← Back to News and Updates

Year in Review: 2021

Harpswell Heritage Land Trust
February 9, 2022

While reflecting back on 2021, we wanted to take this opportunity to share our accomplishments. We are deeply grateful for the volunteers, donors, trustees, and staff who enable our continued success.

butterfly on girl's finger

Nature Day Camp (Grace Gilbert photo)

Here is a list of Harpswell Heritage Land Trust accomplishments in 2021:

  • After a successful and short fundraising campaign, we closed on our new Strawberry Creek Preserve in early 2021. This new acquisition protects a beautiful property along the Harpswell shoreline, valuable habitat for wildlife and fisheries, an iconic view that community members know and love, and clean marine waters.
  • We have embarked on fundraising for our next acquisition, which is a remarkable 57-acre property on Great Island offered at a generous bargain sale by its owners. Several other conservation projects are in the works.
  • We offered a monthly webinar series in 2021 that brought much interest and participation. We found that offering webinars allowed a broader population to join, even those far afield.
  • We enjoyed returning to some of our pre-pandemic in-person events, including small group guided walks and our winter and summer solstice celebrations, both of which were well-attended and appreciated.
  • After canceling our popular Nature Day Camp in 2020, we returned with a bang. We responded to the intense demand from families to return to some form of normal by increasing our camp sessions from eight to 12. Even with the increase, we had a lengthy waiting list. It was a joyful summer for the 171 children who participated in camp, including lots of hands-on exploration of the Harpswell shoreline and strong connections with their leaders and friends, both new and old. We worked with a local pediatrician to ensure that our camp was safe, and we had no known Covid-19 exposures.
  • Even during the pandemic, we continued to engage all students at Harpswell Community School (our local K-5 public school) with innovative hands-on, nature-based science education. During this school year, all students have and will continue to participate in hands-on learning addressing the grade level science standards in the woods near the school, as well as a year-long series in nature-based play, exploration, and engineering.
  • We completed our second year of the “This Week in Harpswell” photo project, gathering and sharing incredible images documenting Harpswell in all four seasons.
  • We continue to deepen and expand our community partnerships. We believe that partnerships are one of the best ways to move toward deeper equity and inclusion. We are especially excited about a new partnership with the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, the Harpswell Anchor, the Holbrook Community Foundation, and the Cundy’s Harbor Library.
  • We have continued to see high usage of our trails and preserves, with more people spending healthy, active time outside enjoying nature.
  • Our dedicated and talented volunteers continue to support all that we do. In 2021, 172 volunteers contributed more than 2,215 volunteer hours. These volunteers include our trail and preserve stewards, who maintain trails, stock brochure boxes, build new bog bridges, paint blazes, and so much more. We are excited to be working with an Eagle Scout to add a loop to an existing trail.
  • We experienced remarkable growth in membership in 2021, with a seven percent increase in members and a 46 percent increase in total membership gifts from 2020.
  • Finally, we continue to grow as an organization, adding more capacity, breadth, and depth to our work. We are now at 3.5 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff, including a full-time Executive Director, a full-time Development Associate and three half-time positions: Lands and Stewardship Director, Office Administrator, and Stewardship Coordinator. We plan to bring on an eight hour/week Programs Assistant this year as well as four camp leaders and a seasonal monitor for Stover’s Point Preserve. A year ago we were a staff of 3 FTE year-round employees. Five years ago we were just 1.6 FTE employees.

We are looking forward to continued growth and success in 2022! As always, we welcome your input and participation! Please reach out to us with your ideas and concerns at 207-721-1121 or info@hhltmaine.org.