Joy in Simple Rediscoveries

By Benet Pols

Relentlessly, we walked.

“Just going,” my neighbor answered when asked if he was going someplace special.

March 2020. My family, home from school, taught and studied. I alone left for work in a place radically changed by a mood of dutiful determination. Beyond that, and forays to scout for precious yeast or some treat, there was only walking.

Soon neighborhood streets no longer met the need. There were too many awkward curbside pas-de-deux over which neighbor would cross and which would stay. This drove us to the woods; there the walk was accompanied by joy in simple rediscoveries, the early greening of moss, the faint trickle of melt water in a quiet grove, paths not taken since childhood.

It was spring so the signs of renewal were there. And we were outside to greet them.

After crossing two land trust properties and a friendly farm we tromped through a town-owned patch of woods that leads to the edge of Maquoit Bay. Too far from home to get back in time to make dinner we ruefully called for a ride. Bushwhacking near the shoreline on the old navy base we got turned around. Location services showed us where on God’s green earth we were. We stumbled on artworks left to astound passersby. One muddy afternoon found us staring in disbelief at a numbered mail box deep in the woods on a rutted, rocky, track barely wide enough for a Honda Fit.

The trails were a quagmire, the woods still snowy. Yet we always met people: hardcores in crisp synthetic fibers, conquering some twinkling copse with hiking poles, but also people in tank tops and camo carrying Mountain Dew. Everyone walked.

Accessible, nearby, natural, outdoor space is an imperative.

There is an expectation of conservation land: we are owed a pay-off. Instagram celebrates cliffs, peaks, or kayak camping on moonlit islands. Make no mistake, a crescendo at trail’s end is a fine thing but these walks were quiet, subtle meanderings. Tethered all day to the internet, with its grim statistical aggregation of dread, we were more grateful than ever to reclaim tranquility.

So much of what is preserved is humble: no grand vistas, no adrenaline rush, BUT it is almost next door. And there is gentle glory in the shadows, the glittering of new leaves in slanting afternoon light, and sounds so fleeting to be mistaken for silence.

Spring, again. Marvel at the lasting light, the throbbing of peepers deep in the woods and that years ago —enturies even— someone decided to leave it alone for us in this moment.

BTLT is Hiring: Temp Communications Assistant

Position Overview 

The Communications Assistant will support the implementation of most aspects of our digital communicationsThis position will run from May to September 2021, at 10-15 hours per week.  

Qualifications 

The successful candidate will have experience with various social media platforms, WordPress or other web management software, and design of regular e-communicationsThe candidate should be organized and adaptable; be able to manage multiple projects and deadlines at once; and have the ability to work independently based on direction of other staff.  

Required: 

  • Excellent writingediting, and verbal communication skills  
  • Experience with website management 
  • Proficiency with Google Analytics, Microsoft Office, WordPress, MailChimp (or other email marketing program), and social media 
  • The ability to work both independently and collaboratively  
  • A sincere commitment to the mission of BTLT

Preferred 

  • IT skills, specifically in Microsoft 365 
  • Graphic Design experience 
  • Photography skills

Responsibilities 

The primary responsibility of this position is to produce and maintain BTLT’s digital communications materials, including its website, blog content, social media, e-news, as well as create event fliersThis person will keep abreast of the latest news internal and external to the organization and update content as necessary. 

Compensation 
This is a part-time, temporary position from May to September 2021, which is eligible for benefits, including flexible schedule, remote work option, retirement contribution, and paid vacation, sick time, and holidays. Compensation is competitive and commensurate with experience. 

DEADLINE: May 10, 2021 

To apply, please email resume and two references to apply@btlt.org with Communications Assistant as the subject line. In the interest of reducing waste, please do not mail a hard copy of your materials. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply ASAP. No phone calls, please. 

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 3,100 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.  We have 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. 

Cathance River Nature Preserve Partially Re-Opened!

Just in time for mud season, BTLT, Cathance River Education Alliance (CREA), and the Preserve landowner, Seacoast Management, are pleased to announce the limited re-opening of Cathance River Nature Preserve following its 2020 closure due to COVID19.

Initially, trails will be accessible only from the Ecology Center parking lot. The Cathance River and Highland Trails will be open as far south as the Rapids Trail. The Beaver and Barnes Leap Trails will also be open. The wearing of masks in outdoor public spaces is still required, so please keep trails safe and open by following this rule.

To ensure a smooth re-opening and make sure that trails can remain open, please do not use closed trails, unfinished re-routes, or closed parking areas.

Hiker Parking will remain closed until trail re-routes around the Sycamore Drive Ext development are complete. Once new bridges associated with trail re-routes are complete, all Preserve trails will open for use.

It is essential that Preserve visitors park only in designated parking areas, which are the Ecology Center parking lot and (when re-routes are complete) Hiker Parking. Most of the streets in Highland Green are not public ways and street parking is not allowed. Please park efficiently to maximize parking space and if parking lots are full, return another day. Check our TRAILS PAGE to find many other wonderful local hikes.

We are delighted to announce this news, but because it is mud season, we caution people to exercise restraint in use of the trails until things dry out. In the meantime, please follow best practice for hiking during mud season: wear waterproof footwear that can get muddy; walk through, not around, muddy areas to avoid extending the damage and widening the path more than necessary; hike early or late in the day when temps are cooler and the ground is firmer.

We thank you for your patience during the closure and look forward to seeing you on Preserve trails in the coming months!

2021 WGW Pollinators

2021 WGW Pollinators

By Averil Fessenden

Here we are in a tantalizing time of year, with the light and warmth on the upswing, foretelling gardening season. Yet cold days and nights, brown and dull colors coming into sight as the snow disappears are with us as winter wanes.  What better way to tame our eagerness for the coming season, than to learn about creating a colorful and useful pollinator garden. What is a pollinator garden? It is a garden designed and planted with specific nectar and pollen producing plants in a way that attracts pollinating insects.  Dev Culver, coordinator of the Common Good Garden, offered a workshop on how to build and maintain pollinator spaces as part of the Winter Garden Workshops: Growing Literacy series put on annually by BTLT and Curtis Memorial LibraryView the workshop webinar here. 

“The Bank”, healing in garden for plants destined for Tom Settlemire Community Garden’s annual Taking Root Plant Sale.
Photo Credit: Ellen Maling

Much of our plant food, – nuts, fruits and vegetables, and many flowers depend on pollination to reproduce. Insects – bees, butterflies, moths, beetles and even ants do this essential job. They are in decline due to our hotter, drier climate, loss of natural habitat, and pesticides. We depend on these insects and thus can’t survive without them. Creating gardens and landscapes to attract and feed them is one way to maintain or increase their populations. These are colorful gardens as color is a main feature that attracts insects to particular flowers. In this virtual show we saw beautiful photos of a variety of pollinator gardens and many of their insect pollinators. 

Dev offered 8 tips for creating a pollinator garden or landscape. He suggested using native plants as they provide shelter, and food for native wildlife species, and they are well suited to local soils and conditions. Natives don’t require fertilization, and promote biodiversity and ecosystem health. Fortunately there are many native plants that thrive and bloom through the growing season, see a list by bloom month here in Dev’s presentation slides.  Native plants like lots of sun, so planting in open spaces is best. Insects are most attracted when plants of the same kind are planted in groups or bunches.  Provide a water source, such as a birdbath with rocks in itAnd we were reminded that developing a pollinator garden to its full potential takes time – a few years in fact.

2020 CGG volunteers building TSCG’s newest pollinator bed which focuses on plants that attract moths, and other less well known pollinators.
Photo credit: Dev Culver

Dev told his audience that The Tom Settlemire Community Garden had a busy and successful summer in 2020. The Common Good part of the garden yielded 4,000 pounds of vegetables for Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program with the help of 23 volunteers – both new highs. Volunteers under the leadership of Ellen Maling also have planted hundreds of perennials that will be available for purchase in the BTLT plant sale on June 5 at Topsham Fair Grounds Exhibition Hall.  

Pollinator Gardening was a workshop in Growing Literacy, the winter gardening series that is sponsored jointly by BTLT and Curtis Memorial Library. This collaboration is supported by Camden National Bank – we extend our appreciation. Working together, Local Business, Library and Land Trust make a valuable contribution to our community.

 

 

Winter Garden Workshop Recordings Now Available

We had a great line up of Winter Garden Workshops this year, thanks to our partnership with Curtis Memorial Library, our sponsors Camden National Bank, and all our great speakers.

You can now see videos of all the presentations HERE.

Topics included:

Gardening for Small Spaces, Kate Wallace, Resilience Hub

Kate Wallace is the Programming Director and PDC Facilitator of the Resilience Hub. She facilitates educational experiences, Permablitzes, and designed permaculture systems for clients both independently and through the Resilience Hub. Join Kate to learn all about how to maximize your use of a small garden space. Don’t think you have enough room to grow a tree, vine or tubers? Think again! Let Kate show you her favorite proven tricks.

Food Forest Gardening, Aaron Parker, Edgewood Nursery

A food forest is a way of laying out a landscape to mimic a natural forest, providing food and other human needs with a minimum amount external inputs and maximum benefits to wildlife and the greater environment. Join Aaron Parker of Edgewood Nursery to learn how to better mimic nature to increase the productivity of your plot. Incorporate more perennial foodstuffs, work less on maintenance and reap the benefits of a system that works in harmony with nature’s natural cycles. his workshop will introduce the concepts of ecological niches, analogs, and resource partitioning so you can design your own home scale food forest. To help you implement your design we will also cover best practices for starting a food forest and recommended species to plant. 

Pollinator Gardening, Dev Culver, Common Good Garden Coordinator, TSCG

Join Dev, Common Good Garden Coordinator for BTLT, to learn about the lesser known pollinators, such as moths, the importance of pollinator gardens, what plants attract pollinators and how to manage pollinator gardens to do the least harm to the pollinators themselves.

Gardening for Plant Based Diets, Dave Asmussen, Blue Bell Farm

There are many reasons for choosing to follow a plant–based diet, whether they be humane, environmental, or health oriented. Learn how to grow the types of foods needed for a well rounded diet. Hint: it involves beans! After adventures far and wide through several states, homesteads and farmland, David Asmussen & Meredith Eilers were excited to put down roots in Bowdoinham in 2013 where they grow diverse vegetables, berries and other perennials such as nut crops. Dave is a graduate of MOFGA’s Journey-person program and is proud to be farming on land with an agricultural conservation easement through the Maine Farmland Trust.

2021 Farmers Market Season

Saturday Farmers Market Opens May 1 at Brunswick Landing

We are heading into our second market season under the influence of the COVID pandemic. The 2020 market season involved two moves and a complete revamp of how the Market operates.  As we head into 2021, we will again be operating in a temporary home in order to allow for physical distancing and other safety protocols that are not possible at Crystal Spring Farm. Wild Oats, Flight Deck, the REAL School and TBW, LLC have welcomed us back to Brunswick Landing at their shared parking lot.

We are excited to report that most of the vendors are returning this season, though a few are choosing to wait another year due to COVID, and some because they have shifted away from the market model.  One market booth has been transitioned into a rotating booth to better accommodate some of our vendors who are unable to commit to the full season, as well as to support new or smaller scale food businesses as they build.  

Welcome back to all the returning vendors, welcome to our two new vendors, and a fond farewell to those not returning this season!