FBC Announces $10 Million Campaign to Protect Land, Sea, & Livelihoods
Frenchman Bay Conservancy is announcing a $10 million comprehensive capital campaign to protect land, sea, and livelihoods in Downeast Maine.
The campaign will raise the funds to protect 10,000 new acres of valuable land, enhance stewardship of our preserves to maximize benefits to nature and people, and expand outdoor education in our local public schools and outdoor opportunities for all.
HANCOCK COUNTY, ME– Frenchman Bay Conservancy (FBC) is announcing their $10 million comprehensive capital campaign to seize urgent opportunities to protect land and water in the Union River and Frenchman Bay watersheds east to the Hancock County line.
The campaign, “A Watershed Moment for Frenchman Bay: From the Forest to the Sea,” will allow FBC to compete in an increasingly fast-paced real estate market, and boost their ability to secure protection of natural lands that maintain the ecological, social, and economic health of our region.
“There are major threats facing Downeast Maine, from climate change to sprawling development and loss of public shoreline access for harvesters. These changes threaten to fundamentally alter our region’s identity,” says Aaron Dority, FBC Executive Director. “But together, there are still valuable stretches of undeveloped land and unspoiled shorelines that we can protect — landscapes that will return the favor by trapping planet-warming carbon, maintaining our clean water, safeguarding our fisheries, and defending us against the impacts of floods and storms.”
FBC has already raised over $8.5 million towards the $10 million campaign goal and have identified a number of properties. With the public campaign, FBC intends to raise the remaining funds needed to complete this project.
Though there will be many land protection projects supported by this campaign, two key projects are the future Jordan River Preserve in Trenton and the Whitney Forest in Ellsworth. Both properties have outstanding community value, and have received competitive federal grant funding. In February 2023, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded FBC a $1 million grant through their National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Program for the future Jordan River Preserve – one of only 21 projects selected in the country. FBC plans to close on the former golf course this September.
This month, the U.S. Forest Service awarded FBC a grant through their Community Forest Program in support of the Whitney Forest property which surrounds the Ellsworth High School. The $293,000 grant, which was one of 13 selected projects nationwide, completes our fundraising goal for the property, which we plan to close on in January 2024.
FBC’s ambitious land protection goals are equally matched with their understanding of sustainability and community investment.
“Just as it our duty as the local land trust to protect the land, it is our responsibility to care for and steward the land, and make sure that our properties are accessible to the community,” says Paul Parshley, FBC’s Board President. “This campaign is about more than just land conservation. It’s also about increasing our stewardship capacity, and expanding our partnership with Maine Outdoor School to continue providing sustainable and equitable, nature-based outdoor education experiences to all the public elementary schools in our region.”
Frenchman Bay Conservancy, a nonprofit land trust in Hancock, ME, conserves distinctive ecosystems, lands, and waters for the benefit of all, from the Union River and Frenchman Bay watersheds east to the Hancock County line. Since 1987, FBC has conserved 13,000 acres in Hancock County.
Maine Outdoor School’s (MOS) mission is to serve as an educational catalyst for personal and community resilience in Downeast Maine through the lenses of economic vitality, environment sustainability, and social equity. FBC has been partnering with MOS to provide nature-based education in local Hancock County public schools since 2020, and in 2022 expanded the program to include all 10 public schools in FBC’s service area, reaching over 200 students this year.