Artist Dick Kelly wanted to provide support to the Georges River Land Trust’s Bridging Two Rivers conservation initiative in a way that might motivate others to give, as well. The Spruce Head artist creates works in wood that are inspired by the natural world.

The great blue heron is one of the many species that depend on the rich habitat that lies between the St. George and Weskeag rivers. Kelly’s wooden relief of the majestic bird will be used as a raffle prize awarded to a contributor to the Bridging Two Rivers initiative.

“I thought that by donating this sculptural image of a familiar watershed friend, I might encourage more support of the Land Trust’s conservation efforts,” Kelly said. “We often drive along Route 131 and would like to see the area conserved for all of us to continue to enjoy.”

The drawing will take place at the Georges River Land Trust’s annual meeting Sept. 13, which will be held on the Anderson West property in South Thomaston this year.

In order to maintain the significant flyway between the Weskeag and St. George rivers, Georges River Land Trust has already conserved 485 acres of historic farmland to ensure its availability to the many species dependent upon it, as well as to preserve the magnificent views provided by the hayfields that sweep down to the water. Now in the fifth phase of its Bridging Two Rivers conservation initiative, the land trust seeks the final dollars needed to fund that work, including the purchase of the 38-acre Anderson West property.

Numerous donors have contributed to the Bridging Two Rivers initiative since its inception eight years ago, and grants have been received from a number of organizations devoted to the conservation of Maine’s natural resources including the Ram Island Fund of the Maine Community Foundation, Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, Davis Conservation Foundation, Bafflin Foundation, John Sage Foundation and the Fields Pond Foundation. Coupled with the adjacent Waldo Tyler Wildlife Preserve and lands conserved by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, more than 1,300 acres of field, marsh and woodlands in this biologically significant riparian corridor are now permanently conserved.

“The Anderson West property provides so many of the values the Georges River Land Trust works to conserve,” said Pamela Dewell, executive director, on a recent walk with local birders. “These open farm fields provide outstanding water views and habitat for grassland birds reliant on unfragmented blocks of land.”

The United States is losing 40 acres of farmland per minute, she added. Once the land trust takes title to a property, it also is able to provide public access.

“By conserving this land, we can affect a conservation grand-slam here on the Midcoast,” Dewell said.

To contribute to this project and earn a chance to win Kelly’s piece of art, call 594-5166.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.