Jerry Bley Contributed

Maine Coast Heritage Trust has named Jerry Bley as the recipient of the 2022 Espy Land Heritage Award, an annual award that recognizes an individual, organization or coalition for exemplary conservation efforts in Maine.

“Jerry has been involved in land conservation in Maine on multiple levels for more than 30 years,” said the land trust’s president, Kate Stookey. “Throughout his career, he has exhibited a keen ability to effectively collaborate with multiple organizations, municipal leaders, and state agencies to protect large scale tracts, small community parks, and everything in between.”

“Jerry Bley has also played a leadership role in addressing community conservation needs, climate change resilience, protection of critical resources, and the expansion of outdoor recreational opportunities,” said Warren Whitney, the director of the trust’s Maine Land Trust Program. “His work as chair of Governor King’s Land Acquisition Priorities Council in 1997 and more recently as co-coordinator of the Maine’s Land Conservation Task Force in 2019 have shaped Maine’s conservation priorities for decades.”

“What distinguishes every really successful land conservation project is the presence of someone who thoroughly understands everything that needs to take place and when,” wrote 7 Lakes Alliance board member Peter Kallin. “That’s where you will find Jerry, dotting every “i” and crossing every “t” and continually pointing to the next thing that needs to be done to ensure success, not caring who “gets the credit” but simply trying to get the deal done.”

As principal of Creative Conservation, LLC, a land use and environmental consulting business, Bley helps land trusts, families and individuals develop strategies to conserve valued lands. This work involves listening, exploring options and looking for creative, often out-of-the-box, solutions, according to the land trust. Bley also puts these skills to use as coordinator of the Pierce Pond Watershed Trust.

In honoring past President Jay Espy with this award, the board of directors created a fund that awards $5,000 per year to a conservation charity in honor of that year’s Espy Land Heritage Award winner. This year, the financial award will be divided equally between Pierce Pond Watershed Trust, 7 Lakes Alliance, Forest Society of Maine, Francis Small Heritage Trust and Kennebec Land Trust.


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