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HHLT Gets a Website Makeover

Tim McCreight
October 7, 2022

Though it’s been less than 30 years, few of us can remember the days before the internet. How did we figure out what time it is in London, or remember the name of the actor who played Beaver Cleaver before the early search engines? The words “technology” and “information” rarely appeared together, but now many of us know someone who works in an industry called “IT.”

In 2001, an enthusiastic board member created a website for Harpswell Heritage Land Trust and secured our Universal Resource Locator (URL). Curiously, another land trust in upstate New York called the Hudson Highlands Land Trust had already claimed www.hhlt.org (and they graciously continue to forward emails meant for us but sent to the hhlt.org domain by accident). Thus our web address includes the name of our state (www.hhltmaine.org). Five years later, the trust hired a professional designer to build a larger site, which was launched in May 2007. In 2014, another major update was made to the website and Julia McLeod took over management of the site, adding resources and materials each year.

It is obvious that the internet has grown and continues to expand at mind-boggling speed. It’s also true that our ability to access and navigate the internet expands too. Most of us have better reach, faster speeds, and regularly turn to the internet for information, entertainment, news, and weather reports. Gathering a collection of diverse materials into a structure that is not only effective but intuitive is a huge challenge, and it’s one the land trust took on over the last six months.

If you haven’t visited us online recently, please take a look. The address is the same (www.hhltmaine.org), but the look and structure of the site is altogether new. The first thing you will notice are the photos — large, bright and lots of them. Next you’ll see a primary navigation bar at the top of the screen that shows five categories to explore. Get Outdoors will take you to a map of the area, with pins at each preserve and trail. A click on any trail gives a description, icons to indicate difficulty, length, pet access and so on. Further along you’ll find a trail map and often a story about the preserve.

The next tab, Programs & Events, will keep you apprised of opportunities for guided walks, lectures and celebrations. The Resources tab opens the door to a plethora of stories and articles about local history, wildlife, our coastal culture, and much more. Support and About offer background on the land trust and opportunities to volunteer and donate.

The new website design was created by Perch Design Studio, a small local company, and overseen by Julia and Development Associate Amelia Graham working with the volunteer Communications Committee. We are pleased to say that virtually all of the hundreds of articles written over the years were carried over to the new site.

The mission of the land trust hasn’t changed. Like the vital forests and ancient waters it protects, the trust is simultaneously constant and yet always adapting to new opportunities. In a similar way, how the trust appears online balances a dynamic new look with the wealth of information you’ve come to depend on. We hope you’ll share our excitement next time you visit the site!