Post 5, May 29, 2017
“How we arrived at our mission and how we expanded to include 7 towns instead of just one”.
With a paper bag and $150 in change, I personally felt a strong commitment to go forth and successfully get the 501 c 3. A stranger had given us that money and I felt a strong responsibility to honor that gift as well as all the folks in the community supporting efforts to protect the large stratified drift aquifer.
January 1998 arrived and with it the famous ice storm.
A hike to the summit of Green Mountain revealed a magical world transformed by Nature’s handiwork and I felt a new commitment to see GMCG off the ground. Despite losing power for a week, I still had a phone and was able to talk to the wonderful folks at the New England Grassroots Fund in Vermont about writing a small grant for $2000 to help us launch the new organization. The newly formed GMCG Board helped draft our IRS paperwork and we came up with our mission of water protection through what we called and continue to call our “tools.” These include Research, Education, Advocacy and also Land Trust work. The idea formed because we believed and believe today that in order to protect a shared natural resource you need to have sound science and data and RESEARCH first. From that research one can EDUCATE the public about the need to conserve that resource. If Education is not enough then you can use the research and the education to do ADVOCACY about why the resource needs to be conserved. If that is still not enough then we all believed that GMCG needed to also be a Land Trust so that land could be purchased outright or we could hold a conservation easement on that land in order to protect the shared resource.
While we were working this out, there was also a serious of meetings taking place organized by the Society for the Protection of NH Forests (SPNHF), The Nature Conservancy and NH Audubon about the Ossipee area and important natural resources. Read more about the compiled summary and the well structured outcomes of these meetings in the SPNHF Summer 1998 Forest Notes HERE.
Click on map for larger scale
The meetings were also a way to introduce the community to working together as a “watershed.” After one such meeting, I realized that we couldn’t just be an Effingham organization. The waters extend beyond town boundaries where it is the aquifer, rivers, lakes, streams….the waters know no political boundaries. We had to be a Watershed Organization and we needed to also include the towns of Eaton, Effingham, Freedom, Madison, Ossipee, Sandwich and Tamworth.
I asked Tom Howe from the Forest Society if at their last meeting in January of 1998 if he would introduce GMCG as a new “Watershed Organization” and help us find board members from each town. He agreed and at this meeting the founding board members came forth. This included Chip Kimbal from Sandwich, Scott Aspinall from Tamworth, Greg Bossart from Ossipee and Dan Stepanauskas from Madison.
In celebration of Green Mountain Conservation Group’s 20th Birthday (May 1, 1997-May 1 2017) we will be posting Memories on Mondays in May through September on the GMCG Facebook page and on our website www.gmcg.org. If you would like to be part of this journey please “like” Green Mountain Conservation Group on our Facebook page. We are trying to raise funds for our new home—-The Patricia and Charles Watts Conservation Center also known as the Blue Heron House on the Ossipee River and expansion of staff needed to run our programs. We are doing this online through this campaign by asking you to consider a gift of $20 in honor of our 20th Birthday. Do you have a connection to the Ossipee Watershed? Did you know a former staff person or Board member over the past 20 years who you would like to honor? Can you also invite your own friends and families who have connections to this Watershed or a specific person and ask for a contribution too? Please feel free to forward our posts and information. THANK YOU.
Donations can be made to : CLICK HERE
Each gift of $1000 raised in a specific person’s name will honor that person with a plaque on a rocking chair. For example—if you send in a donation of $20 in a staff or previous board member’s name, that will be tracked and recorded as a gift to honor that specific person. If you can help by inviting 50 friends to do the same then you will have helped raise $1000 and that person and you will have your name on one of our porch rocking chairs.
Blair Folts, GMCG Executive Director
To access previously posted 20 Years of Memories, look to the right hand margin.