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7 Lakes gains expertise, capacity by growing its staff

7 Lakes Alliance has recently grown its professional staff, increasing the organization’s capacity to carry out its twin missions of land conservancy and preservation of the lakes in the Belgrade Lakes watershed.

“We are thrilled to welcome these talented colleagues to the 7 Lakes team,” said Laura Rose Day, CEO and President. “Their combined scientific, communications, technical skills and passion will make 7 Lakes an even stronger force to meet the mounting challenges to our watershed.” The new additions, in the order in which they joined 7 Lakes, are as follows:

Land Steward

Jonathan Milne joined 7 Lakes Alliance as its Land Steward in November, overseeing the care and use of conservation properties within the Belgrade Lakes watershed’s 180 square miles including in the Kennebec Highlands. His role involves developing and implementing management plans for each property based on his evaluation and stewardship budgets that he helps craft.

The Land Steward also monitors preserves, documents conditions, manages invasive species and attends to property conditions, including trail development and maintenance. Milne is coordinating and leading events that build public understanding of and support for 7 Lakes Alliance’s land conservation programs. Those events include stewardship days, hikes, talks, paddles and workshops. He is also implementing land protection strategies to address conflicts between different users, overuse of fragile areas, illegal activities and encroachment on the properties.

Milne served as a park ranger for 10 years at Baxter State Park. He has worked on a range of conservation projects, including ecological assessments for superfund sites, baseline ecological surveys for conservation easements and acquisitions, forestry management surveys, vernal pool surveys and wetland analysis throughout New England.

Milne earned a bachelor’s degree in Recreation and Park Management from the University of Maine and a master’s degree in Environmental Science / Conservation Biology from Green Mountain College in Vermont.

Erosion Control Project Coordinator

Stuart Cole joined 7 Lakes Alliance as its Erosion Control Project Coordinator in April.

Cole primarily oversees two programs key to protecting and restoring lake water quality in the Belgrade Lakes watershed – the Youth Conservation Corps and LakeSmart.

7 Lakes’ Youth Conservation Corps is the largest YCC program in the state of Maine. Cole manages about a dozen high school and college students who install approximately 100 erosion control Best Management Practices, or BMPs, each summer. Those BMPs include planting buffers, installing infiltration steps, building rain gardens, laying riprap and spreading erosion-control mulch.

The LakeSmart program assists lakefront property owners by identifying erosion issues on shoreline lots and recommending BMPs that would reduce erosion. The program seeks to educate property owners about erosion control and encourage them to proactively take steps to protect the lakes. A native Mainer and enthusiastic outdoorsman, Cole graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in environmental policy and planning and a minor in geology.

Director of Communications and Operations

The 7 Lakes Alliance in June hired Anthony Wilson to serv in the newly created position of Director of Communications and Operations. Formerly the Belgrade town manager, Wilson will lead communication efforts ranging from listening to and connecting with 7 Lakes’ constituency, to overseeing production of the newsletter, to managing 7 Lakes’ social media outlets, to administering the website.

Operationally, Wilson will be assisting and supporting CEO Laura Rose Day in budgeting, team management, development campaigns and strategic planning. He will also be coordinating internal teams to ensure efficient and effective operations related to conservation and development.

Wilson served as Belgrade’s town manager for three years after having worked in municipal government in Texas for 12 years, including seven years as the communications director for a city of 100,000 residents. The first 20 years of Wilson’s career were spent as a newspaper journalist. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Texas at Tyler.

Assistant Lake Scientist

As 7 Lakes’ new Assistant Lake Scientist, Lizzy Gallagher will be focused on quantifying cycles that drive lakes to become over-rich in nutrients, which in turn spurs the rapid growth of algae. Gallagher joins the 7 Lakes team in August. Working with Lake Science Director Dr. Danielle Wain, Gallagher will be engaged in multiple research functions. Those include deploying water quality measurement tools, such as buoys and autonomous samplers, and collecting and analyzing the information gathered from those data streams. She will also participate in 7 Lakes’ numerous public education and outreach activities.

Gallagher recently earned her master’s degree in biology at Miami University in Ohio, where she worked in an aquatic ecology lab researching the effects of nutrient inputs and warming on pond ecosystems. After graduating from the University of Tampa with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science in 2015, she worked in environmental consulting and the outdoor industry. A Massachusetts native, Gallagher spent many childhood summers visiting Great Pond. She is passionate about protecting natural resources and loves to be outside on and off the job.



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