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Accomplishments in 2016 and Plans for 2017

posted Jan 26, 2017, 4:58 PM by South Portland Land Trust

Ten Best Accomplishments in 2016



The South Portland Land Trust Board of Directors is proud to announce the ten best accomplishments last year in achieving our mission to expand trail networks and conserve open space in our community!


  • Dow's Woods protected: Former Land Trust President Steve Jocher signed the conservation easement securing into perpetuity the 9.2-acre Dow's Woods Nature Preserve.  This followed South Portland Planning Board approval on August 23rd.
  • Sawyer Park funding: The Land Trust received almost $100,000 in donations from members of Congregation Bet Ha'am for initial improvements and ongoing maintenance of the new Sawyer Park at the corner of Main and Westbrook Streets in Thornton Heights.
  • Successful plant sale fundraiser: The annual plant sale fundraiser that the Land Trust hosts with the Community Garden Collective each year raised almost $1,000 more than last year!
  • More reached at annual meeting: The South Portland Land Trust Annual Meeting in November hosted more members than any other annual meeting in the board's collective memory and served as a successful forum for gathering input and updating membership.
  • New education program: Land Trust board members Sarah Stickney and Heather Drake started a new "Get to Know Your Trails" event series, at which attendees experience and learn the history of highlighted trails in South Portland.
  • Successful 5k fundraiser despite weather: The Bug Light 5K Run & Walk experieced a great show of participation despite the unseasonably low temperature and driving rain.
  • New Program Manager hired: The Land Trust Board of Directors successfully hired and trained new Program Manager, Dugan Murphy of Nuf Sed, who hit the ground running last March.
  • New scholarship program: Land Trust board member Bethany Woodworth created a new scholarship program for South Portland High School seniors involved in environmental stewardship.
  • Engaged city council candidated: Land Trust board members Richard Rottkov and Steve Jocher organized a forum focused on environmental issues for South Portland City Council candidates.  The Land Trust organized similar events in 2008 and 2009.
  • Organizational assessment completed: The board of directors sought consultation from professionals connected to the Maine Coast Heritage Trust in assessing the strength of the Land Trust's internal organization.  This process provided the board with a checklist of improvements to increase the organization's sustainability in achieving its mission.

Looking Forward to 2017



In planning our events, projects, and programs for 2017, the South Portland Land Trust Board of Directors would like to share these highlights.  Save the dates on your calendar and look for details to be announced later in the year!


  • Improvements to Sawyer Park: South Portland Land Trust Board President Kate Lewis is helping to lead the effort in collaboration with Congregation Bet Ha'am and the South Portland Parks Department to plan for and complete improvements to Sawyer Park this year, including a playscape for young children that could open this spring.
  • Growing stewardship of South Portland's trails: The board of directors recently decided to focus in 2017 on enhancing stewardship of South Portland's trail system.  This may include more frequent monitoring, cleanup activities, and/or maintenance events.  We will need community volunteers to adopt trails that they will monitor and help maintain.  If you are interested in helping to monitor, clean, and maintain trails in South Portland, please reply to this email with your interest so we can help you get involved.
  • Improved access to Dow's Woods: Now that public access to Dow's Woods Nature Preserve has been secured, we will be working to build out trail access into the area as the nearby housing development takes shape.
  • "Get to Know Your Trails" continues: Land Trust board members Heather Drake and Sarah Stickney will continue the "Get to Know Your Trails" series with events tentatively planned in March, July, and December.
  • Earth Day: We plan to host a trail cleanup event on April 22 in recognition of Earth Day.
  • Plant Sale: We are planning with the Community Garden Collective to host the ever-popular plant sale this May as a fundraiser for both organizations.
  • National Trails Day: We plan to host an event on June 3 to highlight one or more of South Portland's public trails.  The event will coincide with National Trails Day.
  • Greendrinks: We will be hosting a social event and fundraiser in collaboration with Portland Greendrinks on August 8 at Southern Maine Community College.
  • National Public Lands Day: We will be hosting a trail maintenance event on September 30 to coincide with National Public Lands Day.