When you enjoy an open view of the water or a lush farm field, or walk on a wooded public trail around Freeport, odds are that Andy Cadot had a hand in preserving it. On April 27, Maine Coast Heritage Trust presented Andy with the 2013 Espy Land Heritage Award.
Andy follows a string of prestigious former winners. They include Paul Birdsall, who founded Maine Farmland Trust, Don Hudson, the longtime leader of the Chewonki Foundation, and Dave Getchell Sr., who founded Maine Island Trail Association.
The award was created in honor of Freeporter Jay Espy, the longtime president of the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, whom Andy described as “a visionary giant in land protection in Maine and nationally.”
Andy and his wife, Lindsey, moved to Freeport in the spring of 1973. Not long after they’d settled in, Andy joined the town’s Conservation Commission— and his passion for land conservation began.
In 1977 members of the Conservation Commission formed Freeport Conservation Trust, after realizing that the Town Council was not enthusiastic about accepting donations of protected land. The first property protected by the new land trust was Talbot Farm. Thirty-five years later, its open fields, often with grazing cows, make a scenic view along South Freeport Road.
For most of FCT’s history, Andy served as its Clerk and Treasurer. He helped shepherd dozens of projects that conserved more than 1,500 acres of open space, now with nearly 20 miles of public trails, until he stepped down from the board in 2010.
“This was an award for showing up,” Andy says of the honor, with his typical humility. “That I was selected is proof that if you are a foot soldier who shows up and works at land conservation for over 30 years, good things can happen.” Andy thanked all the foot soldiers who make land protection a daily priority in their lives.
Foot soldier or not, Andy’s journey has left Freeport a more open, natural and beautiful place to live, says current FCT President Mary Sauer.
“Andy has made invaluable lasting contributions to preserving special natural places in Freeport, too numerous to count,” Mary said. “FCT and the Town of Freeport will benefit forever from Andy’s dedication to land conservation.” Although Andy now splits his time between Portland and Roque Bluffs, he donated the $5,000 Espy Award prize to Freeport Conservation Trust. The Trust is now considering how the funds can be used to honor and enhance his legacy.