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. (applications accepted Jan1-Feb 15)
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!
Past Intern Testimonials
Jessica Crandell 2021
Applying for the James W. Dow internship was one of the best decisions I have made so far in my life. There is no better way to spend my summer. Not only are the staff incredible people, but they are all devoted to their work and the mission of the Blue Hill Heritage Trust (BHHT). I aspire to work at a Land Trust that is as well organized and collaborative as this one.
Walking into the office on the first day, I was greeted with an overwhelming wave of welcome. Immediately I knew I was going to love working at the trust. When Merrin arrived a week later, I realized that they had hired someone with a skill set that complimented my own. Between the two of us, there has been some experience for all the projects we have done. This has made my time here so much more enjoyable.
This summer I gained experience with the BHHT that was both hands-on in the field and back at the office. Every day there was a different challenge to tackle. Throughout the weeks, Merrin and I got to work on various projects, learning valuable lessons from all the staff members. Out in the field, we worked with Sandy and George to make forest inventory plots, collect wetland inventory, operate a sawmill, create a new trail, and build implements for trail access. The equally important work behind the scenes at the office involved Chrissy and Beth, and included organizing farmers market merchandise, creating graphics for events, organizing community events, and event outreach. We truly got a taste of everything within the organization.
As the executive director, Hans showed me how to be patient and understand all aspects of conservation, including how it impacts indigenous people. His input on office conversations always taught me a valuable lesson. I could not picture a better person to lead this organization, and the same goes for every staff member. They are all well adept and suited to their job. No matter what conflict they faced, there was a way to solve it quickly and easily.
- Farmers markets
- Forest inventory plots
- Wetland inventory
- Trail creation
- Graphics for events
- Nature Exploration Kits
- Never underestimate beavers
- When someone says, “Look at that!” chances are what they are looking at is not in the sky
- Don’t be afraid to take the trail less traveled
- Stop and pick the blueberries, raspberries, black berries, huckleberries, golden chanterelles, and black trumpets
- Never be afraid to ask questions
- Build positive relationships with community members, you never know who could lend you a helping hand
Merrin Brache 2021
Growing up on the Blue Hill peninsula has given me a profound appreciation for the woods, waters and coastline that I call home, and being part of an organization that’s sole mission is to protect this landscape for future generations was a dream come true. I have wanted to intern for BHHT since I first heard about the program from my friend and 2016 summer intern Tyler Brenton and I’m incredibly lucky that this summer I got the opportunity to. Every single member of the team at the trust goes above and beyond their respective duties and it was amazing to see such a high functioning group of people who are clearly so passionate about the work they do and land conservation.
Over the course of the summer we got to experience working with each of the different staff members to get a well rounded perspective of all the work that the trust does. In the beginning of the summer we did lots of trail work with Sandy and George cleaning up new growth and cutting through winter blow-downs. The trust’s forester Sandy took us out to do forest inventory plots in the trust’s Meadowbrook property as part of a long term monitoring program. We also helped Beth to organize and catalogue merchandise. On Saturdays we got the chance to work at the Trust’s booth at the Blue Hill farmers market and hear from community members about recommendations for our trails and give out advice on our favorite places to hike! We also worked with Chrissy to organize and set up free community educational events. George took us out to monitor conservation easements and we got to see the process of inspecting property. We also got the chance to hike and talk with Hans the Executive Director and two indigenous consultants about land use and the native history of some of the trusts properties. Towards the end of the summer I organized an event to educate people about the history of the invasive European green crab and the ecological effects that it’s having on Maine’s coastal ecosystem.
Even as interns, Jessica and I were involved in all of the day to day meetings and logistics. We got to visit a new alewife fishway project with Hans, met with landowners with George and sat in on board meetings. All of these various experiences led to a well rounded internship that gave us a real perspective on the scope of work involved in land conservation.
Miranda Flora 2020
My summer at Blue Hill Heritage Trust was my very first experience with a community-based conservation organization. While I was apprehensive about living and working in an unfamiliar part of the country during a very unusual summer, it turned out to be a wholly positive and impactful experience.
During my summer at Blue Hill Heritage Trust, I was able to participate in work that benefited both the natural and human communities of the Blue Hill Peninsula. The day-to-day operations of the trust involved an ever-changing assortment of natural resource, development, and outreach projects. The natural resource projects took place on some of the many properties managed by the trust on the Blue Hill Peninsula, and included creating and maintaining trails, monitoring conservation easements, and conducting vegetation inventories in forests and wetlands. The development and outreach projects were based out of the trust’s cozy office in the town of Blue Hill, and included planning community events, writing educational materials, and creating outdoor exploration kits for families. Based on the variety of experiences that I had this summer, I am confident that I will be able to use my newly developed knowledge and skills to make a worthwhile contribution at conservation organizations in the future.
I was truly lucky to spend the summer working for such a special organization. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the people who together make up the trust, including the staff, board of directors, and involved members of the community. I was particularly impressed by their kindness, resilience, and commitment toward creating a better future. I also developed a deep appreciation for the landscapes of the Blue Hill Peninsula, from the rocky coastlines to the mossy forests. With all this being said, the people and places that I came to know this summer will always have a place in my heart.
Working with Blue Hill Heritage Trust as a summer intern has been an amazing experience, and a dream come true. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with the trust this summer, experiencing what it’s like behind the scenes of a land trust, and all the work that goes on.
One of the many great things about the summer was the diversity of the work week. Each day there would be a new task at hand to accomplish. I spent a lot of time this summer maintaining some of the many hiking and walking trails on the peninsula. I worked with our associate director monitoring conservation easements. Additionally, I worked with our conservation forester doing forest inventory in Meadowbrook Forest, as well as inventorying the restored wetland in Surry Forest.
During my time with the trust, I also got to experience and help with some of the outreach and development tasks this summer, including events such as the annual meeting, and the heritage society event. Working with outreach and development, some of my summer tasks were to use my skills with Google Maps to produce custom maps for the trust’s website, as well as produce trail summary videos, giving visitors an introduction to each trail.
Working for a small, motivated land trust was a great experience, and it was one where I was excited to come to work every morning, to see what the day was going to bring. Overall, this internship provided me with a wide variety of skills and knowledge and has definitely shaped me for the better. I hope to use a lot of the skills I learned to further myself in my future career. I feel as though I now have a new perspective on conservation, where the local community is a big factor in the process of conservation. Thank you very much for welcoming me with open arms from day one into the BHHT family! I loved my time with Blue Hill Heritage Trust and would do it over again in a heartbeat!
Soren Delinger 2019
My summer with the Blue Hill Heritage Trust brought me closer to the peninsula’s communities, both human and natural, through meaningful work. The variety of tasks kept me engaged and granted me a wide view into how land trusts operate on a day-to-day basis. I could count on each day bringing a new experience.
Extended inventory work in Surry Forest gave me experience with forestry tools and procedures, while also showing me the nooks of a less-visible corner of the peninsula. Days amidst the forest’s scrappy maples and aspens stood in stark contrast to the diversity and complexity of older forests and emphasized the value of keen forest management. Preparing for the auction and the annual meeting showed me the developmental side of the trust and offered me the chance to learn from the organization’s membership and board of directors. It showed me the passionate volunteers and members under the trust’s hood. I also learned the ropes of easement monitoring, current conditions reports, and other essential land conservation protocols. Finally, I honed my GIS skills in both analytical and presentational capacities. I produced trail maps for Surry Forest and surveyed the hydrologic features protected by the trust. I was happy to play a meaningful role with the trust and learn a ton at the same time.
Additionally, working on the Blue Hill Peninsula offered me a chance to explore a beautiful corner of Maine both during and after work. Even on the most tiring days of trail work, I was still working on a rocky coast or a beautiful forest. Penny’s Preserve and Kingdom Woods quickly became old favorites. Additionally, I made sure to explore Baxter’s peaks and Blue Hill Bay’s islands on the weekends. Between the mountains and the ocean, I was living an outdoorsperson’s dream.
Working with a small, motivated team was a phenomenal experience, and it made me excited to come to work each morning. Their support and advice offered me new perspectives on conservation and the role of land trusts. More than anything, my summer in Blue Hill taught me that community and conservation are inexorably linked, and the success of each depends on the other. Every day with the Blue Hill Heritage Trust brought a new experience and a new lesson, for then and for now. Given the choice, I would do it over in a heartbeat.
Morgan Zenter 2019
As a rising senior double majoring in Biology and Environmental Studies at Connecticut College, my studies have been focused in the sciences, including conservation biology and ecology. In my classes, I’ve learned about the benefits of land conservation and its importance to wildlife habitat and ecological systems. Working with Blue Hill Heritage Trust I got my feet wet and experienced first-hand what it’s like behind the scenes of a land trust. This summer, I worked alongside Maine Conservation Trail Corps in a trail rehabilitation project to create a boardwalk connecting two very trafficked parts of the downtown of Blue Hill. Additionally, we worked to inventory a forest to assess its value and maturity, and also monitored easements, which involved going to each property to assess any changes. Hauling wood down a muddy trail by hand may not be the most glorious of tasks but it is all part of the process, and in addition to having built part of a boardwalk, I will be ending the summer far more physically fit than I was prior.
Working with Blue Hill Heritage Trust, I have learned more than just the scientific aspects and inner workings of what it takes to conserve land. I have hiked alongside trail stewards who volunteer to hike a specific trail often and keep up on basic trail maintenance. These volunteers have willingly shared personal information ranging from stories of the trails to places where they go to meditate. I have helped with children’s events, including the creation of a story trail, and have heard how the children respond to the natural environment, creating imaginative stories of a mouse crossing one of the trail streams. Other events that I attended included the Blue Hill Farmers Market, the Northern Light Women’s Wellness Fair, board meetings and the Blue Hill Heritage Trust annual meeting. I have also had the opportunity to work closely with the Development Director with fundraising and other events including planning and attending the auction to support Access for All at Caterpillar Hill.
My summer with Blue Hill Heritage Trust has enabled me to see and experience the expansive reach the Trust has on its community. As I reflect on the summer, I have realized that in this rural setting all kinds of people, from local fishermen to day tourists, access the land, which has been conserved for many different reasons–for play, wildlife observation, solitude, hunting, and clam digging. The Trust serves as a unifying force to rally people around their natural surroundings that affect their daily habits.
Maitland Ianiri 2018
My summer working with BHHT has been an incredibly fulling experience. Blue Hill has been one of the most beautiful places to work and I have greatly enjoyed getting to know this wonderful community. It has been amazing to see how BHHT works strongly within the community to accomplish their conservation and educational goals.
One thing I enjoyed about this summer was that every day would bring something new. I spent time driving around and maintaining some of the many trails on the peninsula, getting to see all the beautiful land they have conserved. I was working out at one of the new 2,000 acre parcels, Meadowbrook Forest, doing species inventory and expanding my knowledge of plants in this region. I learned about the work that goes into conservation easement monitoring. Fridays were spent building the new Peters Brook trail where we got to learn from the local trail masters about how to construct trails for the public to enjoy with minimal impact.
I also got to spend time getting to see all the work that goes into the outreach side of the organization. I got to work at the farmers market and participate in several of the events that BHHT puts on. It was amazing to see how important these events were for bringing the community together and teaching them about the environment. I would always walk away from these events having learned something new (and sometimes with a bucket full of blueberries).
I feel like I have learned so much in my short time here and certainly owe it to the wonder staff at BHHT. The small staff here made it easy for the work place to immediately feel like home. It has also been amazing to see all the people who dedicate their time and resources to this organization. The members of this organization are crucial in making sure things run smoothly and it was amazing to see so many people passionate about preserving this beautiful peninsula.
I am very thankful for getting to work with BHHT this summer and grateful for all the connections that I have made. I look forward to returning to this wonderful peninsula!
Edouard Beardsley 2018
Working for BHHT has truly been an amazing experience. I have been coming to this region of Maine and this peninsula for my whole life and this internship has allowed me to fully explore this beautiful peninsula and deepen the connection I have to this area. It has been a great learning experience to see how BHHT works collaboratively with the community to further their conservation goals.
Some of my time here was spent helping with outreach work and going to events organized for the community by the trust. From my experience in these events, they really helped bring people together and celebrate the great conservation efforts that happen at BHHT. I enjoyed learning from this and it made me realize how important it is to include community members in conservation work. This is not only for things such as financial support but also to help spread the word to the rest of the community about how important conserving this area is to ensure the beauty of it stays intact for future generations. One of the most impressive things to me was to see how inclusive the trust is in getting community support, allowing people from all walks of life take part, including the elderly and people with disabilities.
For me one of the greatest aspects about this internship is how well rounded our day to day endeavors were. It felt like almost every day we were doing something different and new. From maintaining trails around the peninsula, building new trails out at Peters Brook, entering data and doing plant inventory at Meadowbrook, being in beautiful natural areas, and more, there was never a dull moment while working here. Being able to have a taste of all these different undertakings really taught me what working at a land trust is all about. The fact that BHHT is a small organization to me is what allowed me to be able to experience all different aspects of a land trust’s work. All this has motivated me to make a difference in whatever community I end up living in permanently.
Overall I have learned a great deal about land trust’s conservation efforts, and it really would not be possible without the amazing staff that runs this organization full time. The open-minded, supportive, hardworking, fun and thoughtful attitudes of everyone here made this experience what it is and really gives me hope for the future of conserving the beautiful lands of the peninsula which I hold very close to my heart. It is clear to me that this organization will continue to spread the passion for conservation in this area and I hope to be able to collaborate again in some way, shape or form!
I am so very grateful for this incredible work and learning experience at BHHT. Thank you so much for receiving me with open arms and including me in the BHHT family. I will always look back to this internship with fond memories!
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