The Greater Lovell Land Trust is highly dependent on volunteers. Because so many do so much to help, it’s never easy to identify one outstanding volunteer, but this year the GLLT staff was unanimous in its decision. The GLLT Volunteer of the Year for 2018 is board member Brent Legere.
Several years ago Brent moved from Portland, where he’d worked as a commercial photographer, to Lovell to live a simpler life. You may know Brent as the owner of Lovell Box Company and Western Maine Slabworks. With a flair for woodworking and furniture design, Brent’s first job in the Lovell area was as a finish carpenter. Then, on a ride home from work one day, the proverbial light bulb went off in his head. He’d noticed that many people in western Maine placed old milk crates on their porches. The crates, while utilitarian, were also decorative. The name, Lovell Box Company, was obvious.
Brent sensed people’s connection to the land and to each other in the community from the start, and he set out to develop his own connections. He discovered the Greater Lovell Land Trust shortly after he moved to town in 2015. On one of those walks, participants needed to climb over a downed tree on the Gallie Trail at the Heald and Bradley Ponds Reserve and he later grabbed his chainsaw to reopen the path. But Brent wanted to help in a more significant way and this year he was invited to join the GLLT Board, attending monthly meetings and serving on the Properties Commission.
Brent is an avid outdoorsman and Sabattus Mountain is just up the street from his home—so he volunteered to serve as the steward for the property. Two Land For Maine’s Future grants enabled the State to purchase the 177-acre parcel on the mountain through the cooperative efforts of the Bureau of Parks and Lands and the Greater Lovell Land Trust. The land trust does not own Sabattus Mountain, but nevertheless decided a year ago to make a concerted effort to maintain the trail system there for the community and our visitors. Since joining the GLLT’s Properties Commission, Brent has completed basic trail work, hardscaped the driveway surface for better drainage, built a sturdy bridge over a stream, and created beautiful wooden signs for trail intersections. He’s also designing and building an informational kiosk for the trail head.
Taking care of Sabattus isn’t all that Brent has done. Last spring, he helped by creating bird house kits for the GLLT after-school program offered through Lovell Recreation at the New Suncook Elementary School, and arranged donations of materials from Lovell Lumber and Lovell Hardware. Brent even built mini sawhorses to aid the building process.
“I really liked that project,” Brent says. “It felt like it was specifically playing to my strengths. I have the workshop, tools and skills sets because I make boxes. I like to do stuff that has value.” Brent also participated in the weekly volunteer work sessions helping to clear trails, build new ones, and open views. “It’s nice to have the team effort,” says Brent. “The amount of work four or five people can complete in two hours is impressive.”
Brent takes satisfaction from hearing people in the community talk positively about the land trust and especially about Sabattus Mountain and the changes that have taken place there. He’s proud to share the GLLT’s role in caring for the mountain and making improvements. When asked what he would say to other young people who might consider volunteering for the GLLT, Brent says, “Just show up with what you have for skills and abilities. If you are interested, reach out. Just do it, an extra pair of hands and eyes can make a difference.”