On behalf of our Board of Directors, I want to convey to you our delight that the Boards of both the Southeast Land Trust and the Strafford Rivers Conservancy have agreed to merge the two organizations. The merger will create a stronger organization from two already successful groups that share the same priorities and values related to land protection in Strafford and Rockingham Counties.
The merger of Strafford Rivers Conservancy into the Southeast Land Trust began as an idea that, first shared between the two organizations, generated mutual enthusiasm and seemed to require little thought: combine the forces of two land trusts working in immediately adjacent regions, reduce necessary overhead, and better serve landowners and supporters. That said, we established a Southeast Land Trust merger committee and charged committee members to meet regularly with their Strafford Rivers Conservancy peers. Over the past seven months the merger committees discussed, identified and resolved important issues related to combining the two organizations.
I am pleased to report to you that the deliberate approaches taken during the merger negotiations in the areas of governance, program and land protection will indeed result in one very strong and influential regional land trust moving forward.
The merger is consistent with the core elements of the Southeast Land Trust strategic plan that many of you had a hand in shaping: strategic land protection relevant to the people in the region; increased impact through broader and deeper relationships with communities and people; and perpetual stewardship of the lands we protect. Indeed, the merger creates one organization working to protect agricultural, forest, wildlife and water resources within 99 percent of the Great Bay Watershed in New Hampshire.
The Southeast Land Trust is a strong organization in a good financial position and will benefit significantly from economies of scale. The new Southeast Land Trust will continue to be led by current Executive Director Brian Hart. The newly merged Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire is a significant yet logical consequence of volunteer land protection in two adjacent regions over the past 30 years and will maximize the future conservation and stewardship efforts in which you will have a hand in supporting. A combined membership will better serve all of you who care so deeply about land protection in our region. We are grateful for the consistent and generous support from all of you who make the work of the Southeast Land Trust possible. I welcome your feedback and comments.