Talk of the Towns 1/11/23: “Forever Wild” Conservation Easement Downeast

Producer/Hosts: Ron Beard and Liz Graves
Theme music for Talk of the Towns Theme music for Talk of the Towns is a medley from Coronach, on a Balnain House Highland Music recording.

Talk of the Towns: Local Community concerns and opportunities

This month:
We look at the recent “forever wild” protection of 3200 acres of land near the Whalesback, along Route 9 in Aurora, featuring Aaron Dority, Executive Director, Frenchman Bay Conservancy, Malcolm Hunter, donor, for-ever wild conservation easement, Aurora, and Sophie Ehrhardt, coordinator of the Wildlands Partnership Program. This protection also helps with climate change by allowing the forest to store carbon as the forest continues to grow and change naturally.

-What is the (brief) history of land conservation in Maine?
-What do we (society) gain from protecting or conserving land? What are “environmental services” how are they promoted in “forever wild protection”? What benefits do wildlife derive from large land tract protection/corridors? What other tangible and intangible benefits do humans derive from conserved land?
-What led to the protection of the Whalesback in Aurora? How did this partnership develop? What were some of the steps in the process? Who are the other significant partners and what were their roles?
-What do we know about the 3223 acres of land that are protected by these new conservation easements? Where is it located? Why is it significant? How does this fit into overall resource conservation for the region?
-Not envisioned as a benefit in early land conservation, mitigation of climate change is now a part of this and other land conservation strategies… what are those benefits and how Northeast Wilderness Trust’s carbon offset program work?

Aaron Dority, Executive Director, Frenchman Bay Conservancy
Malcolm Hunter, donor, for-ever wild conservation easement, Aurora
Sophie Ehrhardt, coordinator of the Wildlands Partnership Program of Northeast Wilderness Trust

About the hosts:

Ron Beard is producer and host of Talk of the Towns, which first aired on WERU in 1993 as part of his community building work as an Extension professor with University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Sea Grant. He took all the journalism courses he could fit in while an undergraduate student in wildlife management and served as an intern with Maine Public Television nightly newscast in the early 1970s. Ron is an adjunct faculty member at College of the Atlantic, teaching courses on community development. Ron served on the Bar Harbor Town Council for six years and is currently board chair for the Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor, where he has lived since 1975. Look for him on the Allagash River in June, and whenever he can get away, in the highlands of Scotland where he was fortunate to spend two sabbaticals.

Liz Graves joined Talk of the Towns as co-producer and co-host in July 2022, having long admired public affairs programming on WERU and dreamed of getting involved in community radio. She works as the Town Clerk for the Town of Bar Harbor, and is a former editor of the Mount Desert Islander weekly newspaper. Liz grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.