Parasitic Moth Released to Control Winter Moth
Vinalhaven saw a significant flight of winter moth in December, 2012. 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. With no native defenses against the moth, the hardwood tree population, including apple trees and blueberries as well as the larger hardwoods, would have been decimated over time.
Joe Elkinton, entomologist and researcher at UMass Amherst, breeds the parasitoid tachinid fly Cyzenis albicans. Joe and Maine State Forest Entomologist Charlene Donahue brought the flies to Vinalhaven, where they were released on the Sands Road on May 21, 2014, the location of the most severe infestation on Vinalhaven. It will take as long as ten years for the fly to become well established here, but in Nova Scotia it has been a successful tool in the fight against winter moth for sixty years.
On hand to witness the release of the long awaited fly were many of the advocates for use of the fly, as well as the Vital Signs Club of Vinalhaven - a group of students who conducted studies of the infestation that helped Elkinton plan the fly release.
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.
25th Anniversary Campaign
As 2013 drew to a close, Vinalhaven Land Trust successfully concluded the 25th Anniversary Campaign, having met all the goals set by the Board of Directors:
• The Campaign raised $1,813,051 in gifts and pledges, exceeding the original goal of $1.76 million, thereby providing additional funds for stewardship.
• Big Tip Toe Mountain has been acquired and preserved for enjoyment by the public. This includes 40 acres of surrounding habitat and over a mile of seashore.
• The active management of VLT preserves is now supported by an investment fund that will cover the annual costs of our Stewardship Coordinator’s position. Each of these achievements will strengthen VLT’s ability to carry out its mission, respond to the needs of land trust members, and to support the Vinalhaven community.
The successful outcome of the Campaign was achieved through the generosity of a broad coalition of individuals and organizations. Over 220 gifts, ranging from $10 to $250,000 were received during the 3 year campaign. Several donors created matching gifts in order to encourage others to join them in supporting the effort. Many donors, in order to maximize their contributions, pledged to make their gifts in installments over several years. As a result, cash contributions to the campaign will continue to be received through 2018.
In addition to individuals, a number of foundations made grants to the campaign. The full list of donors will be printed in the next VLT newsletter published in the spring of 2014. All of us thank every individual and organization for committing the financial support that is so essential for the continuing strength of Vinalhaven Land Trust.
“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.