By Emily Swan, President, Board of Directors
Last Friday’s Times Record included an excellent article about BTLT’s use of the Harvest Bucks program, designed to boost SNAP recipients’ access to healthy foods, at the Crystal Spring Farm market. It also appeared in the Press Herald. Click the logos below to read the article.
As in so many areas, BTLT’s efforts to connect SNAP recipients with healthy, nutritious, locally produced food involve collaboration with other community groups. One example is our partnership with Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program to raise food at the Tom Settlemire Community Garden for food-insecure people in our community. Another is our collaboration with Curtis Memorial Library to get more SNAP beneficiaries out to the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust Farmers’ Market at Crystal Spring Farm. In pursuit of that goal, the Library is sponsoring market tours, one of which took place this past Saturday.
I was the BTLT representative in the market booth during Saturday’s market tour (described in the articles mentioned above). Although there were only two ladies on the tour, I know market manager Jacqui Koopman shares my belief that it was a moving, transformational, and joyous event, one that I hope will be repeated with other SNAP recipients during the course of the market season.
One of the ladies on the tour was hard of hearing, and it took her a while to grasp the fact that her $20 EBT investment would be matched by $20 worth of Harvest Bucks. She asked incredulously whether the match would be available each time she came to the market and not just this once, and when I told her it was, her face positively lit up. Jacqui then led the ladies from booth to booth, introducing them to vendors and the food choices each offered. Both proved to be culinarily adventurous and came away with a fabulous assortment of fresh foods.
I think these tours are really the way to help interested SNAP recipients pass the hurdle of the unknown. Now that they know what the market – and the Harvest Bucks program – have to offer, I have no doubt the ladies on yesterday’s tour will be back many times. I hope we are able to introduce many more SNAP recipients to our wonderful market in the coming months.
Jacqui and I agreed that yesterday was one of the most rewarding days we had ever had at the market, and we look forward to introducing more.
The Times Record
By Hannah LaClaire
May 17, 2019
Conservation has always been an important piece of our community. Check out the recent article in the Times Record about how we have, and continue to, cherish our open spaces.
The Brunswick Town Commons, one of Maine’s earliest preserved tracts of open space, is celebrating its 300th year at a time when the town is under pressure to develop as continued growth in larger towns like Portland and Lewiston pushes some people and businesses into communities like Brunswick.
Whether it’s a walk on the trails, a bike ride after work or a weekend afternoon kayaking, open space is “that backdrop of our lives,” said Steve Walker, town councilor and project manager for the Maine Coast Heritage Trust.
Open space is just what it sounds like — land that a municipality has consciously decided not to develop. The town defines it as land that provides “scenic beauty and proximity to the natural world,” but “it means different things to different people,” according to Walker. It can also be farmland, space for recreation like trails, access to the waterfronts, large parks or even “pocket parks” like the downtown mall. “Communities that make those intentional decisions, those are the communities people want to live in,” he said.
The Times Record
By Hannah LaClaire
May 9, 2019
Celebrations are underway for the 300th Anniversary of the Brunswick Town Commons. In a recent article in the Times Record, local writer Hannah LaClaire details the history of the area and the importance of the Commons to our community.
The Brunswick Town Commons, a “little corner” of town with a big impact on Brunswick’s history, is celebrating its 300th anniversary this year, marked by seven full weeks of activities and events.
The Commons, often confused with the Brunswick town mall, according to Fred Koerber, a member of the town commons committee, is a 71-acre chunk of what was once 1,000 acres given to the town in 1719 by the Pejepscot Company “to ly in general comonage.”
One of the earliest conserved open spaces in Maine, the land was also used to help draw both Bowdoin College and the United States Navy to town.
Bowdoin College was given 200 acres to start the college, and the Navy was given land to build the former Brunswick Naval Air Station, where they helped train British World War II pilots, Koerber said. When the Navy left decades later they were unable to give back the original land, he said, but instead gave the town the Kate Furbish Preserve.
Bangor Daily News
May 10, 2019
The 300th Anniversary of the Brunswick Town Commons is well underway, with the formal ceremony to be held this Sunday, May 19th! Check out the recent piece in the Bangor Daily News for more information about what’s to come…
The Town of Brunswick began a 7-week celebration of the 300th anniversary of The Brunswick Town Commons, one of the very oldest conserved open spaces in Maine, on April 23. A full day of activities, including a formal anniversary ceremony, with be held on May 19, to highlight the weeks worth of events. The full schedule can be found on the Pejepscot Historical Society’s website, the Town of Brunswick’s website and the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust website.
In May of 1719 the Pejepscot Company “granted one thousand acres of land to ly in general comonage.” Over time, pieces of the property have been repurposed for other use, most notably by the US Navy in order to build the former naval air station and by Bowdoin College. The current property offers over 71 acres with numerous trails running through diverse and ecologically unique terrain. The Brunswick Town Commons also frequently serves as a community recreation space and outdoor classroom for Brunswick schools.
The Times Record
By Sandy Stott
May 3, 2019
May marks the 300th Anniversary of the Brunswick Town Commons. Since mid-April, organizations in Brunswick have worked together to celebrate this exciting anniversary with walks, talks, and even a film made by students from Brunswick High School’s Film Department. In a recent article in the Times Record, Sandy Stott recounts the joy and light the film brought to one of Maine’s oldest conserved areas.
May is our expansive month. Leaves unfurl, waters warm, our woods are flecked with flowers at our feet. Perhaps no bloom says better, “It’s time to walk” than the lady’s-slipper, or moccasin flower. This foot- (and heart-) shaped blossom is our native orchid, and, where our woods are undisturbed, it can be legion. Brunswick’s Town Commons, with its 300-year legacy of being “saved” land, offers these wild orchids by the tens; sometimes during a walk I can count hundreds.
I thought of this the other night, when I was taken for a filmic walk in those Commons. Created by co-directors Ania Johnston and Josh Flanagan and other students from Brunswick High School’s Film Department, Uncommon Ground, pays lyrical tribute to this core of our town. Settled back among 200 others in the school’s Crooker Theater, I followed the film down familiar trails, and paused with it for appreciative close-ups of pines and ferns and mosses. It was all enlivening and soothing.
To read the rest of the article, click here.
To learn what events are left to celebrate the 300th Anniversary of the Brunswick Town Commons, click here.
The Times Record
By David Treadwell
An lovely article was recently written by David Treadwell in The Times Record about a kind person who generously gives back to the community that he calls home.
You wouldn’t expect a global company that serves the neuroscience community to be headquartered in rural Maine. And you wouldn’t expect that company to provide a daycare facility and community gym right on-site. And you wouldn’t expect the owner of such a company to eschew the let’s-position-the-company-to-go-public-or-be-bought-out-so-we-can-make-millions mindset of today’s entrepreneurs.
Patti McDonald, March 26, 2019
Sam Hughes, a local Eagle Scout, completed a bridge at the end of Jack’s Trail at BTLT’s Chase Reserve last fall. Through challenges in the paperwork to the excitement of building, Patti McDonald at The Forecaster recently covered the story.
Some teenagers are buried in their electronic devices or concerned with the next social media challenge.
Not 15-year-old Sam Hughes.
Hughes, a sophomore at Mt. Ararat High School, revels in his time outdoors and appreciates nature. He said his love for the outdoors is the reason he decided to join the Boy Scouts when he was 6 years old.
Hughes, who lives in Topsham, has been in the Boy Scouts for nine years and has already achieved the Eagle Scout rank, the organization’s highest achievement. He completed his service project last fall: a bridge he built at the end of Jack’s Trail on Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust’s Chase Reserve on Bunganuc Road in Brunswick. The trail connects BTLT’s trail with Freeport Conservation Trust’s Antoinette Jackman Trail.
On February 10, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust teamed up with Six Rivers NEMBA, Midcoast Conservancy, and the Merrymeeting Wheelers for a group fat tire mountain bike ride at Neptune Woods. Over 40 people attended and many ended up at the Brews for a Cause Fundraiser to benefit BTLT hosted by Flight Deck Brewing on Brunswick Landing.
Patrick Gabrion posted about the ride on the cycling blog, Pedal 2 Page, covering the event.
I heard one participant say, “I love these trails,” and that was the sentiment expressed by many others. Here’s my take on the four miles of loops:
* Well groomed and the abundance of trees kept icy conditions to a minimum
* Wooden bridges, not too many and short, were wide enough that they didn’t create freak-out moments
* Well marked
* Ample parking
* Despite the occasional plane taking off at the nearby airport, the wooded area was quiet and peaceful
BTLT reached out to Six Rivers NEMBA to run Sunday’s ride. In the end, the event represented a collaboration between BTLT, Six Rivers, the Merrymeeting Wheelers and the Midcoast Conservancy, which provided 20 fat bikes to loan to participants.Pedal 2 Page
“The number of participants was staggering,” said Lawrence Kovacs, president of Six Rivers NEMBA.