HVNC gets $400K grant

Posted:  Wednesday, June 21, 2017 - 8:00am

Midcoast Conservancy is delighted to announce that its Hidden Valley Nature Center has been awarded $400,000 by the U.S. Forest Service as part of The Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program, which provides grants to local governments, tribes and qualified nonprofits to establish community forests that will provide economic and environmental benefits as well as education, stewardship and recreation opportunities.

Midcoast Conservancy board chair Susan Russell said, “The grant to HVNC was the highest amount that could be awarded to any one project, and was ranked third overall among all applicants nationwide. We are thrilled that the U.S. Forest Service appreciates what a special place we have in the Nature Center.”

The projects selected were shaped by the communities that proposed them. These communities will also manage the forests in the future. “These are truly community forests,” said U.S. Forest Service Deputy Chief of State and Private Forestry Vicki Christiansen. “The proposals we received grew directly from the communities that presented them. They will become important economic, recreational, and educational cornerstones of their communities.”

All projects selected must guarantee public access, and the community members must be involved in developing a forest plan to determine the long-term goals for the forests. Support from Senators Angus King and Susan Collins, Representative Chellie Pingree, the American Forest Foundation, and local partners including the town of Jefferson, Whitefield Elementary School, Juniper Hill School, and Central Lincoln County YMCA were an important piece of the success of this proposal. Midcoast Conservancy looks forward to continuing to work with community partners to ensure that HVNC functions as a community forest with public access, into the future.

Midcoast Conservancy executive director Jody Jones said, “This is further proof of concept of the model of our merger, that together we are able to accomplish more. I am exceptionally grateful to Bambi Jones and Tracy Moskovitz, the founders of HVNC, for their vision in creating a project worthy of this kind of recognition.”

Assembled over the course of 25 years, the 1,000-acre HVNC offers year-round education programming and sustainable forestry practices, as well as a seasonal timber framing course.

HVNC is already functioning as a community forest for more than 10 nearby towns by employing and demonstrating FSC-certified sustainable forestry practices, sharing innovative ways to use forest products to support livelihoods; providing employment through forestry, recreation, and place-based educational programming; engaging four area schools and nonprofits in experiential learning; offering community-driven programming to build recreational skills and place-based knowledge; and providing accessible recreational opportunities.

For more information on Midcoast Conservancy or HVNC, go to www.midcoastconservancy.org or call (207) 389-5150.