RLHT honors community members dedicated to conservation

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RLHT named their 2021 Volunteer of the Year as Janet Bissell.

RANGELEY – Conservation community members were honored for their conservation contributions by Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust in August.

The awards included the Senator Angus King for Conservation Excellence, which were awarded individually to Warren Whitney and Betsy Ham, of Maine Coast Heritage Trust.

This award is meant to “publicly acknowledge those individuals who have worked to conserve lands and waters for the benefit of the community and future generations, in Maine and beyond,” Stated David Miller, Executive Director.

“It is particularly intended to recognize those heroic and unheralded citizens who have labored largely behind the scenes, and who may have been overlooked and unacknowledged for their contributions,” he said.

Two Spirit of the Community awards were awarded to Maine Department of Transportation employee’s Larry Johannesman and Fred Michaud.

“This award is given to those whose commitment to the Rangeley community has touched everyone,” Miller said.

Michaud has labored tirelessly on behalf of the Rangeley Region and has been the driving force behind the Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway.

Johannesman has been the leading landscape designer and is responsible for creating the Height of Land and Whip Willow Farm Scenic Overlooks along the byway. He’s also been the lead designer on RLHT’s Madrid Gateway property, which will host the Sandy River Scenic Turnout.

“Larry has captured our region of Maine perfectly and continues to do so; he gets us and understands how special this place is,” Amanda Laliberte, of RLHT said.

Additionally, RLHT named their 2021 Volunteer of the Year as Janet Bissell. Janet is a long-time supporter of RLHT and has been an active invasive plant patrol volunteer since 2014. In 2019, she took on Regional Coordinator for the entire Rangeley Lakes Region and continues to oversee lake leaders on 12 waterbodies. Bissell has stepped into a more significant role as a mentor to RLHT’s AmeriCorps Environmental Stewards, who coordinate the Headwaters Lake Protection Program, the last two summers.

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