Carolina Parakeet to Starfish: A human connection

By Tess Davis, Bowdoin Summer Fellow on DEI

This week, I’m thinking about animals. As most of you know, climate change is adversely affecting animals. This is deeply sad and, I think, should motivate people to fight climate change. So let’s look more closely at two animals, the now extinct Carolina Parakeet and the starfish of Maine, to better understand the importance of animals and how much we would lose if we do not combat climate change.

Let’s start with the starfish. I’ve only seen a starfish once in my life, but the sighting had a substantial impact on me. When I was a child, my father took my brothers and me on walks along the Maine coastline. We walked in the early morning, a few hours after sunrise. On the morning we found the starfish, my youngest brother gave a sudden shout, and I ran from the edges of the sea to where he stood pointing. The starfish was stuck to the rocks a few feet above a tide pool. It was perfect. It was the same sandy pink as the rocks and each arm formed a cartoonish pointed tip.

When I held the starfish in my hands, I had an incredible realization that the starfish and I were not so different. Our ancestors both evolved in the sea over millions of years, and, out of all the times and places in history, we ended up together, here, on this morning.

Nature, and especially animals, have the power to remind us of our unique place in the world. In many ways, humans are just another species caught up in the food web. Yet, we are also thinking, feeling beings who have a responsibility to care for the land.

Unfortunately, we have failed to protect the natural world. Instead, we have abused the environment, and we are actively harming the very species that bring us so much joy and connect us to our humanity. This idea had been ruminating in my mind, but it did not come into focus until I read J. Drew Lanham’s Forever Gone. Lanham discusses the extinction of the Carolina Parakeet, a bird he feels a particular connection to as a black man. As Lanham explains, the Carolina Parakeet thrived in the American South before its extinction in the early 20th century. Lanham believes that his enslaved ancestors felt a connection to the Carolina Parakeet.

In the grueling hours of manual labor, he imagines that his ancestors looked to the sky, to the flocks of Carolina Parakeets eating cockleburs and calling to each other in jubilant expressions of freedom, and felt hope.

Lanham mourns the Carolina Parakeet’s extinction because the parakeets embodied his connection to the land and the land’s history. Likewise, my encounter with a starfish helped me to realize the depth of our connection to the natural world. Although starfish are not extinct, in 2013 and 2014, there was a starfish disease outbreak on the west coast and parts of New England. This disease, Sea Star Wasting Syndrome, causes starfish to develop lesions, lose their limbs, and eventually disintegrate into mush. New research discovered that warm water temperatures exasperate Sea Star Wasting Syndrome. Therefore, as the water warms due to climate change, more and more starfish could be at risk. The 2013-2014 outbreak caused millions of starfish to die. Currently, starfish populations are recovering, but Sea Star Wasting Syndrome might become a threat to starfish again.

Starfish and Carolina Parakeets are only two examples of the thousands of species that have been negatively affected by humans. Animals give us so much. Animals renew our spirits, connect us to the land, connect us to our ancestors, and connect us to ourselves. Yet, if we do not change how we treat the world, we could lose many species. If we lose animals, we are losing parts of ourselves. We must change for the better.

Merrymeeting Gleaners now a program of Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program

As of this week, the Merrymeeting Gleaners, a program piloted by the Merrymeeting Food Council (MFC), is now going to be managed by Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program (MCHPP). The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust is incredibly proud to have been a part of the creation of this impressive, local gleaning project! We look forward to seeing it grow under the leadership of MCHPP, as well as continuing to be apart of other impactful programs run by MFC.

To learn more, check out the article below from the Merrymeeting Food Council’s website.

Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program (MCHPP) and Merrymeeting Food Council (MFC) are excited to share that the Merrymeeting Gleaners, previously a program of the Merrymeeting Food Council, will now be run as a program of MCHPP. MFC, the volunteer leaders of the Merrymeeting Gleaners, and MCHPP believe this shift will ensure the sustainability of the Merrymeeting Gleaners Program into the future.

The Merrymeeting Gleaners harvest and distribute surplus produce from farms as well as process local food for year-round distribution. MFC launched the pilot Merrymeeting Gleaners program five years ago in partnership with Gabrielle Gosselin and Nate Drummond of Six River Farm and with volunteers from the UMaine Extension’s Harvest for Hunger Program. Since 2016, over 125 volunteers have gleaned 206,864 pounds of local food from more than 35 farms and distributed that to community members through 37 recipient organizations in 17 towns. That has meant over 172,000 farm fresh meals for our communities.

The work of the Merrymeeting Gleaners aligns very well with MCHPP’s mission and strategic goals. MCHPP and MFC have both worked to distribute gleaned or donated local produce, purchasing local food to support food producers, increasing access to food through Sharing Tables, mobile pantries, and processing or freezing local produce for year-round donation. The COVID-19 pandemic increased food insecurity rates in mid coast Maine exponentially. MCHPP’s programs saw anywhere from a 10-55% increase in use from 2019 to 2020. This partnership will increase our joint capacity and ensure that the growing number of food insecure members of our community have ample access to local, fresh, nutritious food. Gleaned produce will be used to stock MCHPP’s grocery and meal distribution sites, which provide the community with more than 500,000 free meals annually.

“This is an exciting new opportunity for MCHPP and the entire community,” says Hannah Chatalbash, Deputy Director for MCHPP. “MCHPP already invests significantly in partnerships with local farms, either by collecting unpurchased produce that they can no longer use, or by purchasing produce to help support the continued sustainability of the farm. Gleaning offers another link between our organization and the farm community that is so vital to reducing hunger in our area.”

“This program would not have been possible without the generosity of farmers, volunteers and funders. The relationships, trust, and community that have been nurtured over the past five years through the Merrymeeting Gleaners network are an essential piece of its success,” says MFC Coordinator, Harriet Van Vleck. “The Merrymeeting Gleaners program is the type of collaborative solution to community level challenges in our food system that MFC’s network seeks to support. MCHPP was a core partner as the gleaning program developed and MFC looks forward to our continued collaboration, while also being able to focus on other developing partnerships and programs.”

MFC’s ongoing and upcoming work includes:

  • Supporting the development of Community Meal programs which increase food access and build community in area towns.
  • Hosting Roundtable events to convene partners around food system challenges best addressed through collaborative solutions.
  • Coordinating a pilot Farm Skills Training Program for individuals facing barriers to employment such as housing insecurity.
  • Building food system connections statewide, through leadership in the 2021 Maine Food Convergence and the Maine Network of Community Food Councils.

Organizational Background:

The Merrymeeting Gleaners have been gleaning year round for three years and their impact has extended beyond this region through the model they set for gleaning groups statewide. In 2020 alone, Goranson Farm, Growing to Give, and Six River Farm each donated over 9,000 lbs of produce. These three, along with Whatley Farm, Fairwinds Farm, and the LOCAL Garden also stock the Gleaners’ Sharing Tables with produce. Through leadership in the Maine Gleaning Network the Merrymeeting Gleaners continue to help grow other gleaning groups and share best practices.

MFC is a network of organizations and individuals working to advance a thriving, resilient, and equitable food system that supports the health and natural resources of our communities. MCHPP has been a key partner in MFC’s network since MFC formed in 2015. Other key MFC partners include Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, Growing to Give, Kennebec Estuary Land Trust, Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, and many other organizations and individuals.

Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program offers dignity and empowerment by providing all members of our community with access to healthy food. Services include prepared meals, grocery distribution on-site, at local schools, and satellite locations in Harpswell and Lisbon Falls. The MCHPP food pantry–located at 12 Tenney Way, Brunswick–is open to the public on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Friday from 11 am–2 pm; Tuesday evenings 4-6 pm; and Saturdays from noon–3 pm; the Soup Kitchen serves freshly made-to-go meals on Mondays–Fridays from 11 am–12:30 pm and Saturdays noon–1:30 pm. MCHPP is committed to ensuring that our services are open and available to any and all in need.

To check out the new Merrymeeting Gleaners site through MCHPP, click here.

Apogee Adventures Lends a Hand at the Tom Settlemire Community Garden

By George Jutras

This week, high school students on a program with Brunswick-based Apogee Adventures spent the afternoon volunteering in the Tom Settlemire Community Garden. Extra hands are always appreciated on garden projects! It was especially helpful to have twelve young students and their leaders help us with the groundwork for a new expansion of the water system at the garden.

David Brooks, of Brooks Hydro Logic, has been immensely helpful in volunteering his time to plan and construct much of the existing water system at the community garden, including this project expansion. With Dave’s direction and help, the Apogee students dug trenches and laid new pipes. They also levelled and packed a gravel foundation for a new water tank on the southern side of the garden. In addition, the students helped dig trenches for new connections to the wellhead near the garden entrance and for a hydrant at the northern garden boundary. It’s always a pleasure working with Apogee students and staff, and we appreciate their continuing partnership!

“Apogee offers outdoor adventure travel to teens and young adults. They provide students with well-designed hiking, biking, community service, writing, photography, and language programs to spectacular locations throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Caribbean.

They travel in small, supportive, co-ed groups led by dynamic, responsible, and well-trained leaders. In this nurturing and wholesome environment, students learn about themselves and others through physical challenge and volunteer work. Traveling by their own power, students will achieve new heights. Apogee’s primary goals are for students to have fun, form lasting friendships, and to develop strong values.

It’s Blueberry Season!

It’s once again blueberry season at Crystal Spring Farm. A portion of the farm on the south side of Pleasant Hill Road consists of a rare natural community of plants known as a sandplain grassland, which is ideal habitat for low-bush blueberries. It’s July, so the blueberries in the barren are ripening now!  

Please note that the Land Trust only owns a small section of the barren. The much larger adjacent property is leased and managed by Seth Kroeck, Crystal Spring’s farm manager, for the commercial sale of organic blueberries. Please do not pick beyond the Land Trust’s clearly marked property boundary. 

Kroeck described his growing process for us. “Growing blueberries is a two-year cycle. We prune the plants, either by mowing or burning, the spring after the harvest. The next year they regrow and it is on this new growth that they make flowers and then fruit. By dividing the field in two, each season we have one section of plants in regeneration and one ready to harvest.”  

BTLT undertakes a similar management practice, and this spring half of the section open to the public was burned to promote healthy growth of this unique habitat. Because of this, there will only be berries in the western section this year. 

  • . The boundary line is marked with metal stakes and signs, and the lone trees in the middle of the field mark part of the boundary. 

Kroeck also noted that “Bees for pollination are rented from Swan’s Honey in Albion. We truck them back and forth, loading in the evenings when the colonies are inside the hives. It takes 30 to 40 hives to pollinate this crop.” There are also a few ‘resident hives’ on the north side of Pleasant Hill Road that help to pollinate the blueberries when they are in flower.  

Mowing, bringing in hives to pollinate, harvesting, and processing are all labor and capital intensive for Kroeck and Crystal Spring Community Farm. But, blueberries have become one of the farms’ most important crops, and can be found in natural food and grocery stores up and down the coast. This significant investment is also why we ask the community to be mindful of only picking in the areas BTLT has set aside for public gathering. 

The massive “barren” at Crystal Spring doesn’t just produce blueberries, though. The area is a rare natural community home to sedges, birds, reptiles, and butterflies that depend on sandy soils and full sunlight to thrive. Once common along the northeastern coast, development and changing land uses have all but eliminated this unique biome, and the Maine Natural Areas Program lists it as “critically imperiled.” The unique habitat is a product of geologic history and human actions. The sand and gravel deposited by melting glaciers at the end of the last ice age provides a level, well-drained base that acidic plants love. Both Native Americans and European settlers used fire deliberately as a way to maintain the area as grassland and promote blueberry production. 

In 2019, BTLT hosted a “bioblitz” at the property to help catalog the many species that call this place home. The recent prescribed burn of the blueberry barrens will help ensure this unique habitat is sustained, and BTLT will carefully monitor the recovery and the species that it has impacted. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the prescribed burn and this rare natural community, join the Land Trust’s Stewardship Manager, Margaret Gerber, on July 27th at 5:30 PM. She’ll take you through the process of planning on the ground for a prescribed burn and what the Land Trust hoped to accomplish by burning 14 acres of the barren in April, as well as any other questions you have around land management. To learn more about the event and register, you can click here. 

If you can’t make the walk but would like to visit the blueberry barrens, 

  • now is a great time of year to do so while the blueberries are ripe for the picking. We also recently installed interpretive signage at the farm that helps describe this unique community.  

Our blueberry barren is located south of Pleasant Hill Road. To access it, you can park at the Crystal Spring Farm trail parking area and take the East Trail.  Where the East Trail intersects the Blueberry Loop, take a right toward the field and you’ll find blueberries! 

As you enjoy the blueberries and engage in this wonderful rite of summer, please respect a few important rules: 

  • Stay on our property: The map at the end of this post shows the location of our property boundary. These maps are posted at primary entrances to our property.
  • Park responsibly: While we prefer that people use the parking area described above and walk to the barren, it is also possible to park along Pleasant Hill Road near the gate approximately 0.75 mile from Maine Street. If you park on Pleasant Hill Road: 
  • DO NOT BLOCK THE FARM ROAD OR GATE! The road must be accessible to farm and fire equipment at all times. 
  • Park only on the south side of Pleasant Hill Road (the side the blueberries are on). With cars parked on both sides of the road, pedestrians crossing, runners and bikers, and farm equipment all converging – it makes for a very unsafe situation. 
  • Have fun! And share your best blueberry recipes with us! 

If you have questions, give us a call at 729-7694. Happy picking! 

New Signage at Crystal Spring Farm

By George Jutras
The BTLT stewardship team recently finished installing some new interpretive signage at Crystal Spring Farm. Signs near the Farmstead parking area at the East Trail trailhead detail the history of farming and conservation at Crystal Spring. They highlight the chronology of events that has led to the successful coexistence of a popular public access trail system and active farm, all concurrently managed for ecological conservation of the land. A sign at the intersection of the East trail and Ravine Trail remembers the Indigenous history of the area, highlighting the Wabanaki People and their longstanding connection to and ecological maintenance of the area in which Brunswick and Crystal Spring Farm now lie. An additional sign near the intersection of the Blueberry Loop and the East Trail discusses the natural history and ecological significance of the Sandplain Grassland ecosystem. It comprises a significant portion of the Crystal Spring Farm area, particularly the blueberry barrens on the southern side of the property.

Now Hiring: Farmers’ Market Parking Coordinators

Farmers Market Parking Coordinators  

(2 positions) 

 

About BTLT and its agricultural programs: 

The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (BTLT) offers the Saturday Farmers’ Market and Tom Settlemire Community Garden (TSCG) at Crystal Spring Farm on Pleasant Hill Road in Brunswick. This 321-acre property plays an integral role in our mission, which includes conserving and protecting our region’s natural resources, as well as supporting local agriculture and fisheries now and for generations to come. It is our goal to support and develop the local natural resource-based economy to keep farmland, forests, and fisheries open, working, and productive. We are also working to make strides toward providing significantly more of our community’s food needs through local production. The Saturday Farmers’ Market commonly sees several thousand visitors on a busy summer weekend, hosts over thirty diverse vendors, and has kept millions of dollars in the local food economy.  

 

About the role: 

The Farmers’ Market Parking Coordinators are part time, seasonal employees who, as part of a two-person team, implement the set-up and break-down of the farmers’ market site, and manage the parking during the hours when the market is operating. This includes being on site at the Market Saturdays, 7am to 1pm, late August – early September, in rain or shine conditions. 

 

Skills Required: 

  • Great interpersonal skills, and experience working with the public 
  • Physical ability to lift 45 lbs and carry equipment
  • Organized and detail oriented
  • Valid drivers license
  • Basic “handyperson” skills for minor repairs and upkeep of infrastructure are a bonus 

 

Duties: 

  • Set-up & put-away cones and market informational signage before and after market
  • Assist market manager with set-up and break down of market booth & informational materials 
  • Manage traffic flow & parking at farmers’ market site
  • Interact with market patrons & vendors
  • Make repairs to market signage or equipment as necessary 

 

Compensation and Benefits: 

This part time position includes an hourly salary of $16/hr. 

 

How to Apply: 

To apply, please submit a cover letter and resume to apply@btlt.org. Please use “Market Parking Coordinator” as the subject line of your email. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as they are received, with a deadline of August 2, 2021. 

 

About Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust:  

BTLT is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit with a mission to steward the cherished landscapes and rich natural resources of our communities, to connect people to nature by providing recreational opportunities and other engaging community activities, and to support local agriculture and fisheries, now and for generations to come. We were founded in 1985 and have grown over the past 35 years into a robust organization that holds over 2,500 acres in conservation, provides diverse programming, and works closely with an array of community partners to enhance the environmental vibrancy and health of our region.  Our organization has approximately 1,000 members including a vibrant business membership. We have five part- to full-time staff, a board of directors of nearly 20, and dozens of active committee members. Learn more about our mission and programs at www.btlt.org 

Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other legally protected factors. We actively encourage community members with diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and ways of life to consider working with us. 

Equity on the 4th

By Tess Davis, Bowdoin Summer Fellow

Imagine it is the Fourth of July 168 years ago. The year is 1852, and the slavery question simmers under all of American life. The brutal, inhumane system that built America cannot sustain itself, and this fact is realized by even the most ardent anti-abolitionists. Something must give; the Civil War is coming. Famous abolitionist and orator, Frederick Douglass speaks at a meeting for the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society. Douglass’s speech, dubbed “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July,” highlights the gross incongruity of the day. Powerfully, Douglass says, “The blessing in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. The Fourth of July is yours, not mine.”

Douglass spoke when black people were enslaved, yet his words are still as relevant today as they were then. “Justice, liberty, prosperity and independence” are not guaranteed to all Americans. People of color are more likely to be imprisoned than their white counterparts. The average white family has nearly ten times as much wealth as the average black family. Black people are less likely than white people to graduate from college, own a home, or spend time outdoors.

Fourth of July is supposed to be a celebration of the United States—of the promise enshrined in the Declaration to provide “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” for all. Unfortunately, the United States does not realize this promise, not by a long shot. We need to change how we celebrate the Fourth. Instead of celebrating the “accomplishments” of the United States, we should use the Fourth to improve the country.

Have a barbeque, drink a couple of beers, but also use the Fourth as an opportunity to educate yourself about the failures of the United States, to donate to organizations striving for equality and justice, and to center the voices of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color).

Although Douglass’s speech was rightfully critical of the United States, there were glimmers of hope in his words, “Three score years and ten is the allotted time for individual men; but nations number their years by thousands. According to this fact, you are, even now, only in the beginning of your national career, still lingering in the period of childhood. I repeat, I am glad this is so. There is hope in the thought, and hope is much needed, under the dark clouds which lower above the horizon.” Even now, the United States is only 244 years old. We are still a  young nation, and we can still change for the better. In fact, we must change for the better. I encourage all of you to use the Fourth of July to do so.

Celebrating Pride: Inclusivity in the Outdoors

By Tess Davis – Bowdoin Summer Fellow

For most of us, the photos here seems out-of-the-ordinary. How often do we see drag queens out in nature? Or, for that matter, how often do we see openly queer people enjoying the outdoors? 

Sadly, the media rarely represents outdoorsy LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual) people. This often causes queer environmentalists to feel isolated and like they do not belong in conservation. 

One queer environmentalist, Wyn Wiley strives to show that queer people have a role to play in conservation. In 2018, Wyn Wiley created the drag persona, Pattie Gonia. Drag is a performance genre where people dress as the opposite gender and lip sync, dance, or do stand-up comedy. Drag is part of queen culture, and many queer folks connect at drag bars and drag competitions. Wiley created an Instagram account showcasing Pattie in full drag out on hikes in the mountains, plains, and even the snow! 

Pattie uses her platform to discuss climate issues—such as ocean plastic, the oil industry, and the intersection of white supremacy and climate change. 

Furthermore, Pattie uses her platform to promote inclusivity. She pushes back on a harmful narrative—that conservation is exclusively for straight white men. Pattie works in conjunction with queer and BIPOC environmentalists to create a community. For example, she works with organizations such as Queer Nature and Native Womens Wilderness. By showing her confident, queer self, thriving in the great outdoors, Pattie inspires other queer people to do the same! 

As Pattie wrote on her most recent insta post, “Biodiversity is the key to increasing resilience in all communities.” This has a factual, biological meaning. But also, we can apply this statement to conservation work: We need ALL TYPES of people in our conservation community in order to make change and a more resilient future.

Meet the 2021 Summer Stewardship Team!

By Margaret Gerber 

Every summer the Land Trust is fortunate to work with volunteers and seasonal staffers that make much of our “boots on the ground” work possible. This year we are lucky to be joined by a six month seasonal Land Steward, George Jutras, who assists with all things stewardship between late spring and late fall. George’s work includes trail projects and maintenance, annual property monitoring, management plan updates, working with volunteers, and helping oversee other seasonal staffers.

In addition to the Land Steward, the Land Trust has a long history of sharing seasonal staff with Kennebec Estuary Land Trust and Phippsburg Land Trust. These seasonal staffers have become known as the Regional Field Team (RFT), which is a collaborative effort funded by Merrymeeting Bay Trust to support stewardship of the Merrymeeting Bay area, which all three land trusts service areas touch. This year the RFT consists of four members, including Chas Van Damme and Sam Jamison, who are based with the Land Trust for the majority of their ten week term. They will also work alongside the other RFT members on projects with KELT and PLT that require more helping hands. We’re thrilled to have such a stellar stewardship team this season and hope that you will get a chance to meet them while out exploring the trails this summer!

George Jutras

George joined the Land Trust in June of 2021 after graduating from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington with a degree in Environmental Studies and Politics. He has previously worked for the US Forest Service doing trail work and has coordinated outdoor trips for the Whitman College Outdoor Program. While George has most recently lived in Washington, he is from Yarmouth, Maine originally and is excited to be back doing conservation work in his home state! George enjoys rock climbing, fly fishing, mountain biking, and backcountry skiing in his free time.

 

Chas Van Damme

Hi there! My name is Chas Van Damme and I am one of four members of the Regional Field Team working with BTLT. Though I have spent the bulk of my life abroad, I currently live locally over in Harpswell and am pursuing an Environmental Studies degree at Bates College. I one day hope to work in the field of Environmental Law, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it! For now, I am extremely excited to get out into the woods, learn the in’s and out’s of non-profit land trust work, and most importantly, play an active role in the preservation of local lands.

 

 

 

Sam Jamison

My name is Sam Jamison. I am currently working for BTLT as a Regional Field Team member. I graduated from the University of Southern Maine in 2020 with a degree in Liberal Studies. Prior to working with BTLT I was working with a local arborist. I enjoy working and playing outdoors and am passionate about wildlife. I also have experience working with BTLT as a volunteer and an employee at the Saturday farmers’ market. I look forward to working with the other team members and stewards this season to continue the great work that the land trust does.

Happy Juneteenth!

Happy Juneteenth! Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19th, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, enslaved African Americans learned about the Emancipation Proclamation and became free. Every June 19th since then, Americans celebrate emancipation and the amazing contributions of black Americans.

This year is a particularly important Juneteenth, as President Biden recently declared this day a federal holiday – the first new federal holiday in decades.

The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust wishes all black people a joyous celebration, and we encourage non-black people to celebrate by supporting black-run organizations, buying from black-owned businesses, and being a good neighbor to all community members, especially on the trails and in outdoor spaces.

As a conservation organization, we appreciate the incredible conservation work black people have done, and we want to highlight one organization, the Emancipation Park Conservatory. In 1872, four former slaves, Rev. Jack Yates, Richard Allen, Richard Brock, and Rev. Elias Dibble, bought a park in Texas to celebrate black people’s emancipation. In 2014, the Emancipation Park Conservatory formed to manage and restore Emancipation Park. As the EPC says on their website, they want to, “create an open space of environmental and community excellence while continuing to preserve the integrity and historical roots of the park.”

BTLT encourages all of you to help celebrate Juneteenth by taking time to learn more about the Emancipation Park Conservatory and honor the many important contributions African Americans make in our communities.