2014-05-16 / Community

South Portland Land Trust seeks new leader

By Duke Harrington
Contributing Writer

SOUTH PORTLAND — As preparations are being made for an annual plant sale this Saturday, members of the South Portland Land Trust are hoping to find a new program manager to take root with the venerable organization.

Jon Dore, who led the 27-year-old land trust during two separate stints totaling nearly a decade, resigned from his position in March to lead another local nonprofit, which helps provide furniture for lowincome residents.

“We certainly will miss Jon,” said land trust President Steve Jochar on Monday. “He was a fantastic asset and resource for us. Right now we’re feeling the pain on his having moved on.”

Jochar, a South Portland Land Trust board member since 2006, who took the reins as president in February, said applications for the program manager job — a 15 hour per week position — will be accepted though May 23.

“I’d love have someone in the role in June,” he said.

“Jon will be nearly impossible to replace,” said City Councilor Tom Blake, a founding South Portland Land Trust member who still is on the board of directors.

“I’ve always been of the mind that the potential is there to become full time,” Blake said. “What we need right now is someone who is excellent at outreach with different boards and groups, who has a passion for what our mission is, who is very organized.”

Upcoming projects for the land trust include moving into its first official digs in the old pump house at Mill Creek Park. With the help of other volunteer stewards, trust members also hope to create a new connector trail among 18 miles it does not maintain between the Greenbelt Trail and Hinckley Park. Managing the 14 lots it owns across the city is also a priority.

First up, however, is the annual plant sale, a signature fundraising event second only to the Bug Light 5K, which South Portland Land Trust stages in conjunction with the South Portland Historical Society.

The sale, held in partnership with the city’s Community Garden Collective, will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the American Legion Hall at 413 Broadway. It has for years been a favorite of local green thumbs, given the amazing variety of annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs, wildflowers and groundcovers available for sale each year – not to mention the home-baked pies.

“It’s the perfect season now to be able to get outdoors and start those gardens,” said Jochar. “In addition to what we have for sale, there will be a wide array of folks on hand with fantastic plant knowledge to answer any question.”

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