As 2023 comes to a close, we are entering the traditional season for reflection. This is the time that we look back over the past year, give thanks, and begin to envision what future the new year holds. For me, this has been a momentous year, and I am especially grateful for your warm welcome as I took the helm at the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) earlier in the year.
Throughout the year my great love of Maine has only grown. The sea-sprayed coast, crystal clear lakes, and mountains that kiss the sky provide endless places to seek restoration and adventure.
But the heart of what makes Maine so special is its people. Innovative. Pragmatic. Community-centered. These qualities have shaped our state’s environmental ethos, where Mainers from all walks of life work together to protect our natural resources today and for future generations.
I’ve experienced this first-hand as I visited with communities around the state, from Bethel’s mountains to Stonington’s rocky shores and from bustling Portland to villages peppered throughout Aroostook County. Evidence of Maine’s resourcefulness and practical environmental values is everywhere. We see it in our farms and small businesses handed down through the generations and in our investments in developing entirely new industries, such as floating wind turbine technology created at the University of Maine.
While each community is distinct, we all share our hope and desire for a resilient future in the face of a rapidly changing climate and political landscape—and a need to act now. Over its more than sixty-year history, the NRCM community has always risen to the challenges facing our environment. I am confident that by working together we can meet the challenges facing our environment and our communities today.
Our work cannot happen without you. The issues we lift up, we lift up together. Climate policy, sustainability practices, and protections for waters and wildlife impact our daily lives. Your voices, opinions, and experiences as Mainers and members of your community shape our work to create a flourishing present and future for Maine’s environment.
Thank you for your support of NRCM’s work, for your generous welcoming of me as NRCM’s CEO, and for the actions you continue to take for Maine’s natural resources.
Be well, and happy holidays.
—Rebeccah Sanders, CEO
Connecting with Community is written by NRCM CEO Rebeccah Sanders. Rebeccah began at NRCM in January 2023 and comes to NRCM with deep conservation, policy, and management experience gained by actively listening to and learning from others. Connecting with Community is a place that Rebeccah will share stories from her visits with Maine people from every corner of the state.
Originally published in Fall/Winter 2023 Maine Environment newsletter
Banner photo: Rebeccah (3rd from right) with volunteers and others at the Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge