The Nantucket Land Council is set to change its name to the Nantucket Land and Water Council. Executive Director Emily Molden announced the name change during the organization’s 49th annual meeting at the Nantucket Hotel on Tuesday as part of a new strategic vision.
The name change, Molden said, recognizes the Land Council’s focus on Nantucket’s “most important resource” and their ongoing water quality preservation efforts. The new name was approved by a unanimous vote by the Land Council’s board of directors and a subsequent unanimous vote by members during the meeting Tuesday.
Such a change is rare in a world where name recognition and continuity is key to success, but Land Council executives expressed confidence that the new name will better reflect their priorities and focus given that more than half of their time and resources are now devoted to protecting Nantucket’s water quality.
“We realized that, over the last decade or so, as the threat to and impact on our water resources has grown due to ongoing development and rising sea levels, we have increasingly devoted our resources to assessing, protecting, preserving and restoring our waters,” board member Lucy Leske said.
“In addition to our direct water initiatives, including delineation of the island’s watersheds and assisting with the establishment of our Wellhead Protection District, this land protection work has always had the essential impact of also protecting our waters,” Molden added. “Adding ‘Water’ to our name memorializes a priority that has always been there, but that is now more important than ever. We all need clean water. We drink it, we fish in it, we recreate in it. Where would we be without clean water?”
The name change comes just ahead of the Land Council’s 50th anniversary, coinciding with the release of a new strategic vision which emphasizes the importance of community health. A core part of that, the Land Council believes, is the quality of the island’s water.
Before agreeing to adopt the name change and the new strategic vision, board members solicited extensive feedback from the public and a steering committee. The group’s logo will be changed as well, incorporating the new name and switching from green to blue.
Additionally, during Tuesday’s meeting, attorney Peter Fenn, who has been the Land Council’s legal counsel for 42 years, announced his retirement, saying his work with the Land Council has been the most rewarding of his career. Fenn has taken multiple cases to the Supreme Court over his career and has represented the Land Council dozens of times. In recent years, Fenn has primarily drawn attention for championing the Land Council’s stalwart legal fight against the 40b Surfside Crossing development.