Boosting Local Conservation Commissions
We recently hosted the first Midcoast Conservation Commission Summit with volunteers from the five towns that cover the lower watershed of the Georges River region (Rockland, Thomaston, S. Thomaston, Owls Head, and St. George ). We met online via Zoom, and it was a great way for these volunteers to meet their colleagues.
Local conservation commissions work on a wide range of environmental issues such as outdoor access opportunities, climate change mitigation, invasive plant eradication, water quality monitoring, and dark sky initiatives. Each town chooses its own topics to focus on – always with the help of community volunteers. Conservation commissions assist town government by focusing on environmental topics of concern, and educate themselves and others.
The representatives (Rockland Parks Committee, Thomaston Conservation Commission, S. Thomaston Conservation Group, Owls Head Conservation Commission, and St. George Conservation Commission) asked each other questions, shared lessons learned, and discussed how they could collaborate together as guardians of the natural world in their communities. A common theme among the commissioners is a love of the outdoors and the desire to help people appreciate and steward our natural world.
The summit represented a milestone whereby the lower watershed region of the St. George River is now being looked after by these volunteer citizen conservation groups, a great complement to our work. At the end of the gathering, the participants decided they wanted to be able to meet periodically to help each other and share ideas. In the meantime, they have created an online chat through Groupme, where the conversations can continue.
Within our watershed, the Land Trust helps to knit all the town conservation commissions together as collectively we are working to improve the quality of life in the places where we live. This region is very fortunate to have such committed volunteers looking after the environment and ultimately the health of their communities. We are grateful to have them as partners to expand the impact of our work!