Western Foothills Land Trust © 1987–2017   About | Contact

 

Western Foothills Land Trust is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

WFLT PO Box 107, 445 Main Street, Norway, Maine 04268  |  207-739-2124

Board of Directors

 

Robert Van Nest, President - Norway

With a MA from Columbia University, Bob and his wife settled on an historic farm in Norway and started our area’s farmers’ market in the 1980s. Bob spent his career teaching French and coaching Nordic skiing. An avid birder, cyclist and gardener, Bob is completely committed to land conservation.

 

Joseph Zilinsky, Treasurer - Otisfield

BA, Bowdoin College, MA, PhD. University of Indiana in Microbial Physiology. Retired with his wife Callie to Maine after 30 years teaching microbiology and biology at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh. Joe enjoys languages and works his forest and farm lands with a pair of draft horses. Joe and Callie placed a conservation easement on their farm in 2011.

 

Joanna Reese, Clerk - Harrison

Our youngest director, Joanna owns a book store locally and is an environmental activist.

 

Jeff Chase, Director - Bryant Pond

Retired USPS employee and life long resident of Norway, avid wildlife enthusiast, Jeff knows every inch of our region and is invaluable on the Board.

 

Carl Costanzi, Director  - Norway

Retired USPS employee and life long resident of Norway, avid wildlife enthusiast, Jeff knows every inch of our region and is invaluable on the Board.

 

Sarah Dailey, Director - Otisfield

Sarah is a mother of two young boys and is training to work with developmentally-challenged youth.

 

Alex Miller, Director - Norway

Alex was drawn to the Western Maine because of his life-long passion for the outdoors. He graduated from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin in 2008 with a bachelors in philosophy and geology and lived in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and New York and has thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail three times.

 

Lorie Olson, Director  - Norway

Coming...

 

Ann Siekman, Director - Hebron

A graduate in Library Sciences from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Ann devoted her career to the Norway Memorial Library, overseeing the Library’s 4200’ expansion in 2001. Chair of our membership committee, Ann understands non–profit organizations and conservation making her an invaluable addition to the Board.

 

Sienna Tinsley, Director  - West Paris

Alex was drawn to the Western Maine because of his life-long passion for the outdoors. He graduated from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin in 2008 with a bachelors in philosophy and geology and lived in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and New York and has thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail three times.

 

David Watson, Director - Otisfield

Ann and David Watson donated an easement on working forestland that was historically part of the Stone/Pottle/Scribner family holdings in Otisfield.

 

 

 

Staff

Lee Dassler, Executive Director - Otisfield

MS, Columbia in Historic Preservation, with a background in theatre, carpentry, and architecture, Lee was the founder and Executive Director of the McLaughlin Garden in South Paris, Maine and has been involved with WFLT since 1994. When not writing grants, she enjoys riding, triathalons, yoga and working on her historic home.

 

 

A Message from the President

 

"Western Foothills Land Trust is dedicated to the conservation and protection
of native ecosystems, farm and forestlands, watersheds, and scenic landscapes
for the benefit of wild and human communities in Western Maine."

 

A little over ten years ago, I found myself deep in Cajun country southwest of Lafayette, Louisiana. Along the Gulf coast, I was surprised to find cattle ranches. The ranch houses displayed a definitive bungalow architecture with huge wrap-around porches that kept the structures cool. What was unique about these places, however, was the unusual method they used to graze their herds. Directly in front of the bungalows were small barrier islands the locals called “chainires” that ran parallel to the coastline. They were being used as self-contained pastures that were full of livestock. The entire scene exuded a memorable sense of locale.

 

I was reminded of those Gulf coast ranches recently, when I was examining maps in our trust office that showed all of our fee-owned lands and easement holdings. It struck me that, very much like those Louisiana “chainires,” these parcels were also barrier islands. Taken as a whole, they are helping to protect our unique landscapes from the tide of untrammeled and misguided development. They are the high points, the best places, protecting the occupations and recreations of our current use. Development flows around them to other more appropriate sites; while their particular arrangement expresses the special landscape of Western Maine. They are an archipelago of place that rises above the sameness of the sea around them.

 

Sadly, those Cajun ranches no longer exist. They were washed away by Hurricane Rita only a year after my visit. Their barrier islands were not numerous enough nor high enough to withstand the storm surge that overwhelmed them. Their uniqueness is now only something conjured up through memory. In the end they had no critical mass.

 

We face a tide of a different sort, but no less threatening. The Trust is dedicated to maintaining and enhancing the barrier islands in our portfolio. Those farms, forests, rivers, and mountains of the highest value disperse the flood of the ordinary, allowing it to harmlessly flow around them. But here too a critical mass is needed to keep the flood at bay. So our work continues to find more islands in our chain, to maintain enough of the landscape of Western Maine so that generations ahead will not have to conjure up what was lost and grieve for what will never be again. What is unique about our surroundings should never be solely lodged in memory. Rather it should live in the present, in those best, high places around us.

 

Thank you for your support,

Bob Van Nest, President

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Board of Directors

Robert Van Nest, President

Joseph Zalinsky, Treasurer

Joanna Reese, Secretary

Jeff Chase

Carl Costanzi

Sarah Daily

Alex Miller

Lorie Olson

Ann Siekman

Sienna Tinsley

David Watson

 

Executive Director

Lee Dassler

Bart Hague on the Crooked River

Bob Van Nest and Jeff Chase at Virgil Parris Forest

Bill Gibson with Lee Dassler (far right) at Roberts

Chris Delcuore giving a fungi walk at Roberts

Bob Van Nest at Roberts farm view

 

Joe Zilinsky (center) with Bobby and Jerry on the Zilinsky farm