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Letter from the President: Leadership Transitions at Harpswell Heritage Land Trust

Wendy Batson
May 31, 2022

In February, Reed Coles, our executive director for the last 16-plus years, became our part-time Director of Lands and Stewardship, and Julia McLeod stepped up to become our Acting Executive Director.  Much excitement all around!

Reed, who turned 77 this year, is delighted by the changes – he gets time to focus on laying out his vision for future conservation possibilities until he retires at the end of the year.  It’s a great pleasure, says he, to celebrate Julia’s ascension as he believes she has the drive, skills, and local knowledge to fulfill HHLT’s mission and strengthen it as an organization.  We are all confident that HHLT will continue to thrive under her leadership.

Many of you already know Julia, a native Mainer and graduate of the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, who has served the trust as Outreach Coordinator and Outreach Director since 2012.  During her tenure, she’s expanded our community outreach and education programming and has brought hands-on, outdoor science education to children at Harpswell Community School, giving students an understanding of the world around them that will foster lifelong support for conservation.

HHLT staff from left to right: Katie Neal, Priscilla Seimer, Julia McLeod, Reed Coles, and Amelia Graham.

We welcome other changes as well:  Katie Neal has moved into a half-time position as our Office Administrator to keep us running behind the scenes. You’ll still find Priscilla Seimer, our Stewardship Coordinator, out on the trails and preserves, working with volunteers to keep them welcoming and safe for visitors.  Amelia Graham now serves as our full-time Development Associate, overseeing our fundraising and communications activities. We have just hired Debbie Forester as our part-time, year-round Programs Assistant to manage program planning and registration. In the summer we will bring on leaders for Nature Day Camp and Stover’s Point Preserve monitors.

The trustees and staff feel well-positioned to serve the people and wildlife of Harpswell and to focus on what role the land trust can play in two issues of growing importance in Harpswell: climate change and access to the shore in a time of increasing development pressures.

From the board of trustees to you, thank you so much for your support. We are so grateful for this incredible community!