WHAT SPURRED THIS INITIATIVE?

The first meeting of interested York and Cumberland County Land Trusts was organized in January, 2011 by members of the three trusts that made up the Portland North Land Trust Collaborative1. Conservation groups from across the region were continually asking about the workability of an administrative partnership of independent trusts, so PNLTC called a meeting to explore the idea of a regional coalition of land trusts working together.

WHO HAS DEVELOPED THE CURRENT PLAN?

After the first “big” meeting in Scarborough, which was attended by representatives of 23 conservation organizations, a smaller Working Group was formed. The Working Group had active input from 11 trusts:  Chebeague and Cumberland Land Trust, Falmouth Land Trust, Kittery Land Trust, Oceanside Conservation Trust, Portland Trails, Presumpscot Regional Land Trust, Royal River Land Trust, Scarborough Land Conservation Trust, South Portland Land Trust, Three Rivers Land Trust and Windham Land Trust. Whit Whitney of the Maine Coast Heritage Trust was also an active member of the Working Group.

HOW WAS THE PLAN FORMULATED?

The Working Group met monthly beginning in January 2011. It looked at several different models of collaboration among land trusts2 before convening a second “big” meeting in March, 2011 to gather more input.  At that meeting it was decided that asking for letters of interest would be a good way to gauge the level of enthusiasm for the idea. In the Fall of 2011, a dozen land trusts3 submitted such letters. During the summer of 2011, the Working Group also conducted a needs assessment to determine the type of work with which land trusts need help. The results of the needs assessment gave shape to the concept and created a basis for a budget.

HOW IS SMCC STRUCTURED AND MANAGED?

The Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative is a 501(c)(3) organization. It is managed by its members. Each member trust has one seat on the board of directors. SMCC will bear the legal obligations of employer for service center staffers, allowing conservation organizations to buy services on a contract basis.

WHAT DOES SMCC OFFER TO ORGANIZATIONS THAT HAVE ENOUGH STAFF TO MEET THEIR NEEDS?

In addition to providing a service center through which conservation organizations can buy professional, administrative services to support their land conservation work, SMCC functions as a network of organizations across the region that offers joint educational programming, cooperative purchasing of expensive equipment and raises the profile of land and water conservation generally in Southern Maine.  The flexibility of the service center also will allow conservation organizations who need additional staff help on an occasional basis to plug in and purchase those services when needed, thus avoiding the need to increase their own staff.

WILL MEMBERSHIP BE OPEN TO ALL YORK AND CUMBERLAND COUNTY CONSERVATION ORGANIZATIONS?

Yes. New members are welcome at any time. There is no maximum number of organizations that can join. As of July 2018, there are 19 members.

HOW CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?

The best way is to email us at conservationcollaborative@gmail.com. We welcome your questions and interest!