lands inspired the creation of MCHT 50 years ago, the need and desire for places to get outside and access the coast has only become greater over the decades—particularly now, in the wake of the pandemic.
While serving as MCHT’s president over the past ten years, I’ve seen this organization adapt and stretch in remarkable and necessary ways to remain true to its mission. We’ve also weathered tremendous challenges, which is not in and of itself an accomplishment, but rather an indicator of the organization’s strength, agility, and competence over the long haul.
Thanks to you and others who support MCHT year after year, we have capacities today that we didn’t dream about 50 years ago. Decades of investment and relationship building in communities up and down the coast are yielding powerful partnership projects that show how land conservation can help solve problems ranging from the loss of traditional water access for clammers to food insecurity. MCHT has become the state leader in creating more permanent public access to the coast and has launched several initiatives designed to make the coast more resilient to climate change.
This organization is as strong and impactful as it’s ever been. With every faith in a bright future for Maine Coast Heritage Trust, and after ten years of the most fulfilling work of my life, I have decided that the time has come for me to step down as president by the end of this year. It has been a rare and deep honor to get to know you over these years and to work alongside you on behalf of the Maine coast. Thank you for everything. I remain your partner in the mission to keep the coast open, healthy, working, and beautiful—now and forever.
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