On the icy evening of November 12, 2019, over sixty people gathered at L/A Arts in Lewiston for a wonderful celebration of ALT’s 30th year, which was an interactive celebration of our members and community. The heart of the program was hearing words from artist Courtney Mooney, who created a special exhibit of beautiful photographic images of ALT conserved properties titled, ‘The Vision to Conserve: Celebrating 30 years with the Androscoggin Land Trust’. You can read the full transcript of Courtney’s powerful remarks below.
Mooney’s exhibit will be on display at L/A Arts (gallery hours) through the end of December 2019. The beautiful framed images are for sale, and 50% of the proceeds from art sales will go to ALT.
The forever conservation of the 35 acre Pope Property on Lake Auburn and the installation of Museum in the Streets in Lewiston/Auburn that both occurred in 2019 were also celebrated. A recent article about the great collaborative effort that went into Museum in the Streets can be found here. We have been pursuing a goal of 100 New Members to help celebrate our 30th year in 2019 and at this event we were happy to announce we had reached 102 new members! We welcome and extend gratitude to all our new members, and invite anyone reading this to join us as a member if you have not already. Our gratitude goes to the incredible energy of many volunteers, and business in-kind donations that contributed to the event. We especailly would like to thank event sponsors Austin Associates, PA, Side By Each Brewing Co, and Hardy Wolf & Downing. We also thank the entire ALT community for 30 great years!
“Our Reflection” (pictured above) a photograph captured at Androscoggin Land Trust’s Purinton Homestead Preserve in West Bowdoin by Vinalhaven-based photographer, Courtney Mooney, was raffled off at the event. Congratulations to the lucky winner, Nancy Orr!
Event Photographs by Wiley Mitchell
Hello Everyone! Thank you so much to Shelley and her fantastic team as well as L/A Arts for being receptive and amazing hosts in this creative community endeavor.
I just want to ask everyone to take a second and close your eyes and think of your favorite place in Maine. I’m going to do the same. That’s why we are here.
My name is Courtney Mooney. I grew up in a small town in western Maine, Acton. I remember as a little girl playing in snow triple my height, the great ice storm of 98, I have spent more of my life in a Maine Winter in the Maine woods than anywhere else. Snow snow snow, the quiet the peace, the birds, moose, deer, hunting season – I now am fortunate enough to live on Vinalhaven Island surrounded by Ocean at every corner with granite and trees and eagles – I could say that Maine Nature is in my bones, it is my great motivator, my greatest ally, my teacher, it is almost at times my God, and at-least I find God there.
There is a deep sadness I feel when I write this. Because in no other time in humanity of which we know it has there been this immediate threat of the devastation of the place all in which we love and what we call home. We don’t love Maine for it’s skyscrapers we love Maine, visitors and Mainers, for it’s immediacy with Nature.
What is Maine without our oceans? What is Maine without our woods? What is Maine without cold and snow and seasons and mud and the joy of spring and the fall of winter. What is Maine without our fish and our birds and our foliage and our deer and trout
The nature of Maine – its mountains, forests, rivers, and thousands of miles of coastline, define our State. It sustains families as it has mine to live here for generations, it is the primary motivator for new residents, A love of the outdoors unites us all, it unites all Maine people.
I stand before you today not only bringing my deep love and reverence of Maine, but absolute fear of the degradation of Maine of which we know it.
I stand before you today worried that my future Maine children won’t be able to play in snow because of climbing temperatures or experience access to the coastline.
I stand before you today deeply concerned that the Maine I know and love is under serious threat in terms of our changing climate.
I started photography about six years ago with a project called Souls of Lefferts in Brooklyn. I was a Maine girl ready to get out of Maine. I spent a few years in New York working on this project around the displacement of the Afro-carribean community in a New York neighborhood. It was an amazing and powerful project, but I realized my call was to Maine, and to the Maine people. My family dates back to 1646 in a settlement in Arrowsic Island which is right outside of Brunswick/ I came home to Maine.
To me the most pressing concern as visual activist and photographer in Maine for the Maine people is our relationship with our Natural resources and our Natural world.
Land Trusts provide access for all community members to connect with nature and improve the quality of their life, they provide recreational opportunities such as hunting and fishing they provide access to the coastline and waters bodies, they preserving wildlife habitat, agriculture lands, farms, trees, rivers, bodies of water, the keep nature in it’s natural element – they protect what we love about Maine.
My photographs are small in comparison to the importance of land access and land conservation, my photographs are small in comparison to the realities of the impact of climate change in our near and dear future, my photographs are small in reflection to the beauty of our great Sate and fervency of the Maine peoples love and adoration of Nature.
They are small. But they are what I can contribute.
We all can contribute, Mothers, sons, teachers, postmasters, scientists, tourists, hunters, we all have a part to play creating a sustainable future for generations of Mainers to come.
We are at a critical access point to our relationship with Nature. And in that we are at a critical access point to the relationship with ourselves.
Thank you to Androscoggin Land Trust for their Vision to Conserve and to continue to conserve Maine land for generations to come.
It is of the upmost importance.
— Courtney Mooney
Remarks given at the ALT Annual Meeting & 30th Anniversary Celebration on November 12, 2019