Conservation commissions can do so much even if you have just a small number of people on your conservation commission and a limited budget. Even a few can advocate for a town to buy land to be put aside for preservation from development.
If these conservation lands are forested, then trails for dog walking, hiking, biking and perhaps even snowmobiling can be developed if trails are wide enough. If the land is cleared, then the land can be used for community gardens. A small rental fee might be used to pay for available water and tools, a shed and caretaker.
These preserved lands should be placed under easement. ‘Under easement’ means the land cannot be sold for, say, a golf course, or for a housing sub-division. It is wise to put conservation lands under easement to protect lands from being sold sometime in the future – something that has been known to happen.
Conservation Commission members can stay up to date about environmental and conservation issues affecting their community, so they can educate their community and advise their Select Board or city councilors about issues affecting their town and state.
Even a few can involve many by offering poster contests in local schools that demonstrate some aspect of conservation. Some schools have film or TV cameras that can be used for informational conservation contests and broadcasts on the town’s channel.
Many towns have roadside cleanups and beach cleanups that include people of all ages. For the past several years, our conservation commission has recognized and honored a business person for his or her green practices. A member of the conservation commission presents a plaque at a select board meeting that the business person can mount in his or her place of business.
Our town has also hosted a weekly column or ‘blog’ posted on our active website: www.ogunquitconservation.org, on our town’s home page and on the Bangor Daily News’ Homestead section on some aspect of conservation.
Why not see what your conservation commission is doing and join their efforts? Or if your town doesn’t have one, start one and become the environmental conscience of your town.