This week we launch the inaugural “Midcoast Matters,” a weekly column that will highlight, and celebrate the natural world of Midcoast Maine.
Whether a local nature preserve, or your own backyard, we are surrounded by natural places and landscapes that we cherish and that instill in us a profound sense of place. As a native of the great state of Maine, I have been deeply influenced by time spent outdoors that has influenced my life and led me to be dedicated to protecting it.
In this weekly column, Midcoast Conservancy staff and others will introduce you to our nature preserves, protected lands, and many of your neighbors who made the decision to protect their own land, and how we can all do something to keep this amazing place we call home special and wild. We will feature a variety of voices from the region, each of which represent a deep understanding and appreciation for Midcoast Maine.
Midcoast Conservancy is an innovative conservation organization that protects and restores the vital lands and waters of the Midcoast region on a scale that matters.
You may ask, what does “on a scale that matters” mean? The truth is it is very subjective. Very basically, it means something different to everyone. A scale that matters to one person may be their favorite hiking spot, to another it may be their favorite fishing hole on the Sheepscot River, and another their favorite swimming spot on Damariscotta Lake, or the woods where they grew up exploring or hunting.
Others may find their sense of place on the working waterfronts harvesting clams or oysters, or along the coast soaking lobster pots. Bottom line is there is no wrong answer. The people of Maine all have a great appreciation for the outdoors, the places that hold special meaning to them, and the desire to keep Maine wild!
At Midcoast Conservancy, we protect these special places by working with our neighbors, municipalities, and a variety of partners to maintain the quality of life here in the Midcoast that is rooted in nature and community.
We work with landowners to find innovative ways to protect their land from the pressures of increasing development, and to maintain these wild places for future generations while realizing economic benefits.
We work to maintain access to our lands through a network of trail systems at over 40 of our preserves from Edgecomb to Liberty and Whitefield to Waldoboro, and provide nature workshops and skill-building activities at places like Hidden Valley Nature Center.
We also work on the water! We monitor the water quality of our local waterways, the Sheepscot and Medomak rivers and Damariscotta Lake, to ensure the waters are clean and safe for swimmers, paddlers, and fisherman. And we work to enhance and restore habitat for the variety of fish species that call the Midcoast home.
However, we cannot do this work alone. The backbone of Midcoast Conservancy, and other local non-profit organizations, is the Midcoast community. We are a community-based organization finding community-oriented solutions to protect the way of life here in the Midcoast.
And, in this space every week, we hope to provide some insights to the power of the natural world, how to get out and enjoy it, and the importance of protecting it to preserve the quality of life in this special region of Maine.
(Pete Nichols is the executive director of Midcoast Conservancy, an innovative conservation organization working to protect and restore vital lands and waters on a scale that matters. For more information, go to midcoastconservancy.org.)