We were excited to see this project by Mikayla Kifer highlighted on the Bowdoin website. We worked closely with Mikayla in the fall of 2016 on her interactive GIS “story map” called Invasive Species Management for the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust.
We love partnering with Bowdoin students in all of the diverse ways that we do. This project was particularly rewarding because this map is so useful to us and the community, and the connection we made with Mikayla is continuing to grow.
Thank you to Mikayla and Eileen Johnson, Program Manager of the Bowdoin Environmental Studies Program.
Overview of the Story Map:
“In order to understand the current data collection and invasive management capabilities of the BTLT and make recommendations for improvements to data collection methods, this study uses data on invasive species made available by the BTLT and iMap Invasives, a data collection and management system, and visualizes and analyzes it to determine its capabilities and weaknesses.
This study primarily addresses two questions: (1) What is the range and extent of invasive species on BTLT properties? (2) How should the BTLT move forward in collecting data on invasive species on their properties?”
By Emily Swan, BTLT Board Secretary and Community Engagement and Programs Committee Chair.
“Feed the soil, not the plant. If there’s one thing you take away from this lecture, this is it!” Master Gardener Linton Studdiford told the capacity crowd gathered to hear his talk about organic soil management in the St. Paul’s Church parish hall on a chilly January afternoon.
This may have been the most important message of the inaugural workshop in BTLT’s 2017 Winter Gardening Workshop series, but it was far from the only thing the 80 or so assembled gardeners learned about soils.
I came away with this practical trilogy of garden principles:
1. Feed the soil, not the plant.
2. To nourish soil, add organic matter.
3. Before you do anything, get a soil test!
And this amazing fact about the biological richness of healthy soil: there are more bacteria in one tablespoon of soil than there are people in Africa, China, and India!
And this fact sure to dampen the arrogance of any soil know-it-alls that may have been lurking in the hall: We only know 10% of the animal and plant species living in soil!
Linton’s knowledge of all aspects of gardening is encyclopedic, and we all came away with a much clearer understanding of the science of soil. But his practical knowledge of gardening is equally vast, based both on study and on decades of gardening experience, and I left with a long to-do list to improve my extremely humble garden and compost pile. I’ve just scrawled on my October calendar – “Don’t forget to use the mower bag to collect chopped leaves to add to the compost pile next winter!” For November – “Dig leaves into garden,” and for May – “Apply compost but don’t overtill!!” For April/May – “The time to add nitrogen is in late spring to stimulate plant growth when the soil is still cold.” And the list goes on and on.
What better time than the depths of winter to expand your gardening knowledge? Now I’m just chomping at the bit to get into the garden and put it all into practice!
The next Winter Gardening Workshop is Sunday, January 29, and will be an opportunity to learn about Permaculture from one of the region’s leading experts, Jesse Watson. Learn more at:www.btlt.org/wgw-permaculture
In celebration of the changing of the season, on December 21 over 100 people gathered at the Labyrinth in the Woods to walk the path, sing songs, and bring joy and community into the longest night of the year.
Thank you to Sarah Rodgers and First Parish Church for making the event a reality, and Trevor Peterson for the lovely video.
We are very excited to announce a great fall fundraiser with the Land Trust’s Business Partner, Portland Pie Company.
Print and bring this voucher into the restaurant in Brunswick, and Portland Pie Company will donate 10% of your guest check back to the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust. CLICK HERE for PDF version.
(You must provide a print copy of the voucher. Only accepted at the Brunswick Portland Pie location. Valid November 14 – December 11 2016)
What a great way to have a good meal and support community conservation at the same time!
PLUS on December 1, all day long Portland Pie will donate $1 for every pizza, Maine Beer Company beer, and kamasouptra soup purchased. Learn more about that event by clicking HERE.
We have some very exciting news!
The Hannaford Supermarket located in Brunswick has chosen Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust as the latest beneficiary of the Hannaford Helps Reusable Bag Program!
This means for the entire month of November, every time anyone purchases the blue reusable bag with the good karma message at the Brunswick Hannaford, we receive $1!
This is truly a great opportunity for us and an easy way for you to show your support for the Land Trust!
Please go to the store, find the reusable bag rack and buy a few bags!
And remember to spread the word – the more bags purchased, the bigger donation to the Land Trust!
For more information about the Hannaford Helps Reusable Bag Program, visit hannaford.bags4mycause.com.
Thank you to all of you who were able to attend the event with the Botanical Explorer. I know that I was inspired and went home with a lot of interesting ideas to contemplate!
Below are a few links I thought would be helpful. Perhaps the most important is the Review for Joseph.There is also information about a couple of food plants that can be grown in Maine, a great Maine seed saver that Joseph mentioned last night, and information about resources for growing rare seeds to collect and share in our community.
Critique The Botanical Explorer
Visit www.greatgardenspeakers.comand post a review of last night’s presentation to help Joseph get to other communities like ours around the globe. Scroll down below his list of topics, and you will see Rate This Speaker in orange. It just takes a few moments and is an important way to say thank you!
Kajari Melon, Baker Creek Seeds
Remember this stunning beauty that Joseph mentioned might be a good candidate for growing in Maine? With a growing season as short at 70 days, maybe! Let’s try…
You can get seeds here: Baker Creek Seeds
Will Bonsall, Khadigar Farm
A great Mainer doing important work protecting the diversity in our food system. Through his Scatterseed Project, a great deal of the seedstock of vegetables, legumes, small grains, and tree fruits, which we are able to grow in a cold Maine climate, are still able to be acquired because of Will. Read more HERE or watch the VIDEO. (Jo Josephson photo)
Also known as the Jerusalem Artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus, is a North American native that grows well in Maine (some might say too well!). The tuber is harvested in the spring and has a mild flavor and texture like a potato. Read more about the sunchoke HERE and place an ORDER through Fedco.
Are you interested in growing rare and heirloom seeds for community?
Would you like to get involved in growing rare seeds and saving them for wider distribution? Get in touch! We have community garden space that could be perfect for this type of effort and we would love to help make it happen! Contact Lee Cataldo any time or call 729-7694.
In his forthcoming book “The Stranger in the Woods,” Michael Finkel tells the story of Christopher Knight, the hermit who lived undetected in the woods near North Pond for nearly three decades. Reading the book, I was struck most by how Knight managed to disappear so completely while living only yards from the cabins that ring the pond. He was so close to others, Finkel writes, that he couldn’t even sneeze for fear of drawing attention.
The book reminded me how easy it is to separate yourself from the hustle and bustle of other people in Maine, where thick wilderness is often only yards from well-traveled roads and populated areas. I got the same reminder this week while hiking in the Cathance River Nature Preserve in Topsham.
The 230-acre preserve, tucked between Interstate 295 and a retirement community, is a wonderful escape in a fairly developed stretch of the Midcoast.
Access is possible via two trailheads on Topsham’s Evergreen Circle, as well as a connector trail on the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust’s Cathance River Trail. To reach the main trailhead, enter the Highland Green development (marked by a large sign and white fencing) from Route 196 in Topsham. Follow the main road through the development for a mile and a half, passing the suburban retirement homes of the community, as well as a few holes on the nine-hole Highland Green Golf Club. Just beyond Junco Drive, you’ll see a wooden staircase and signs marking the entrance to the Cathance River Nature Preserve. Beside it are nine angled parking spaces for hikers.
The trails cover nearly six miles, winding through mixed hardwood forest alongside the Cathance River. Two longer main trails – the riverfront Cathance River Trail and upland Highland Trail – run in rough parallel for much of the length of the preserve, with a number of shorter yellow-blazed trails connecting the two. These short spurs mean that hikers can go from less than a mile to nearly six.
From the staircase alongside Evergreen Circle, it’s a short hike along a well-trod road to reach the Cathance River Education Alliance Ecology Center, the center of the preserve. Completed a decade ago, the center is described by the alliance as a “building that teaches,” with over a dozen green, sustainable features. It’s open every Sunday from noon to 2 p.m.
Turning left at the building, the development of Highland Green quickly fades away. After passing a large vernal pool just south of the ecology center, the Highland Trail slopes gently downward toward the northwest corner of the preserve. Here it meets the head of the Cathance River Trail. A sharp right puts hikers beside the Cathance River, which churns east toward the Androscoggin.
During spring runoff, there are challenging rapids for kayakers wishing to run the Cathance (and you can see these adventurers from the trail). But in this relatively dry fall, the river is but a picturesque trickle.
The trail runs alongside the river for about a mile, gently rising to scenic rock outcrops before falling back toward the riverbed. On the right, the Barnes Leap, Beaver and Rapids trails spurs connect back to the Highland Trail, giving weary hikers a chance to cut short their loop and head back toward the ecology center. Beyond the turn to the Rapids Trail, the Cathance River Trail leaves the riverside and reconnects with the Highland Trail.
From the trail junction, a right brings hikers back toward the trailhead, completing a loop. Following the white blazes to the left connects to the half-mile Ravine Trail. At the Clay Brook Bridge, the Preserve ends, though hikers can continue along a Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust trail, ending after two miles at a trailhead on Cathance Road.
In addition to this large network of trails, the Heath Trail (also part of the Cathance River Nature Preserve) circles the 30-acre Heath Sanctuary within Highland Green. The trailhead is on Evergreen Circle, opposite the hiker parking spaces.
Foliage is passing peak but vibrant colors still line the sides of the trail. Many of these colorful leaves have started to fall from the trees, so keep your eyes open for the many trail blazes – a carpet of fallen foliage can make spotting the rutted trails a challenge.
Don’t let the development at the Topsham Mall and Highland Green deceive you – there’s great fall hiking to be found nearby. With just a little effort, you can disappear into the calm and beauty of the Maine woods.
Josh Christie is a freelance writer living in Portland. Along with his brother, Jake, he writes about great Maine destinations for outdoors enthusiasts. Josh can be reached at:
~ THIS POSITION HAS BEEN FILLED ~
The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust is excited to announce that we are hiring for two positions:
For both positions you should be experienced in the work and dedicated to the Land Trust’s mission, as well as be a team player willing to work in a diverse, busy non-profit setting. We offer a positive, flexible work environment with vacation and benefits.
Click on the links above to read more about each position.
Both positions are open until filled. Apply by sending a one-page cover letter, resume, and three references to Angela Twitchell, Executive Director, at email@example.com or by regular mail to 108 Maine St., Brunswick, ME 04011 (no phone calls, please).