~By Angela Twitchell
Surely there has never been a year we were collectively more happy to say goodbye to than 2020. But before turning the calendar page, all of us at the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (BTLT) want to take a moment to thank YOU for your unwavering support of our work throughout this challenging year.
I know we say it most year’s, but it has never rung truer … we live in an amazing community full of people who care deeply about each other, our natural world, natural resource-based industries, outdoor recreation, and access for everyone to remarkable outdoor spaces. This past year, BTLT was challenged to meet the increased demands on our trails, lands, and programs brought on by the pandemic. As a relatively small organization with limited staff, our volunteers really saved the day. Our nearly 300 volunteers worked diligently to:
- Build, re-route, and maintain our 23 miles of public trails, which saw unprecedented use in 2020;
- Monitor and manage our 3,100 acres of conserved lands;
- Grow food for those in need and support others to grow their own food at the Tom Settlemire Community Garden;
- Ensure fresh local food is available to our community through our Farmer’s Market and support of Merrymeeting Gleaners and Merrymeeting Food Council;
- Encourage the winter enjoyment of our outdoor spaces through Brunswick-Topsham Friends of Cross Country Skiing (FOXCS);
- Support staff with varied administrative needs like IT expertise, mailings, recordkeeping, writing, editing, film making, and more;
- Lead and sustain BTLT by serving on our Board of Directors and Committees.
We all feel lucky and inspired every day by the many amazing people we get to work with to fully implement the mission of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and make our community a better place to call home. Our deepest thanks go out to all of our volunteers!
In addition to our volunteers, the continued generous support of our more than 1,000 members has buoyed us and made so much good in our community possible. None of us knew what to expect when the pandemic hit, but we’ve been overjoyed and humbled by the incredible loyalty and generosity shown by our community this year. If you haven’t already, please review our recently published Annual Report to see all that you made possible. THANK YOU!
Lastly, as the BTLT staff reflected on the past year and the generosity of our community, we all agreed it was an important moment to support those in greatest need. Instead of giving each other gifts this holiday season, we pooled what we would normally have spent and made donations to local heating assistance funds in the towns in which we work. Many thanks to these organizations who are working hard to make sure our neighbors are able to stay warm this winter:
- Tedford Housing’s Warm Thy Neighbor Fund;
- Town of Topsham Heating Assistance Program;
- Town of Bowdoin Fuel Assistance Fund.
Wishing you all healthy and happy holidays and a new year full of the possibilities of healing together as a community.
With gratitude from your Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust Staff,
Angela Twitchell, Executive Director
Lee Cataldo, Director of Programs
Margaret Gerber, Stewardship and Lands Manager
Kristi Hatrick, Membership and Development Manager
Jamie Pacheco, Program and Events Manager
Katy Mendenhall, Administrative and Program Assistant