The Maine Lakes Resource Center, MLRC, is owned and managed by an independent 501(c)3 established in 2011, with a board of directors comprised of representatives from its founding partners: the Belgrade Lakes Association (BLA), Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance (BRCA), and Colby, in addition to other community members, both local and seasonal. In an effort to make the Center a vital element of community life, it is made available to local groups such as the land-trust organizations, the Belgrade Business Group, Farmers Market, and other Lake Associations.
The conservation partners have a wealth of expertise. Our founding partner, the Belgrade Lakes Association, established in 1908, has deep roots in the community. The BRCA and Maine Lakes Society have professional staff, while Colby’s department of environmental studies, led by chemistry professor and MLRC board member Whitney King, provides access to scientists, student volunteers as well as funding resources. The MLRC has a program director with many years of experience leading non-profit organizations and a staff dedicated to operating the Center year-round. Lastly, the MLRC board, which was responsible for the successful creation of the MLRC and its $2.5 million fundraising effort, has a broad range of conservation, management, and financial expertise.
The economic and environmental well-being of Maine depends heavily on its lakes. Unfortunately, lake water quality has been in decline for many years. Property owners must take responsibility for reversing this trend by halting the flow of storm water runoff by utilizing the best management practices. Our mission is to provide the visiting public with access to information on just how they can combat this growing threat to our lakes.
The MLRC organizes non-conservation activities of general appeal (art shows, wildlife presentations, history demonstrations, and lectures on a broad variety of topics) that draw people to the Center, where they are exposed to conservation exhibits and short presentations of communal interest such as LakeSmart practices, options for volunteer work, or where to purchase plants suitable for a rain garden and buffer strips.
The building and creation of the Maine Lakes Resource Center was thoughtfully designed to bring disparate conservation organizations closer together, reduce redundancy, increase outreach, and grow capacity to reach further into the community; in short, to bring others science that can be used as part of their daily behavior.