Jeff Clark


Just before Thanksgiving Day last November, Kent Wommack '77 got the classic good-news, bad-news, worse-news call. Wommack is head of The Nature Conservancy in Maine, and the caller was a timberland manager who had asked Wommack to back a client in acquiring prime acres of Maine forest on the upper St. John River, one of the most unspoiled waterways left in the United States. The good news was that the owner had agreed to sell the breathtaking chunk of land in the first place. The bad news was that the client was no longer interested in the deal. The worse news was that, if Wommack wanted to buy the land for The Nature Conservancy, he had to find $35.1 million-in six weeks.

Never mind that $35.1 million was twice the size of any previous purchase by the national Nature Conservancy. Never mind that the Maine chapter's last capital campaign had raised only $5 million-over a period of five years. Never mind, for that matter, that Wommack and his staff were trying to save, in only six weeks, almost as much land as Percival Baxter preserved over six decades of piecemeal acquisitions.


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