Bley recognized as a master of complex conservation projects that have helped shape landscapes in every corner of the state
TOPSHAM – Maine Coast Heritage Trust has named Jerry Bley as recipient of the 2022 Espy Land Heritage Award, an annual award that recognizes an individual, organization, or coalition for exemplary conservation efforts in Maine.
“Jerry has been involved in land conservation in Maine on multiple levels for more than 30 years,” shared MCHT President Kate Stookey. “Throughout his career, he has exhibited a keen ability to effectively collaborate with multiple organizations, municipal leaders, and state agencies to protect large scale tracts, small community parks, and everything in between.”
“Jerry Bley has also played a leadership role in addressing community conservation needs, climate change resilience, protection of critical resources, and the expansion of outdoor recreational opportunities,” explained Warren Whitney, director of MCHT’s Maine Land Trust Program. “His work as chair of Governor King’s Land Acquisition Priorities Council in 1997 and more recently as co-coordinator of the Maine’s Land Conservation Task Force in 2019 have shaped Maine’s conservation priorities for decades.”
“What distinguishes every really successful land conservation project is the presence of someone who thoroughly understands everything that needs to take place and when,” wrote 7 Lakes Alliance board member Peter Kallin. “That’s where you will find Jerry, dotting every “i” and crossing every “t” and continually pointing to the next thing that needs to be done to ensure success, not caring who “gets the credit” but simply trying to get the deal done.”
As principal of Creative Conservation, LLC, a land use and environmental consulting business, Bley helps countless land trusts, families, and individuals develop sound strategies to conserve valued lands. He works tirelessly with many Maine families, sometimes needing to navigate complex family dynamics, to achieve conservation successes. This work involves listening, exploring options, and looking for creative, often out-of-the-box, solutions that result in win-win outcomes. Bley also puts these skills to use as coordinator of the Pierce Pond Watershed Trust.
In honoring past President Jay Espy with this award, the board of directors of MCHT created a fund that awards $5,000 per year to a conservation charity in honor of that year’s Espy Land Heritage Award winner. This year, the financial award will be divided equally between Pierce Pond Watershed Trust, 7 Lakes Alliance, Forest Society of Maine, Francis Small Heritage Trust, and Kennebec Land Trust.
MCHT is a dynamic, multifaceted organization with initiatives ranging from preserving coastal access for communities to high impact ecological work focused on reconnecting waterways and improving coastal resiliency to climate change. A leader in Maine’s nationally renowned land conservation efforts since 1970, MCHT maintains a growing network of almost 150 coastal and island preserves free and open to everyone and leads the 80-member Maine Land Trust Network to ensure that land conservation provides benefits to all Maine communities. Get involved at www.mcht.org.