BY JESSICA LOWELL STAFF WRITER
FAYETTE — Anna Hodgkins is heading back to the University of Maine in a couple of weeks to continue her studies in biology as a sophomore, but she’s leaving a piece of work behind at the Kennebec Land Trust that will be considered by board members in the months to come.
As one of three land trust summer interns, the Hallowell resident took on trail work, office work and a research project.
Hodgkins dug into the history of the 113-acre Wakefield Wildlife Sanctuary, the West Gardiner property along the Cobbosseecontee Stream bequeathed earlier this year to the land trust by Kendra Shaw.
The land trust is now deliberating whether it will accept the bequest, in part because it requires the maintenance of cabins on the property for a certain period of time.
Theresa Kerchner, the Kennebec Land Trust’s executive director, said the bequest is complicated and the board has a committee that’s looking into it.
Hodgkins’ efforts were among those recognized at the Kennebec Land Trust’s 28th annual meeting that drew about 85 members Sunday following a morning of activities at Camp Winnebago in Fayette, where the meeting has been held for five years.
The organization honored:
• Donna Buck and Jane Davis, 2017 Volunteers of the Year
• Jed Davis, 2017 Stewardship Award
• Ken Laustsen, 2017 Harry Dwyer Forest Stewardship Award
• Hodgkins, Drew Perlmutter and Jane Tekin, 2017 Summer Internship Award
John and Lisa Rosmarin, Kelly Byron and Karrie Lykins were honored for the donation of the 342-acre Rosmarin and Saunders Family Forest in Readfield, and an anonymous donor was recognized for the gift of 28 acres to add to the Horseshoe Island Preserve on Cobbosseecontee Lake.
The trust also acknowledged the work of department board members Patrice Putman, Martha Nielson and Joseph Stevenson as they step down from the board, and welcomed Thom Harnett, Marti Keniston and Janet Sawyer to the board.
Among the trust’s accomplishments during the year is the completion of the donation of the 164-acre Howard Hill property to the city of Augusta with an endowment.
“I started sleeping a lot better as soon as that was over,” board President Mary Denison said.
Along with fundraising activities and the expansion of trails, Denison said the Kennebec Land Trust is also currently seeking accreditation through the Land Trust Alliance.
Accreditation, a demanding process, means that a land trust organization is meeting specific standards for land conservation and that the organization is worthy of public trust.
For her project, Hodgkins dug into historic property and agriculture to get an idea of what happened on the land over the past two centuries or so.
The most amazing thing she found is that the property remained in the same family since about 1828. It was worked as a farm over successive generations until the early part of the 20th century when the family breadwinners went to work off the farm.
“The family and agricultural history are tied together,” Hodgkins said.
The agricultural census shows the farm raised livestock, cows and sheep through most of the 19th century, but the land has been reverting to forest land.
“The lady was very passionate about wildlife so she put specifically in her will that the land shouldn’t ever be hunted and no trapping or anything that would harm animals,” she said.
As she heads back to college, Hodgkins said biology majors tend to follow two paths, she said, into medicine or into conservation ecology. She’s not sure yet which will better suit her, she said, but she has time to figure that out.
Jessica Lowell — 621-5632