Recently the BTLT Board of Directors adopted a new Five-year Strategic Plan that aims to advance the mission of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust by setting new, vital strategic goals for our programs, enhancing organizational effectiveness and efficiency, and bringing financial sustainability to a new level.
This plan builds on major accomplishments under our previous Strategic Plan: obtaining valuable feedback from a wide-ranging community survey to help shape future priorities, expanding programs and staff capacity driven by a significant growth in membership and Annual Fund, and strengthening stewardship sustainability by nearly reaching our goal of a two-million dollar endowment fund through Board designations of special donations and bequests. It also reflects our deepened commitment to the inter-related importance of enhancing ecological and community resiliency through conservation and support for local farms, fisheries and sustainable forestry, as well as community engagement and education.
By their very nature, strategic plans need to be adaptable to changing circumstances. The COVID pandemic was a prime example, requiring reorientation of our core programs for stewardship and community engagement to protect staff and public safety, while encouraging well-managed outdoor activities including our Farmers’ Market, community gardens and access to trails. It also required adroit adjustments in financial management and fundraising. Our success in navigating these challenges and lessons learned have also contributed to shaping the new strategic plan.
Over the past year the BTLT Board and staff held a series of facilitated retreat meetings by Zoom to discuss the challenges and opportunities in our various programs and organizational development. This informed consideration of goals and priorities in all of these areas have been incorporated into the plan.
The plan also, for the first time, includes statements of core values to guide the work of the Land Trust. These represent an articulation of how the culture of BTLT has evolved in recent years that we felt should be codified going forward. These cover:
- Collaboration and Cooperation.
- Effectiveness and Efficiency.
- Excellence and Integrity.
- Inclusion and Equity.
- Financial Responsibility.
The plan remains firmly rooted in our core mission of conservation and stewardship and deep commitment to our most established and beloved programs – the Farmers’ Market at Crystal Spring Farm, the Tom Settlemire Community Garden, and of course our trail network. At the same time, we are rising to new challenges and seeking higher levels of engagement with the full range of people in our community through partnerships like the New Mainers Garden, Mowitanij Epijij (Wabanaki garden), trail accessibility initiatives, LGBTQIA+ walks, and more.
The Core Directions that are set forth in the new strategic plan are to:
- Energetically pursue new lands conservation projects.
- Increase stewardship capacity further to support new land conservation and ongoing required stewardship.
- Expand youth education through increased integration with the Cathance River Education Alliance (CREA).
- Integrate climate change mitigation and adaptation more explicitly in our lands, stewardship, agriculture, and educational programs, in line with the Climate Action Plan adopted for Maine.
- Integrate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) practices into all our work, building on an explicit commitment we made in April 2021 and on activities already underway.
- Engage in more sustained advocacy efforts on important issues connected with our mission.
- Continue to build the financial and administrative capacity to support pursuit of these goals.
In the coming year, we will be giving priority focus on the emerging opportunities for new conservation projects, expanding our youth education integration with CREA, and continuing to evolve initiatives already underway with climate change and DEI. As we move forward in pursuing these priority directions, we will provide more detailed information on initiatives and progress in a series of future blog posts.