Archive for category: Events

Spring Birding Extravaganza 2017

Join BTLT and our conservation neighbors again this year for the Spring Birding Extravaganza!

Birders of all ages and experience levels are invited to take part in the fifth annual Birding Extravaganza, a free series of birding events sponsored by four conservation organizations in Midcoast Maine. Merrymeeting Audubon (MMA), Kennebec Estuary Land Trust, Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, and Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust have collaborated to offer eight opportunities to watch for and learn about a wide range of birds, both seasonal migrants and permanent residents.

The series is a way to encourage community members to enjoy and learn about the our beautiful natural areas and introduces folks to all of the land trusts’ preserves and trails. The protected areas of the three land trusts cover thirteen towns in a region known as a global hotspot for migratory birds.

“The land trusts work hard to provide a variety of trails for the public to experience the natural wonder of our region. It’s thrilling to showcase these special outdoor places by birding with people of all ages,” said Carrie Kinne, Executive Director of the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust,

“The series gives the perfect excuse to visit and experience a new outdoor place not so far from home.”

“Every year this series is an absolute favorite with our community,” said Lee Cataldo, Outreach and Education Coordinator at Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust. “We truly love this partnership with the neighboring land trusts and MMA. It is such a great way to bring folks from all over the region to new trails and properties, and to get to see some of the amazing migratory birds that pass through the Midcoast.”

This year, the walks range in topic from observing songbirds at Crystal Spring Farm to an evening presentation about migrating herons in Harpswell to a walk to see birds of the forests, meadows and wetlands on Westport Island. These walks are accessible to many, including outings for experienced and novice birders, families and those unable to walk great distances.

All events are free and open to the public. You can visit the websites of the four hosting organizations for more information on these terrific treks to observe our feathered friends.


Details on each event:

On Thursday, April 13 from 6-7:30 p.m. join Harpswell Heritage Land Trust for a presentation titled: Herons in Migration. Hear about a new initiative to track the nesting, migration and wintering habits of Great Blue Herons and how the results so far tie in with what we know about the natural history and current status of Maine’s heron population. Our speaker is Danielle D’Auria of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. FMI:, 207-837-9613 or

On Thursday, April 27 at 6:00 p.m. join the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust to learn more about Osprey and how you can get involved in Osprey Watch. This international citizen science projects makes it easy for anyone to monitor local Osprey nests and report data that helps us better understand this amazing and threatened species. FMI: or .

On Saturday, April 29 at 8:00 a.m. join Merrymeeting Audubon and the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust (KELT) to explore Whiskeag Creek where it empties into the Kennebec River at Thorne Head. Bird species we hope to see include Canada Geese, Black Ducks, Mallards, Blue and Green-winged Teal, Common Mergansers, as well as early arriving songbirds. Meet at the Bath CVS at 7:30 a.m. to carpool. FMI Ted Allen at 729-8661.

On Saturday, April 29 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. join the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust for Birding for Kids, a free, hands-on workshop for families. Participants will learn how to begin identifying birds through their shape, size, beaks, songs and habitat. The group will explore how differently shaped beaks are designed for different foods, listen to some common bird songs and go for a walk to try to identify birds using skills they’ve learned. Join us at Curtis Farm Preserve, 1554 Harpswell Neck Road, Harpswell. Bring binoculars. FMI:, 207-837-9613,

On Friday, May 12 at 7:30 a.m.  join expert birder Jan Pierson for a popular annual outing to Brunswick Topsham Land Trust’s Crystal Spring Farm in Brunswick.  This walk is through a variety of habitats, including fields, forests, and wetland. We hope to see sparrows, Bluebirds, Bobolinks, and several species of warblers. Bring your binoculars, and meet at Crystal Spring Farm’s Farmers’ Market Green on Pleasant Hill Road in Brunswick. FMI: Ted Allen, 207-729-8661.

On Saturday, May 13 at 8:00 a.m. birders of all ages are invited to the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust’s Squam Creek Preserve on Westport Island to scout for birds on this new preserve led by volunteer and local birding enthusiast, Robert Carnicella. With a variety of habitats ranging from fields to woodlands to wetlands, Squam Creek is the perfect place to practice birding techniques. Wear boots or shoes that can get mucky and bring a pair of binoculars. FMI:, 207-442-8400.

On Tuesday, May 23 at 8:00 a.m. join us for the Bradley Pond Warbler walk in Topsham. This relatively easy walk passes through a conservation easement surrounding a privately-owned working farm. The easement includes varied habitats. We’ll focus on migrating land birds: warblers, flycatchers, blackbirds, vireos, sparrows and an occasional raptor. Meet at the Brunswick Hannaford at 7:30 a.m. or at Bradley Pond Preserve, second parking lot at 8:00 a.m. FMI: Ted Allen, 207-729-8661

On Saturday, May 27 at 8:00 a.m. Ted Allen from Merrymeeting Audubon will lead birders through the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust’s Thorne Head Preserve in Bath. Overlooking Whiskeag Creek as it converges with the Kennebec River, the preserve is located on the Maine Birding Trail and is rich in migrating warblers and vireos.  Participants can meet at 7:30 a.m. at the CVS in Bath to carpool.  FMI: Ted Allen, 207-729-8661.

On Saturday June 10 at 8:00 a.m. join us at the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust’s Cathance River Nature Preserve in Topsham. The forest, river, and heath of the Preserve offer varied habitats for an array of migratory birds. We will walk the trails looking for Towhees, sparrows, warblers, woodpeckers, and other birds. Wildflowers, ferns, and mosses grow in the moist woods by the river.

FEED THE SOIL, NOT THE PLANT!! Learning from January 15th Winter Gardening Workshop

By Emily Swan, BTLT Board Secretary and Community Engagement and Programs Committee Chair.

Emily Swan

“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

Pizza with a Purpose!

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.

pp-voucher_final_digital(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.

Botanical Explorer: Event Follow Up Information

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.

Finally, if you enjoyed the free program, please consider becoming a member of BTLT and CREA so we can continue to make these events possible.


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.

Thank you for another successful Plant Sale!

To all the generous and helpful Tom Settlemire Community Garden volunteers and community members who made donations that contributed to the fantastic success of the Fifth Annual TAKING ROOT PLANT SALE: Thank you! Thank you, one and all.

We were once again so fortunate to have a spectacular community building Taking Root Plant Sale…..initial accounting reveals at least $6,000 raised in support of this “community gem” (as one volunteer stated) the Tom Settlemire Community Garden!

So many generous folks contributed to make this success:

  • Bonnie Studdiford and Claudia Adams, co-chairs of the Taking Root Plant Sale Planning Team
  • All the committee chairs and their crews
  • Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program Staff
  • Master Gardeners
  • Plant donors/diggers/potters
  • Flyer/poster/banner distributors
  • Bake/book donors/volunteers
  • White Elephant/ volunteers
  • We Compost It!
  • Set up/break down crews
  • Label/sign makers
  • The Masons,particularly Frank Hilton.

And of course our loyal customers who came and bought……

We hope this sincere Thank You reaches everyone who helped. We’ve already begun planning next year’s sale and as always hope to improve it based on our experience and folk’s observations and suggestions.

Stay tuned and we hope you will again help with next year’s sale.


The Forest Through the Trees

Spindle Works Call for Art to Benefit the Land Trust


  • What: Call for Art: The Forest Through the Trees
  • When:  Deadline for entry forms and fee is June 24th 2016; Opening July 15, 2016, 5-8pm exhibit runs July 1st-August 29th
  • Where: Frontier Café, 14 Maine Street, Brunswick 

Spindleworks will host an open call art exhibit to benefit the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, set for July and August in Brunswick Maine.

The exhibit, The Forest Through the Trees, is meant to draw attention to our living planet both to celebrate, and to raise awareness of the diversity of species, all of which are affected by our actions and inactions.

This year artists are invited to submit work in any medium, inspired by and focusing on plant life, which is meant to draw attention to the importance of plants in creating natural habitat for the world’s species.  We welcome diversity of artistic expression to reflect this huge part of our natural environment.

This will be the sixth exhibit in the series, which has drawn artists from across Maine and across the country.

This year we have chosen the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust to receive the funds raised.  We recognize the important role the Land Trust plays in protecting species in our local community. 30% from each sale will be donated to this important and well loved local organization.

Additionally we are seeking donated items for a silent auction benefit at the opening July 15th

***Entry forms and additional information will be accessible from the Spindleworks website,, or interested artists can email Brian for an application at (subject line: The Forest Through the Trees), or stop by Spindleworks to pick one up. Deadline for entry forms and fee is June 24th 2016      

Spindleworks is a non-profit art center for adults with disabilities and a program of the Independence Association of Brunswick Maine, whose mission is to help children and adults with disabilities achieve full and inclusive lives in their chosen community.  Gallery is open M-F 9-4 and artists are on site M-F 9-2.


Labyrinth in the Woods Grand Opening!

The Labyrinth in the Woods grand opening will be held Saturday May 14 (rain date, May 15) from 1:00 – 4:00 pm at the Labyrinth. Visit for directions and additional details about the Labyrinth.

In a unique community collaboration, the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (Land Trust) and First Parish Church UCC of Brunswick (FPC), have built a labyrinth in a natural setting that is open to all. The Labyrinth in the Woods was built in honor of Susan Fitzgerald, founder of FPC’s labyrinth ministry. Located at Crystal Spring Farm, it provides an opportunity for meditation and spiritual practice in a tranquil forest just minutes from downtown Brunswick.

The partners are celebrating its grand opening and welcoming the public on the afternoon of May 14.

The ancient practice of walking a labyrinth has been known to nearly all cultures and religions around the globe. A labyrinth is not a maze.  Mazes have dead ends and are designed to confuse. Labyrinths offer a single path whose course winds back and forth within the bounds of a circle, ultimately leading to the center.

Many labyrinth walkers find that following a path to the center stills the mind and opens the heart. The Land Trust and FPC encourage visitors to find their own meaning in walking the Labyrinth. Labyrinth walking can be a form of meditation, prayer, relaxation, or simply a new way to interact with nature.

BTLT Executive Director, Angela Twitchell said, “The Labyrinth provides a great way to connect people of all faiths with nature.”

The project came about when FPC had a need for open, natural space and reached out to the Land Trust. For over a decade, the Reverend Mary Baard, Senior Pastor at FPC, and Susan Fitzgerald, the leader of FPC’s Labyrinth Ministry, dreamed of expanding their indoor labyrinth ministry by creating an outdoor labyrinth. For years they talked about possible sites, but couldn’t find space on the Church’s small grounds. At the same time, the Land Trust had been looking for ways to build connections with diverse community groups.

In 2014, Mary conceived the idea of building a labyrinth along the trails of Crystal Spring Farm, and leaders at Land Trust agreed that a labyrinth would be a unique new resource in the broader community.

FPC and the Land Trust created a planning committee to work out the details. FPC agreed to raise money for building the Labyrinth and getting the program established, and to act as the community contact for those who want a guided experience of the Labyrinth. The Land Trust would provide the site and ongoing maintenance.  Linkel Construction, a local company experienced in stonework, was hired to design and build the labyrinth.

Labyrinth in the Woods honors Susan Fitzgerald who was a dedicated leader at FPC and long-time member of the Land Trust.  Susan cared deeply about connecting people to the land.

The Labyrinth is located a short distance off the Garden Trail between the Tom Settlemire Community Garden and Main Loop trail at Crystal Spring Farm. Nestled in the woods, the 7-circuit labyrinth occupies a 50-foot diameter circle and is constructed of granite paving stones and natural mulch.  It is open to the public from dawn to dusk.

Farmers’ Market – Open for the Season!

BTLT_2016 Market Poster_small for emailJoin us tomorrow, May 7 for the first Farmers’ Market of the season!

Our much-loved Saturday Farmers’ Market at Crystal Spring Farm property, opens for the season on May 7.  The annual opening of the Market marks the return of spring and continued strong support for local agriculture.

This is the Saturday Farmers’ Market’s 17th year at Crystal Spring Farm. The variety of vendors and beautiful location have made the Market extremely successful, both as a place for people to get all that is fresh for the season from local growers, as well as to get together with community and neighbors to enjoy the remarkable space protected by the Land Trust. The Land Trust started the market in 1999 as part of its mission to promote local agriculture.  We wanted to provide a low cost retail outlet where local farmers and producers could sell their goods.

“We are looking forward to another wonderful season at our busy Farmers’ Market. This year we are excited to welcome two new vendors to our stellar lineup: Hootenanny Bread and Pine Tree Poultry. We are also pleased to show off the beautiful artwork of local high school student, Galen Gaze, which is featured on our poster to promote this year’s market,” said Market Manager, Jacqui Koopman.

Early morning shoppers should take note:  Vehicular and pedestrian access to the market will be restricted to vendors only until 8:30 a.m. when the market opensNo early birds, please!

This change was initiated last year and resulted in improved safety in the parking lot and vendor areas, and supported our vendors by allowing them sufficient time to set up their booths.  Parking is always challenging at this Market, customers are encouraged to bike, carpool, take a taxi, come in their smallest car, and shop efficiently when the lot is full.

The Market is open every Saturday at 277 Pleasant Hill Road in Brunswick, between 8:30 and 12:30, from May 7 through November 5.  Visit to find out more about the Farmers’ Market.

What is the Climate Smart Land Network?

As part of our Local Look at Our Changing Climate series, forester Si Balch will be presenting The Role of Forests Over Time at the Topsham Public Libary on April 26 at 6:30 pm.

Balch works with Manomet Center for Conservation Science developing their Climate Smart Landowner Network. Read more about this program below.

Practical forest climate adaptation measures from the Climate Smart Land Network, a program of Manomet, Inc.

Ice Graph

When the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere chart looks like this, you know that change is coming.

The Information

The science information being synthesized and distributed applies to all forest land. Manomet is now focusing on larger owners simply to affect as many acres as possible as soon as possible. Visit to see all our science bulletins and blogs.


The Climate Smart Land Network (CSLN) is an alliance of rural landowners and land managers that are working together to respond to the challenges posed by climate change. The program is structured to assist Network members in identifying and implementing pragmatic on-the-ground solutions that both meet their management goals and increase natural system resiliency to climate change.


The Climate Smart Land Network bridges the gap between climate science and on-the-ground application.  The Network already contains over 15.2 million acres of managed forest. The goal is to enroll 30 million acres in the program over the first four years.  The CSLN provides a simple and direct method of including climate change concerns in your management planning and demonstrating that your organization is proactively engaged in seeking climate solutions.

Who are the current members?

The Climate Smart Land Network is growing rapidly and currently includes 15.2 million acres across North America.

States with CSLN land highlighted in blue

States with CSLN land highlighted in blue

Our network members include:

  • Baskahegan Company
  • Hancock Timber Resource Group
  • D. Irving, Limited
  • Lyme Timber Company
  • New England Forestry Foundation
  • Resource Management Service
  • Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine
  • Acadian Timber Corp
  • LandVest Timberland Division