One of the projects of First Light that emerged from the first cohort of the Learning Journey is an effort to coordinate non-native land-affiliated organizations around contact and conversation with the Tribes. To do this, we created a Conservation Community Delegation for Wabanaki engagement to pool resources and coordinate the conservation community’s skills and abilities to best collaborate and respond to the needs and requests from the Wabanaki Commission on Land and Stewardship Psiw ut skitkamiq kignumin (the whole earth is our home).

Coordinating Land Trust Communication and Action:  The role of the Conservation Community Delegation

The Conservation Community Delegation primarily collaborates with the Wabanaki Commission on Land and Stewardship to develop processes and tools for sharing or returning land. Another important role of the Delegation is to serve as a liaison between the conservation community and the Tribes; The Delegation is available to receive requests from the larger conservation community in Maine about Wabanaki engagement and considers (with Wabanaki input) whether that engagement would be a benefit to the Tribes. This process hopefully minimizes the administrative and communication burden on Tribal representatives.

The Conservation Community Delegation can be helpful as your first contact when your organization has a question about offering transfers of stewardship to the Tribes or Wabanaki engagement projects. They will consider your question and respond or connect you with a member of the Wabanaki Commission for further conversations. Please see below for the contact information of each Delegation member and their specific roles.

As part of their service on the Conservation Community Delegation, member organizations are required to send a letter to First Light committing to sharing the resources needed for this work. You can view the letters of commitment to the Delegation here.

The Conservation Community Delegation is currently made up of representatives from The Nature Conservancy, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Appalachian Mountain Club, Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative, the Forest Society of Maine, Maine Mountain Collaborative, and Land in Common. In 2019, Peter and Ciona invited the current members to serve for initial 3-year terms because they were members of the first cohort of the learning journey and demonstrated organizational commitment to the larger goals of First Light. The Wabanaki Commission on Land and Stewardship determined the size of the Delegation. In 2022, the Conservation Community Delegation voted to add one new member to the Delegation, welcoming Ethan Miller from Land in Common. Other organizations will be invited to apply in future years.

Here are roles and contact information of the current Delegation members:

  • Jess Burton: Liaison and communicator with the conservation community
    • Executive Director at Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative
    • Email:
  • Susan Caldwell: Liaison with potential private land donors
    • Conservation Coordinator at The Nature Conservancy
    • Email:
  • Ethan Miller: Cooperative land governance
    • Organizational Development Coordinator & Resident Member at Land in Common
    • Email:
  • Molly Payne Wynne: Fisheries and freshwater restoration projects
    • Freshwater Program Director at The Nature Conservancy
    • Email:
  • Kristin Peet: Land projects, cultural access tools, wildlife projects
    • Forestland Conservation Specialist at Forest Society of Maine
    • Email:
  • Steve Tatko: Cultural access tools (Harvest permits)
    • Maine Woods Initiative Land Manager at Appalachian Mountain Club
    • Email:
  • Ciona Ulbrich: Cultural access tools (Various tools), land projects
    • Senior Project Manager at Maine Coast Heritage Trust
    • Email:
  • Bryan Wentzell: Legislature, Western Maine land projects
    • Executive Director of Maine Mountain Collaborative
    • Email: