Monday, Feb. 11 marks the start of joint operations for the new organization to be formed by the unification of Damariscotta River Association and Pemaquid Watershed Association. On that date, the two governing boards of DRA and PWA will meet as a single board for the first time.
Both organizations are focused on land and water conservation and education and have a history of working closely together in the Damariscotta-Pemaquid region that dates back to 1991, when the two organizations pooled resources to share office space in downtown Damariscotta. This past September, their respective memberships voted overwhelmingly in favor of unification, with a start date of February 2019.
DRA Executive Director Steven Hufnagel has been named executive director of the new combined DRA-PWA organization.
The unified board of trustees will include all current members of the two parent boards, under the leadership of an executive committee with strong representation from both. Joel Russ, of DRA, and Michael Kane, of PWA, will serve, respectively, as DRA-PWA Board President and Vice President.
“I think in knitting together DRA and PWA we hit a sweet spot in terms of geographic and organizational scale,” Hufnagel said. “While becoming even more effective regionally, we remain responsive and grounded locally. Volunteers and professional staff working together provide expertise, bandwidth, and energy that neither could alone.
“For the community, this union will mean more connected high-quality natural areas where wildlife can thrive, more and easier-to-access trails, more outdoor programs for youth and adults, more conserved farmland on which to grow healthy food for our neighbors, and more water-quality monitoring in our local waterways,” Hufnagel said.
DRA-PWA has not yet chosen a new name. The organization has reached out to members and supporters to brainstorm ideas, with prizes for contributing. Announced last week, the invitation has already yielded dozens of suggestions. Ideas for a name for the unified organization may be submitted online at damariscottariver.org/your-name-here.
When completed later in the spring, the renovated and rebuilt 1890 farmhouse at Round Top Farm will serve as the organization’s new home, a community hub for conservation and education.
For more information about DRA, call 563-1393, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to damariscottariver.org. For PWA, call 563-2196, email email@example.com, or go to pemaquidwatershed.org.