Friends of Sears Island Strategic Plan 2011-2015


The mission of the Friends of Sears Island (FOSI) is to support permanent protection of Sears Island’s environmental and cultural resources; preserve its marine, shoreland, and forest ecosystems; and encourage educational and low impact recreational uses of the island.


FOSI envisions that people in local communities and throughout the state feel connected to Sears Island, take pride in the island, and work together with FOSI to ensure its protection now and for future generations. FOSI is funded by multiple sources; has broad community (financial and volunteer) support; has an active, committed, and enthusiastic board; and has established a network of volunteers and partner organizations actively involved in stewardship of the island.

What FOSI Does

FOSI helped secure the permanent protection of a 601-acre conservation easement on Sears Island, and was recognized by the state for its role in the long-term conservation of the island. FOSI works to: protect and conserve Sears Island, its habitats, and native floral and faunal species; inform the public about this unique natural and cultural resource, important not only to the local community but to the state; encourage low-impact use of the island to gain visibility and increase the public’s appreciation of it; support activities that minimize the impact of humans on the island; engage the community and local schools in activities on the island that promote a stewardship ethic; provide opportunities for community members to “connect” to the island through education and volunteer opportunities; form partnerships with Searsport and surrounding communities and other conservation organizations in the Penobscot region to stimulate interest, and participation, in conserving and protecting the island.


1) Working with Coastal Mountains Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust, ensure that the Sears Island management plan is completed.

2) Expand board strategically, adding new members with skill sets and ages to complement those of existing board.

3) Develop strategies to increase public awareness, low-impact use of the island (community members and schools), and support of FOSI. Increase membership base and volunteer network.

4) Write grant proposals and pursue other funding opportunities to grow FOSI’s budget, with the ultimate goal of having funds available to hire a paid, part-time outreach coordinator.

5) Form partnerships with Searsport/ nearby towns and organizations with similar missions for shared funding of activities and stewardship of the island.

6) Maintain existing trails (including acquiring necessary tools), improve signage and entrance and, collaborating with partners, plan 1-2 community engagement  activities per year on the island.

7) Working with DOT and the Town of Searsport, track public use of the island.

Strategic Goals and Objectives

Goal 1:  Protect and preserve the natural and historic resources of Sears Island


  1. Facilitate completion of the management plan, which outlines roles and responsibilities for FOSI and partners, and implement that plan.
  2. Design new trails and maintain existing ones to minimize human impact to the natural environment and preserve the island’s character.
  3. Establish a monitoring program to record changes to the environment.
  4. Work with volunteers, students, and partner organizations to control invasive species.

Goal 2: Create a strong, active, and vibrant organization


  1. Recruit new board members so that the board has complementary skills needed to carry out its mission and programs, greater age diversity, and access to wider networks of people, organizations, and geography. Develop a board leadership and succession plan and educate board.
  2. Recruit volunteers by developing interesting, fun projects and invite their participation.
  3. Increase membership by offering engaging educational and volunteer opportunities.
  4. Create two part-time volunteer staff positions—one to help grow membership and coordinate education and outreach and the other to oversee stewardship activities.
  5. Research funding opportunities (e.g., meet with Maine Community Foundation).
  6. Organize events for specific audiences to target potential donors.
  7. Develop two draft budgets, for current funding level and for potential increased funding. Use management plan to secure funding commitments from major partners (MCHT, DOC, DOT).

Goal 3: Engage Searsport, the broader community, schools, and other partner organizations in activities to encourage them to become stewards of Sears Island


  1. Develop PowerPoint and other presentations about the natural and historical resources of Sears Island to be used with schools, community groups, and partners.
  2. Develop interpretive signs for use on the island.
  3. Organize recreational events and informational activities, including “walk and talk” events, to attract people to the island.
  4. Seek opportunities for colleges, schools, and other educational groups to use Sears Island as a teaching/learning resource and to participate in monitoring/stewardship programs.
  5. Develop simple field guides to various resources of Sears Island, for use by hikers/kayakers and to support educational activities.
  6. Explore opportunities for geo-cache events, legacy tree trail, etc.

Goal 4: Develop programs and strategies so that residents and visitors have a good understanding of the natural and historic resources of Sears Island and enjoy, protect, and sustain those resources.


  1. Complete improved website with links, and incorporate social marketing tools (e.g., Facebook and Twitter) to reach a wider audience.
  2. Seek opportunities for board and volunteers to promote Sears Island at community service organizations, condo associations, etc.
    1. Develop: a “short speech” to highlight FOSI and Sears Island to share with neighbors, friends, potential volunteers, funders, and members. (Expand the short speech with a PowerPoint for other settings and audiences.)
  3. Create a marketing/communications plan
    1. Develop:
  1. An “identity” campaign with logo, letterhead, revised brochure, etc.
  1. A video for local cable channels and pitch a program idea to highlight Sears Island recreational and natural resources to Maine Public Broadcasting for their community film series.
  1. An ongoing schedule of press releases and public service announcements to highlight FOSI activities and accomplishments—and develop ongoing relations with press and the media.
  1. Display materials about Sears Island and FOSI to share at educational events, community fairs, etc.
  1. An updated brochure with clarified mission statement, more engaging text, and new photos.
  1. Compile extensive e-mail lists and develop ongoing connections with members and volunteers through regular mailings, e-newsletters, and social marketing tools to alert them, as well as the general public, about events and opportunities to get involved.

Goal 5: Create a long-term plan for Sears Island


  1. Create a presence for FOSI on Sears Island and in the state, which communicates that FOSI is the prime conservation steward for Sears Island.
  2. Develop a strong board and organization, capable of sustaining an annual operating budget that supports a small staff (possibly an office?) and various stewardship and educational projects.
  3. Develop a strong and supportive constituency for the portion of Sears Island that is protected by the conservation easement.
  4. Work with partners to protect Sears Island.
  5. Develop a network of trails with destinations, picnic tables, and interpretive signs.
  6. Maintain the FOSI website, which may entail training board members or volunteer/paid staff.

Implementation Plan 2011-2012

This task list will serve as an implementation plan to be reviewed annually.





Estimated completion date

Task 1

Write grant proposal to PBA


September 2011

Task 2

Launch new website/e-newsletter


Sept.-Oct. 2011

Task 3

Prioritize trails projects


September 2011

Task 4

Develop board job desc./matrix


September 2011

Task 5

Add three new board members


October 2011

Task 6

Contract with designer for logo


October 2011

Task 7

Develop communications/mktg. plan


November 2011

Task 8

Revise brochure, produce letterhead


December 2011

Task 9

Create two-year budget (2012-14)


December 2011

Task 10

Complete management plan


January 2012

Task 11

Identify community partnerships


January 2012

Task 12

Identify/meet financial supporters


March 2012

Task 13

Develop short speech/PowerPoint


April 2012

Task 14

Improve signage/entrance


May 2012

Task 15

Develop display materials


May 2012

Task 16

Plan 2 activities/events


May-Sept.. 2012

Task 17

Cultivate media relations


June-Sept. 2012

Task 18

Maintain website



Task 19

Set up monitoring program (from NRI)


April-Nov. 2012

Task 20

Track public use of island

Bob (DOT, Searsport)

Jan.-Dec. 2012