Becky Kolak at Waterfront Park in downtown Bath. Kolak is now the new executive director of the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust. Contributed photo via Kennebec Estuary Land Trust

The Kennebec Estuary Land Trust has announced its acting director, Becky Kolak, will stay on as the conservation organization’s new executive director.

Kolak has been the acting executive director of the Bath-based trust since June 2021.

The trust is a membership-supported organization that works to protect the land, water and wildlife of the Kennebec Estuary. It maintains 12 preserves for public enjoyment and has protected more than 4,100 acres since its founding in 1989.

Kolak moved from Illinois to Maine in 2010 for an AmeriCorps Maine Conservation Corps position. She joined the trust in 2011 to build awareness about the importance of clean water for softshell clams in the region.

She became the land trust’s first education coordinator in 2012, where she built the trust’s nature-based education programming, providing programs year-round for thousands of community members, visitors and local students.

Kolak became the trust’s program director in 2017. For the last five years, Kolak continued to grow the reach of education programs while also leading the land stewardship program and supporting the organization’s fundraising and human resources, according to the trust.


“I feel extremely lucky to have found a work-home at (the trust) so many years ago,” Kolak stated in a news release. “The organization has provided opportunities for me to learn and grow in my professional career and most importantly, chances to be creative and navigate challenges, all while working to protect the natural wonders of the Kennebec Estuary region. “It’s the wonderful people — the fellow staff, volunteers, partners, and donors — who I’ve worked alongside that keep me feeling that my efforts have genuine impact. Now, I can’t wait to dive in and connect KELT to new projects and supporters.”

Kolak is taking over from former director Carrie Kinne, who was the trust’s director for 13 years. Kinne left the Bath-based land conservation organization in May 2021 and became the executive director of the Freeport Conservation Trust.

During Kinne’s time at Kennebec Estuary Land Trust, the organization grew from a staff of two to a staff of five and has protected over 4,117 acres from development, among other accomplishments, according to the land trust.

“We’re very grateful that Carrie Kinne identified Kolak’s talent and helped prepare her for a leadership role,” said the trust’s board president, Reeve Wood, in the release. “When Carrie departed KELT, Kolak was able to step in as Acting Executive Director and give the Board time to assess KELT’s needs, all while demonstrating her own considerable abilities in the role. In the end, Kolak’s experience, passion, and calm decisiveness made it a no-brainer to appoint her as KELT’s next Executive Director. As an organization we’re especially lucky to get the benefits of both continuity and renewal, and the Board of Directors really looks forward to working with Kolak to chart a course through KELT’s fourth decade and beyond.”

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