Western Foothills Land Trust ME West GIS toolMembers of the Maine West initiative are using a new regional mapping tool to help prioritize community conservation projects with strong ties to other important community interests, such as health, education and the economy.

The GIS (Geographic Information System) mapping tool uses non-traditional metrics such as opportunity for educational programming, whether a project would help grow a town’s conservation infrastructure, and proximity to schools, hospitals, and town centers, to identify high priority projects. The tool encourages groups working on regional conservation efforts to think about conservation as a community engagement tool.

getNEK logoAttracting visitors and new residents is a continual challenge for rural regions like the NEK. Locals know the Kingdom as a vibrant and fun place, but visitors are often not aware of the wide range of amenities that make it destination-worthy. The getNEKedVT campaign is designed to introduce people to the region by creating social media buzz and driving visitation of NEK businesses and events through fun and engaging social media, self-guided tours, prizes and more.

"We'd like to welcome visitors through a light-hearted approach to the spirit of what they'll find here, and we hope they'll explore and stay," said Anna Rubin, director of external relations with the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium.

The campaign brings the fun with its name — getNEKedVT — and a striking cow-king-moose logo. It offers a series of self-guided [NEKed] tours and challenges to get people engaged with the many unique regional destination experiences available to visitors. These tours include culture and arts, music, craft breweries, and athletic events. Each tour uses offers prizes like getNEKed t-shirts and sticker packs to people who complete them and document their travels in on social media. If this sounds like fun, you can begin planning your own NEK tour here

The Aspen Institute recently featured the Northern Forest Center’s unique approach to rural economic development during a live webcast presentation from Washington, D.C.

Rob Riley at Aspen InstituteThe Institute’s Community Strategies Group looked at the Center's work as part of its research to answer two questions they hear frequently: “Who can we work with to do more for rural America?” and “… and what works?”

A major focus of Aspen's report is how the Center and our peers are engaging with the communities we serve to improve local, economic, social and health outcomes, equity and long-term prosperity. Aspen concluded that how we do this work sets us apart.

Rangeley CDA CohortLeaders from the business, municipal, and non-profit sectors in Maine’s Rangeley Lakes region came together in May to build skills and local team capacity to advance community revitalization goals through the second-ever Community Destination Academy.