Bennett Island Forever?
Help us Conserve Bennett Island!
We want to thank more than 400 donors who have already contributed to the campaign to Save Bennett Island Forever. Your overwhelming response and generosity has been inspiring. You have flocked flamingos, attended house parties, sent in contributions in response to newsletter articles and other appeals, and some even swam one mile around Bennett Island (and asked your friends and families to support your personal effort to protect the island).
Bear-Paw has never seen such widespread community support for one of its conservation projects. However, we are not done yet. We are still $47,000 short of our fundraising goal but we can do this by the December 31 deadline.
With a little less than three months left for the campaign to Save Bennett Island Forever (BIF), Bear-Paw has raised $187 thousand dollars to purchase a conservation easement on the island and permanently protect it from development. We need another $13,000 for the purchase and $34,000 to cover the cost of completing the project and stewarding the easement (staff time, legal fees, fundraising expenses, etc.).
We have already raised over $92,000 from over 400 people just like you – people who care deeply about the lake, its wildlife, and its residents. The Thomas Haas Fund from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation offered a $20,000 match early in the summer to help challenge other campaign contributors and people really responded. They met the match, easily doubling it.
The Town of Strafford’s Conservation Commission, the largest single contributor to the project, also increased their pledge of support to $50,000 over the summer. The town sees the value of protecting this special place – for wildlife and for Strafford taxpayers, especially seasonal residents, visitors, and recreational lake users. Unfortunately, the Town of Northwood declined support for the project even though many of its residents have.
The Davis Conservation Foundation, the McIninch Foundation, and the Lewis Family Foundation contributed another $25,000 together. These regional charitable foundations often contribute to projects that help us fill a gap and lower the cost of projects to the towns we serve.
The members of Bear-Paw and the other contributors to the campaign to Save Bennett Island Forever are committed to completing this project, one way or another. It is not too late for you to help. If you have not contributed yet, now is the time to give. If you have already contributed, please consider making one more gift to help us end the campaign. We are also looking for friends who are willing to host a house party or other fundraising events!
Once we have enough money to purchase the conservation easement, Bear-Paw will arrange for the completion of the project and start planning a celebration. We will all deserve it by the time we get there!
Some opportunities only come along once in a lifetime and then they are lost forever. This is one of those times. Bear-Paw has been trying to create an opportunity to conserve Bennett Island almost since its founding in 1995. One of our earliest events was a field trip to the island with its owner, Bruce Montville. Now, almost 20 years later, Bruce and his family have decided that it is time to protect Bennett Island forever!
Undeveloped islands are a rare natural resource, in the Bear-Paw region and on Bow Lake in particular. Located in Strafford and Northwood, the lake is home to a wide variety of wildlife; including a pair of breeding Bald Eagles that live on Bennett Island and Common Loons that nest on and around it. Few people visit Bow Lake without taking a lap around Bennett Island. The lake is also a popular spot for fishing, swimming, and boating.