by Lisa Pohlmann, NRCM Executive Director
I have been speaking with many of NRCM’s longtime members these past few months. They remember with pride how NRCM helped restore the Kennebec from a stinking industrial dump to a vibrant river that supports the largest alewife run east of the Mississippi. They remember when we helped ban DDT, which allowed the comeback of Bald Eagles we can see so plentifully now. They remember when, together, we stopped a nuclear reactor from being built next to Acadia National Park.
Maine has made tremendous progress toward preserving our forests, restoring our rivers, and protecting our wildlife because NRCM and members like you put in the time and energy it takes to engage in the debates and make things right.
Every NRCM member’s efforts matter. I recently attended the memorial of one long-time member, Leon Gorman, a man whose partnership with NRCM lasted for decades. The grandson of L.L. Bean, Leon was a savvy business man, a dedicated conservationist, and a lifelong outdoorsman. Despite globalization, L.L. Bean remained a Maine-based company. The L.L. Bean employees with whom I sat at the memorial spoke with great fondness and respect for Leon and the company he built.
Leon gave back to Maine, and his wife, Lisa, has been a full partner in their philanthropy. Maine students have access to great classes at our community colleges in large part because of the Gormans. Families and individuals who are struggling have access to food, shelter, and counseling because of the Gormans. Those of us who love the natural world—and Leon certainly did—are able to enjoy wild places and breath cleaner air because of them. The last photo in the memorial slideshow captured him perfectly: Leon, with his backpack on, happily waving as he headed down the trail.
We are so fortunate that this kind of passion and commitment not only survives, but thrives in Maine. I see it in the next generation of stewards that have come together to create NRCM Rising, our initiative aimed at engaging young Mainers in protecting the environment. I see it in the townspeople across the state that are tapping into our Sustainable Maine program to find ways to reduce their waste and move toward cleaner energy in their communities. I see it in the outstanding men and women who received NRCM’s 2015 Conservation Leadership Awards. I see it in you.
So join us as we head into 2016. We are ready to reclaim the Land for Maine’s Future program from Governor LePage, resolved to ensure that our Public Reserved Lands are not overharvested, determined to make solar energy accessible to more Maine families and businesses, and focused like a laser on creating a new National Park and National Recreation Area east of Baxter. Time and time again, we work together to make things right.