What Maine Coast Heritage Trust initially called a “small event” raised over $78,000 for coastal land conservation.

The March 7 fundraiser called Tides of Change drew 300 people to Maine Beer Co. for an evening in support of land conservation. Guests enjoyed craft beer and cocktails, charcuterie, pizza and local oysters, as well as live music downstairs and nature-focused visual arts upstairs.

“This is the most packed I’ve seen this place,” said Dan Kleban, co-owner of Maine Beer Co., which gives 1 percent of its gross annual sales to environmental nonprofits.

“If this is a small event, this is very impressive,” said guest speaker Hannah Pingree, co-chair of the Maine Climate Council. “MCHT and land trusts across the state are working to preserve our lands and make sure that Maine is a carbon sink for our country, that we protect wildlife and we make sure that the Maine we love is protected for generations to come.”

Since 1970, Maine Coast Heritage Trust has worked with a variety of partners to protect 337 islands and 180,000 acres of Maine’s coast.

“Nature has a very deep gravitational pull, if you know how to listen,” said Kate Stookey, president and CEO of the trust. “In Maine, nature is still big and bold enough to remind us that we are part of it.”


Inspired by a class visit to a trust preserve on Cousins River, Maine College of Art & Design students created works in a variety of media to exhibit during the fundraiser. Letterpress students demonstrated their process, making prints that read “Decay is a natural part of salt marshes. Development is not.” These were offered to guests, with the caveat to beware of wet ink.

Printmaking instructor Evelyn Wong said, “They’re working with paper they made from recycled materials that came from Maine Coast Heritage Trust – used office paper, but also natural plants, pine needles, leaves and moss.”

With 161 trust properties open to the public and 104 miles of trails to explore, most event guests had a personal connection to one or more conserved places.

“We live next to an MCHT preserve,” said Jess Kelly of Yarmouth. “We’re able to talk about the tides and the birds and animals we see with our two children and infuse that connection to the environment. It’s part of our everyday lives, and being connected to nature is part of who we are.”

More than 50 host committee members – including Jess and Rory Kelly – sponsored the event. Fourteen corporate sponsors were led by Maine Beer Co., Big Tree Catering, Sabre and Back Cove Yachts.

“I hope that with fundraisers like this, MCHT can preserve more properties,” said Todd Patstone, a host committee member from Yarmouth.

Tony Castro of New Gloucester put it like this: “The climate is what everyone needs to be thinking about. That and loving your neighbor.”

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached a amyparadysz@gmail.com.

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