The James W. Dow Internship Program was conceived in November 2016 to honor Blue Hill Heritage Trust’s first Executive Director, who served for 15 years (2001 to 2016). A native of Belfast, Maine, Jim graduated from Belfast Area High School later attending Princeton University, and the University of Maine Law School. Before joining BHHT, he worked for a private law firm, for a statewide environmental advocacy organization, and as a senior staff member of the Maine Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, including service as its Director of Land Protection. Jim served as the Steering Committee Chair of the Maine Land Trust Network for two years and prior to taking on the directorship he served on the all-volunteer board of Blue Hill Heritage Trust for seven years.
In addition to land conservation, Jim’s other passion was high-school basketball and the youth of the area. He coached both the girls’ and boys’ basketball teams for countless years, developing lasting relationships with many of the “lasses” and “lads” as they progressed through their academic and professional lives. Jim was also inspired to bring high school and college students to BHHT and let them experience the many facets of land trust work. He loved the energy that young people brought to the organization and imparting his knowledge and love of nature, conservation, and sustainability, over their summer stay with BHHT.
As a tribute to Jim’s service, wisdom, and love of this peninsula, BHHT has developed an Internship Program and a dedicated endowment that, over many years, will provide funding for his legacy of nurturing youth involvement in conservation, nature, and sustainability.
An initial contribution was made in August 2017, after the approval by BHHT’s Board of Directors to create the program. The creation of the James W. Dow Internship Fund (JWDIF) was passed by BHHT’s Board of Directors in October 2017. The eventual goal is for the program to be entirely funded by the JWDIF, though initially BHHT will fund an intern through their annual operations budget until sufficient restricted funds are available to draw upon for the program. BHHT anticipates funding for two or more intern positions annually (seasonal) with the hope for longer-term as the need and projects arise.
Should you have any questions concerning the James W. Dow Internship Program, please contact George Fields, Associate Director, Blue Hill Heritage Trust or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To make a contribution towards the James W. Dow Internship Program, please click here. On your check or credit card form, please be sure to specify that you would like your donation directed towards this fund. Thank you!
Devon Funt 2017
My summer working for the Blue Hill Heritage Trust was not only great work experience, but also extremely fulfilling. Going into the summer I hadn’t been exposed to the specifics of land conservation and wasn’t sure what my work responsibilities would entail. I was nervous about being in a new environment and not having background in the field.
However, this apprehensiveness was met with open arms by all the members at the Blue Hill Heritage Trust. I was immediately welcomed into this small community and reassured that this summer would be about having different learning experiences.
My expectations for the summer were definitely exceeded. Not only did I get to learn the details about land conservation that I was lacking coming into this internship, but I also had an opportunity to learn new trail building techniques, become more comfortable using GIS, as well as being able to identify invasive species, plants, and lichens. I think one of the most fulfilling things for me this summer was being able to shadow for conservation easement monitoring. I have gotten to a point where I can confidently complete this task on my own and that is a great take away from my summer.
I started the summer unsure of the work I would be doing and came out more confident in my stewardship and conservation skills. I am thankful for the opportunity I was given this summer and for all of those who I had a chance to work with.
Tyler Brenton 2017
The summer of 2017 I was lucky enough to work for the Blue Hill Heritage Trust as a summer trail steward. My daily routine consisted mostly of mowing and weed whacking trails owned by the trust. Although it was hard work, it was extremely rewarding. Being able to go spend my day outside and hike trails throughout the peninsula made the job well worth the effort. Working for the trust definitely gave me a new appreciation for the beauty of our area. I quickly realized how important conserving that beauty is.
Working for the trust also gave me a greater sense of awareness in our community. I learned about places and organizations only ten or fifteen minutes away that I had never heard of before. I also quickly realized how important land conservation was to the people in my community. People were always coming into the office just to say hello or renew their memberships.
What really made my experience at BHHT memorable was the people. From the first day I felt welcomed by the whole staff. Everyone was fun to work with and passionate about what they were doing. It was a really fun and relaxed atmosphere to be around. Even after I left to go to college at Maine Maritime, I felt like I was still a part of the organization. George came to see my ship jump (a rite of privilege at the academy for regimental students) and later sent me a care package.
I am extremely thankful for the opportunity given to me by BHHT as well as the work I was able to be a part of. Not only did I have a great time working with them over the summer, I felt like I was making a difference as well as some lasting friendships.
Tom Fast 2016
I spent the summer of 2016 as an intern with the Blue Hill Heritage Trust. Even though my experience was just 10 weeks, I know I’ll take the experience with me for the rest of my life. When I first started, I didn’t know what to expect. My apprehension was quickly relieved when I met Jim Dow, George Fields, Chrissy Allen, and everyone else who contributed to the operations of the Blue Hill Heritage Trust. Their patience, kindness and endless knowledge made my time in Blue Hill fly by.
George and I, with the help of some local trail-building experts, constructed two brand new trails for the trust while maintaining the high quality of care for all existing trails. This meant long days of arduous work during an abnormally hot Maine summer. As an environmental policy student, I had an idea of the importance of recreation and wild spaces, but I didn’t fully appreciate the magnitude of work that goes into land conservation. From conducting easement monitoring reports to hauling buckets of rocks and helping set up a story trail for local elementary school students, the work I contributed to for BHHT gave me amazing insight into how a truly community-based organization should run.
While the work I did for the trust was rewarding, I learned the most from the people I had the fortune of spending time with. George was my companion that summer. We spent most of those long days on the trail with Oliver Broughton doing the important but often overlooked work of the trust. George’s positive attitude and amazing work ethic set a great example for anyone that wants to work in land conservation. The most fun I had that summer had to have been with Chrissy Allen. Not only did I get to tag along on the community outreach side of the Trust during work, but Chrissy was the utmost expert for all things Blue Hill. Whether I was asking about a good local pizza joint or a reliable fishing spot, Chrissy always pointed me in the right direction. Chrissy led by example, demonstrating the level of work and focus on community that makes an organization successful.
Finally, I was able to spend time with Jim Dow that summer. At the time, Jim was deep in a grant proposal. Even though his tenure with BHHT was coming to an end, Jim worked tirelessly, in all aspects, to ensure the future success of the trust. The best part of working with Jim was seeing him at community events. Talking and connecting with the people of the Blue Hill area seems to be the work Jim enjoyed most.
My time spent with the fine folks of BHHT has prepared me for what I hope to be a career in the environmental policy field. I’m grateful for the experience I had and hope to return to Blue Hill regularly.
Carolyn Sedgwick 2013
My inspiring time with the Blue Hill Heritage Trust under the mentorship of Jim Dow was truly instrumental in shaping my career. During my hands-on internship with the Blue Hill Heritage Trust (BHHT), every day was a new adventure in learning while doing. I was exposed to the nuts and bolts of land conservation work and was able to dive right in. Few opportunities such as this exist for those venturing into the land conservation world. Most internships are focused on only one aspect of land conservation work, but with BHHT, I gained a comprehensive foundation in all elements of this multi-faceted profession. These are not skills learned in the traditional classroom setting; Jim felt strongly about bringing conservation to scale through partnership and education of the next generation. I was fortunate to learn the ropes from this conservation legend.
My experience with BHHT confirmed my inclination to transition from ecological research to direct land protection and community-based conservation. I returned to my second year of my master’s at Duke confident in the direction I was heading and eager to stay involved with land trust work outside of school. Jim’s love for the Blue Hill peninsula and for the environment at large is nothing short of contagious. I am deeply grateful to be one of his mentees; it will be a life well-lived for anyone able to accomplish half of what he has for conservation and the community. – Carolyn Sedgwick
George Hurvitt 2012
“It sure is pretty from up here!” We have just summited Blue Hill Mountain, a 934 foot monadnock that bears the name of the town that sits at its feet. The breeze feels good, as all the way up we worked lopping, cutting, and blazing trees and trail to prepare for the busy foot traffic days ahead. Jim tells me this is the most popular trail on the peninsula; I think – who wouldn’t want to come up here to eat their lunch and pick berries?
I have been a summer intern at Blue Hill Heritage Trust for 6 weeks. Each week is new and adds to the previous. I learn about easements, about working with landowners, and about how to plan, plot, mark, cut and build new trails for community use. I have mentors in the three full-time employees whom I work closely with every day; amidst the summer bustle we laugh, walk trails, work against deadlines, and plan, plan, plan so our hard work pays off each week in a job well done.
Incredibly, just as important as our internal office hustle, is the continuous engagement with the public around education of why we do what we do as an organization. As such, I spend the other half of my time doing outreach, social media, tabling at events, and creating content to post around the peninsula – we are hosting our annual Mountain Day, Mushroom Walks, Woods Story telling with kids, Tree ID-ing, and Local Farm Tours. In an effort to do it all, we are a scrappy team of fun-loving hard workers, who truly believe this peninsula provides incredible resources that are worth our daily, weekly, and yearly commitment. Luckily, we are not the only ones that think that.
My favorite part of working with BHHT is meeting, engaging with, and learning from the fantastic cohort of members that support the not-for-profit to the best of their potential. Year and after year the Blue Hill Peninsula community agrees that where they live is unparalleled in beauty and cause, and they commit their time, dollars, and expertise to help BHHT carry out its mission. The Trust is an excellent and effective organization because of its members; I thoroughly enjoy spending my time working alongside them.”
My experience as an intern at Blue Hill Heritage Trust was one of the most valuable educations I have had the pleasure of receiving. I continue to volunteer, support, and talk of this organization’s good work wherever I go. A great thanks to these folks for keeping the torch lit each and every day. – George Hurvitt
Samantha Haskell 2005
BHHT’s Summer Trail Steward program provides a rewarding and dynamic opportunity for young people to engage with our peninsula. The position serves as a platform to explore a wide range of interests from ecology and environmental studies to community building, the nitty-gritty of trail construction to the daily workings of non-profits. In a small organization, every helping hand has a tangible impact, and the Steward’s contributions make a real difference for the Trust and the towns we serve.
I was the Trail Steward in 2005, encouraged by my coach and mentor Jim Dow to take the job. During that summer I began to understand the importance of civic engagement and giving back to the place where I grew up. I gained a strong work ethic through the physical tasks of trail maintenance, while also being challenged intellectually, to think about the social and economic impacts of BHHT’s work in a big-picture perspective. It undoubtedly helped set me on a path to study rural community development in college, and inspired me to continue working with BHHT years later by joining the Board of Directors.
In honor of our first Executive Director, the James W. Dow Internship Program will keep this position available as a launching point for smart, engaged young people, as well as provide the needed support for the organization during our busy summer months. Jim cares deeply about the future of this place- its people and its land- and this position honors his legacy in a meaningful way. -Samantha Haskell