Crystal Spring Farm in Brunswick is the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust’s most popular property, according to a recent survey. Courtesy Ben Williamson

BRUNSWICK — The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust has many great preserves to offer, but could do a little better publicizing them, preliminary results from a recent survey have determined.

The organization plans to spend the next several months analyzing survey data received this year from 520 community members, and use those findings to develop a new, five-year strategic plan by 2022.

The survey was meant to ascertain community awareness of BTLT’s work and learn how the organization can better serve members and the community, according to Executive Director Angela Twitchell. The questionnaire had multiple choice options, answers from which were more readily available this month, along with opportunities for people to write in comments.

“We really wanted to seek some more meaningful information,” she said Monday, adding that the respondents “gave us some really great feedback.”

The “strong and overwhelmingly positive response” is “a great boost for us,” Twitchell said.

But some areas for improvement were mentioned, too, which will inform BTLT as it convenes an advisory council next March to review the findings and hold an April board retreat to consider mid-term revisions to its current 2017 strategic plan, in view of those results.


“People would really like the opportunity for some more guided walks on our different properties,” Twitchell said. Although the trust provides listings of its public preserves, “lots of people weren’t aware of many of them.”

“It seems like when there’s a new property and people maybe aren’t familiar with it, they may be hesitant to just go out on their own,” she said. “… We do some guided walks, but I think that a takeaway is, let’s do more of that.”

Better publicizing the location of those preserves is important through improved signage on main roads, Twitchell said.

She expects a printed final report to be available next June on the survey, which named Crystal Spring Farm BTLT’s most popular property, and the Saturday Farmers’ Market at Crystal Spring Farm its most popular program.

“People really value the work that we do actually conserving land,” Twitchell said. “Making sure that we’re identifying those really special places in our community, and that we’re working to conserve those for people today, but also for the future.”

Stewardship and management of those properties were also high priorities among respondents.

Since 1985, BTLT has conserved 61 properties that encompass nearly 3,000 acres. The Tom Settlemire Community Garden and Labyrinth in the Woods are among the many assets listed at

Among the many area organizations the trust partners with is the Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program; BTLT serves on the Merrymeeting Food Council. Merrymeeting Gleaners vegetable-harvesting group was born from that “very successful venture,” MHPP Executive Director Karen Parker said Tuesday.

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