The Maine TREE Foundation (Maine TREE) is pleased to announce that Jonathan LaBonte of Auburn has been hired to join the staff as the new Executive Director effective July 1st. LaBonte joins Maine TREE after extensive community and natural resource-based work with State Government, the Androscoggin Land Trust, and others, including three terms as Mayor of the City of Auburn. Since first earning his degree in chemical engineering in the University of Maine’s pulp and paper program, he has built a career developing partnerships to ensure community and organizational successes in and around his hometown, spanning public health, transportation, economic development, natural resources and recreation.
“The opportunity to join such a capable team in delivering on Maine TREE’s statewide mission is one I am fortunate to be entrusted with,” shared LaBonte in accepting the new role. “Maine’s forests, from family tree farms and community forests to public lands and forests owned and managed as private investments, provide significant economic, social and ecological values to communities from Kittery to Fort Kent. I’m excited to build on existing partnerships, and seek out new ones, to help Maine people of all ages learn about these values and inform research about their impacts.”
Alexander Ingraham, the President of the Maine TREE Foundation Board, commented “We are delighted to welcome Jonathan on board at Maine TREE starting in mid-June. He brings a wealth of experience with non-profits, community work, and passion to the role. We look forward to his leadership and helping him have a successful start at the Foundation. I would also like to thank Henry Whittemore, the retiring executive director of Maine TREE, with a deep thank you for the role he has played over the last few years working with our board to realign and invigorate what makes the Maine TREE Foundation so important to the forests of Maine and the Maine community.”
Jonathan LaBonte begins his new role on June 15 and will work with Henry Whittemore to accomplish a smooth transition and to continue to grow and spread the message and good work of Maine TREE Foundation and its programs. Whittemore noted the search process attracted many well-qualified candidates. “I am delighted to be able to hand over the leadership of the Maine TREE Foundation to Jonathan, and feel confident the organization will be in good hands. I look forward to facilitating a smooth transition in any way I can and to assisting Jonathan in getting to know Maine TREE’s staff, constituents, and core programs.”
Maine TREE (Timber Research and Environmental Education) is an independent, private, 501c3 non-profit, and the state’s pre-eminent statewide leader in educating and advocating for the sustainable use of the forest and the ecological, economic, and social health of Maine’s forest community. Maine TREE is the state-sponsor of Project Learning Tree, a highly regarded environmental education program for students in grades preK-12, and, at the center of its research initiatives, owns and operates the Holt Research Forest in Arrowsic. It was founded in 1989 by a group of dedicated timberland owners, forest products producers, tree farmers and others interested in the Maine forest. The offices of Maine TREE are located at 535 Civic Center Drive, Augusta, Maine.