25th Anniversary Campaign
Year by year, acre by acre, the founding vision of Vinalhaven Land Trust continues to be realized. Today, VLT conserves over 2,000 acres and partners with other organizations to protect Vinalhaven's most special and beloved places. In its 25th year, VLT embarked on an ambitious Anniversary Campaign with financial goals that will enable us to act on a land conservation opportunity and fulfill our long-term stewardship responsibilities.
Photo by Mike Mesko
Stewardship: As a young land trust we focused on conservation. As we mature, however, we expect our next 25 years will be defined by our stewardship work, the means by which we protect the property in our care and manage public access.
This path on the Granite Island Trail - a delicate and exquisitely beautiful area on the western shores of the Basin Preserve - allows one to explore one of the fifteen preserves for which VLT needs to provide perpetual care.
Photo by Kerry Hardy
Land protection opportunity: VLT has an option to purchase Big Tiptoe Mountain, a 40 acre parcel that is a long time favorite of all islanders because of its arresting views across Penobscot Bay to the Camden Hills, especially at sunset. It is equally important because of its diverse habitat including freshwater wetlands, salt marsh (such as this foggy cove with its multitude of lichens), and so many mosses and lichens that a botany professor stated he could teach an entire class on just this property.
We're working with steady progress towards our goal.
“Accredited land trusts meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. The accreditation seal lets the public know that the accredited land trust has undergone an extensive, external review of the governance and management of its organization and the systems and policies it uses to protect land.” Tammara Van Ryn, Commission Executive Director
Vinalhaven Land Trust began the work necessary to seek national accreditation in the fall of 2008, thanks to a grant from the Maine Land Trust Excellence Program*, which allowed VLT to hire a coordinator to oversee the long and thorough process of preparing VLT's application. In reality, the work that qualifies VLT for accreditation began over 25 years ago with the organization’s conscientious founders, who laid the framework and principles by which the organization has always done its work. Over the years, each new board member, staff person, and eager volunteer has contributed to the high standards that have enabled us to achieve this prestigious mark of excellence.
Sheri-Romer Day, Accreditation Coordinator
Vinalhaven Land Trust originally adopted the Land Trust Standards and Practices as its guiding principles in 2005. In order to achieve the coveted accreditation status, however, VLT had to prove that we actually implemented these principles, and that they guide all decisions made and actions taken by the organization. Our “proof”, shown here by our coordinator Sheri Romer-Day, was held in two notebooks containing more than 1300 pages and weighing over 15 pounds!
Land Trust Standards & Practices are the ethical and technical guidelines for the responsible operation of a land trust. They cover the areas of:
- Compliance with Laws
- Board Accountability
- Conflicts of Interest
- Financial & Asset Management
- Volunteers, Staff, & Consultants
- Evaluating & Selecting Conservation Projects
- Ensuring Sound Transactions
- Tax Benefits
- Stewardship of Conservation Easements
- Stewardship of Fee Lands (Preserves)
As Vinalhaven Land Trust strives to promote the conservation of our island’s significant plant and wildlife habitat, our water resources, and our scenic and historic spaces, in order to preserve the traditional character of our community for future generations, rest assured that we will continue to maintain the highest of standards.
Anyone interested in knowing more about the guidelines is invited to stop in at the VLT office or see them on the Land Trust Alliance website at www.landtrustalliance.org/training/sp.
* This work was made possible through the Maine Land Trust Excellence Program, a partnership project between Maine Coast Heritage Trust and the Land Trust Alliance with support from private donors and The Pew Charitable Trusts.
Winter Moth on Vinalhaven
Winter Moth ©entomart
Vinalhaven saw a significant flight of winter moth this past December. In anticipation of the event, trees were banded all over town. Everyone saw them, both trapped in the bands, and flying in swarms into lights, homes, and just around.
Charlene Donahue (Maine Forest Service entomologist) had predicted this event last spring as she gathered caterpillar evidence around the island. It was thought that the infestation was limited to only two places in Maine - Vinalhaven and Harpswell - but reports are now in from many towns along the coast of the eruption of moths.
What we don't know at this time is the extent of damage we will see in the spring. The females don't fly, and it is hoped that the tree banding will have prevented the females from reaching the top of the trees and depositing the larvae to hatch and eat the new leaves in the spring.
Specific information about Vinalhaven's moths can be found at Kirk's blog. Information on the life cycle and threat of winter moth is available from the Maine Forest Service. In response to her visit here, MFS entomologist Charlene Donahue has developed a full question and answer sheet. Even more information resources are listed in this link.