For press releases only. Will show on front page under latest news. Only focus on what we want the media to follow.

Innovative Lease Ensures Future of Farming at Crystal Spring Farm

NEWS RELEASE/November 5, 2014

 

FOR IMMEDIATE USE

Contact: Angela Twitchell, Executive Director, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust; 207-729-7694 or angela@btlt.org

 

Media Kit: Download ZIP with Photos

Release Only: Download PDF

INNOVATIVE LEASE ENSURES FUTURE OF FARMING AT CRYSTAL SPRING FARM

An innovative lease at Crystal Spring Farm will ensure the future of farming at the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust’s signature property. The lease may well be a model for other farm property owned by land trusts across New England.

The far reaching lease will join the Land Trust, on the one hand, and farmers Seth Kroeck and Maura Bannon in a 50-year agreement covering 115 of the 321 acres of the Farm located on the Pleasant Hill Road in Brunswick.

It provides for agricultural use of most of the property; it assures public use of other land at Crystal Spring for trails, a Farmer’s Market, Community Garden, and other events; and it provides proper maintenance of the farm and its buildings.

The new lease, the longest anywhere in the U.S. between a land trust and a farm family, intentionally runs longer than the likely tenancy of the current lease holders. The focus is on the long-term.

Kroeck and Bannon have been farming at Crystal Spring Farm for the past 11 years. In that time they have built a very successful Community Supported Agriculture program and sheep farm. But over these years, the relationship between the farmers and the land trust has been based on short-term lease agreements. Both the Land Trust and Seth and Maura wanted to solidify the successful partnership by entering into a long-term lease agreement that will allow the farmers and the land trust to make long range plans for their respective interests in the farm.

The new lease is transferable to a future farmer to ensure that vibrant local agriculture at Crystal Spring Farm will remain an integral part of the Brunswick landscape long into the future.

“For Maura and me this lease is a great culmination of our relationship with the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and this Farm,” Kroeck said in a recent interview. “The lease ensures that the Farm will be both protected and productive for generations.”

“Crystal Spring Farm is a tangible symbol of the multiple values that comprises the Land Trust’s mission,” said executive director Angela Twitchell. “Local agricultural, land conservation, recreation, community: all these are important to us. This lease will assure that Crystal Spring remains a farm, and it also illustrates how the Land Trust’s approach to land conservation truly strengthens our communities.”

The lease was a product of the Land Trust’s desire to implement long term goals for the farm and the farmers desire to have long term protection and build equity. The lease was based on a Management Plan for Crystal Spring Farm created by the Land Trust Board in 2011.

Land Trust President Brad Babson played an important role in translating the complex plan into a mutually acceptable lease agreement. “These arrangements will provide a solid foundation for a sustainable farming operation and responsible stewardship of an important protected property in our community in keeping with the Land Trust’s mission,” Babson said. “The result is good for Seth and Maura, good for the Land Trust and good for the many people in our community who enjoy the farm in diverse ways.”

Apart from securing the long-term productive and well managed agricultural use of this Land Trust property, the agreement addresses a number of challenging issues in agricultural leases in innovative ways that are already attracting attention beyond Brunswick.

The lease is grounded in a mutual desire for a long-term relationship that allows Seth and Maura to continue a successful agriculture business. At the same time, it provides significant benefit to the public and stewardship of valuable land. The lease is over a long term, and transferable, so that Seth and Maura can sell or pass on a successful business and plan for their retirement, while the Land Trust will be assured that there are incentives to maintain and enhance the productivity of the soils.

The Land Trust makes demands on the farmer beyond those of normal landlord relations, including having public access trails that will remain open to the public, sponsoring public events such as the New Lambs Day, and allowing for the Land Trust’s Farmers’ Market at Crystal Spring Farm to continue on non-leased land abutting the farmer’s residence and farmstead.

Long-term maintenance is an important consideration. The Land Trust will continue to own the farmhouse and buildings. The lease establishes a Farm Maintenance Fund that will be jointly managed by the farmer and Land Trust. A portion of the rent payment will be applied to the fund so that resources will accumulate to finance maintenance expenses.

“We couldn’t be happier to be entering into this agreement with Seth and Maura. It has been years in the making, and just shows how fantastic the relationship has been between this incredible farm family and the Land Trust,” said Tom Settlemire, Land Trust Board Member

Pleasant Hill 018-001

Family Fun to Highlight Last Day of Land Trust’s Farmers’ Market November 1

NEWS RELEASE/OCTOBER 28, 2014

FAMILY FUN TO HIGHLIGHT LAST DAY OF LAND TRUST’S FARMERS’ MARKET NOVEMBER 1

FOR IMMEDIATE USE

Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust will celebrate the last day of their Market for the season with an array of events for the family and the much anticipated selection of the “Kayak to Build Community” raffle winner.

 

Contact: Angela Twitchell, Executive Director, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust; 207-729-7694 or angela@btlt.org

 

Media Kit: Download ZIP with High Resolution Photos

Release Only: Download PDF

 

What’s faster?  A carrot or a cabbage. Can a pumpkin outrace a parsnip? Any bets on a potato versus a beet? And who will become the lucky owner of arguably the most coveted kayak in Maine history?

All of this—and more—can be discovered November 1, the last day of the 15th season of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust Farmers’ Market at Crystal Spring Farm.

“The Land Trust prides itself on creating as many public benefits as possible through its land conservation projects,” said Executive Director Angela Twitchell. “And sometimes that benefit is simply good old-fashioned fun!”

Family fun will be the theme from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm on Saturday November 1 at Crystal Spring Farm on Pleasant Hill Road in Brunswick.

Throughout the morning varied offerings will include face painting, a market scavenger hunt, wool felting and nature stories. In an innovative twist, the Trust is staging a vegetable car building and racing event where participants fix wooden wheels to an array of vegetables, and send them careening down the “veggie ramp.” At 11 am, judges will cut into the entries for the second annual Apple Pie Contest.

The culminating event of the busy morning will be announcing the winner of a 17-foot cedar strip kayak at 11 am.

The stunning creation of functional art is the product of 800 hours of work by committed Land Trust supporters Martin Wilk and Kerford Marchant, neighbors in Brunswick. This is the third vessel the pair has contributed to the Land Trust for raffle. The drawing for the kayak will be held at 11 am.

Raffle tickets can still be purchased at the market on November 1 until the time of the drawing and they can be purchased through October 31st online at www.btlt.org/kayak.

The beautiful kayak has attracted attention at the Market and at various locations around town over the past six months. This interest enabled representatives of the Land Trust to engage new members and support for the final public stage of a $7 million capital campaign begun in 2011. The Land Trust is turning to the community to raise the final $1 million of the Campaign for Brunswick-Topsham, which will support ambitious land conservation goals and stewardship.

For information about contributing to the Campaign for Brunswick-Topsham and BTLT operations go to www.btlt.org or call (207)729-7694.

The Land Trust was formed in 1985, and since then has conserved some 2,200 acres of important natural areas.

 

6-the brunswick-topsham land trust kayak just after final preparations were completedFarm StoriesFace PaintingPies

The Times Record: Two land trusts work to buy Woodward site

Friday, October 24

Front Page Times-RecordIMG_7316

Two land trusts work to buy Woodward site

Land owned by UU Church in Brunswick

BY JOHN SWINCONECK, Times Record Staff

BRUNSWICK

Off Gurnet Road in East Brunswick is a nondescript clearing in the woods with a path leading to Woodward Cove. Before the cove was temporarily closed to study green crab infestation, that clearing was an important access point to mudflats for those harvesting shellfish and bloodworms.

Now, the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, in cooperation with Maine Coast Heritage Trust, is trying to bolster support to purchase that land — owned by the Universalist Unitarian Church of Brunswick — to preserve that access point.

The church purchased the land — about 20 acres in all — several years ago with plans to build a new church there, according to Brunswick Topsham Land Trust Director Angela Twitchell. When their church burnt in 2011, church members opted to rebuild on the old site.

The Brunswick-Topsham Land and Maine Coast Heritage trusts have been working with the church to acquire the land, which is still on the market.

The church’s board of directors have not yet held a final vote as to whether to sell the land. Twitchell said she is hopeful the church will preserve the parcel by working with the land trusts. The trusts believe conserving the land will also protect water quality in the cove.

Talks with the church have been ongoing for about a year, said Twitchell. The appraised value of the land is $125,000. The trusts are applying for a $75,000 North American Wetland Conservation Act grant, and will be looking into other grant sources and private fundraising.

Brunswick Town Councilor Steve Walker — who also works for Maine Coast Heritage Trust — has suggested that the town contribute $1,000 toward the effort. The trusts have requested a letter of support from the Brunswick Town Council, which may vote on the matter at an upcoming meeting.

Twitchell said acquiring the land is part of a broader strategy.  “The land trust had been talking with the town and with marine resources folks, trying to locate places in town that are historically access points for clammers, and conserve those so they (clammers) don’t lose access over time,” said Twitchell. “Woodward Cove is a very productive clam flat. It’s one of the most important shellfish flats in the town … and one of the longest stretches of undeveloped shoreline in East Brunswick.”

Marine Warden Dan Devereaux said bloodworm harvesters use the access point daily when Woodward Cove is open to harvesting. Along with Buttermilk Cove, Woodward Cove is shut down now to both clam and worm harvesting in order to study ways to combat the invasive green crab, which has in recent years been a detriment to the shellfish industry. The cove is slated to reopen in February.

Keeping the access point open is important to anyone who uses Woodward Cove to harvest worms or clams. Harvesters are there all the time, said Devereaux, adding: “When you think about Woodward Cove, it is the only possible public access point.”

Efforts to reach the board chairman of the Universalist Unitarian Church were unsuccessful on Thursday.

Donations to support the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust can be made at https://www.btlt.org/. jswinconeck@timesrecord.com

http://www.timesrecord.com/news/2014-10-24/Front_Page/Two_land_trusts_work_to_buy_Woodward_site.html

History at Head of Tide on a Beautiful Fall Day

Nearly 50 people listened in on the fascinating history of Head of Tide Park

Nearly 50 people listened in on the fascinating history of Head of Tide Park

On Sunday afternoon nearly fifty friends and neighbors joined the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust for a view into the past with local historians Dana Cary and Ed Mendes.

Head of Tide Park on Cathance Road in Topsham is the Town’s newest park and is quickly becoming a beloved spot for many local residents. But the recent history of the remarkable site is just a small part of its story.

Cary, a longtime leader at the Land Trust who grew up adjacent to the Park, explained that the land was first held under the proprietorship of the Pejepscot Company. Parcels were deeded to any man who lived on the land for three years and put up a building.

The greatest resources the Park held were ancient trees and the waterfall: before long the early setters installed a lumber mill that provided the materials for the first ship built above the “chops” on Merrymeeting Bay, and many others on the Kennebec and Androscoggin.

Mendes, the organizer of the only archaeological dig on the site, took up the story from there. Speaking over the roar of the waterfall and chilly autumn wind, he explained that the lumber mill became a feldspar mill – processing the mineral mined from local high quality veins. This provided seasonal work to the locals, as well as the materials for ceramics, coatings, and insulators.

Mendes shared with the group artifacts and photos from the mill’s working days.

Soon the rail came near to the site – an important development for the mill.

The two described the development of the site into apartments in the 1960s, and then the hard work of the Land Trust, the Town of Topsham and many other local organizations and people to create the Head of Tide Park over the past several years. The short lecture concluded with questions from the group which ranged from inquiries about the findings of the archaeological dig to the origin of the earliest European settlers.

Many attendees had their own details and experiences to add to the discussion, including one man who shared details of struggles of his Ulster-Scot ancestors that settled in the area, to those who played an active role in the creation of the Town Park.

DSC01047

Mendes shows the group an artifact made of feldspar

Cary shows the group a photo of his family's homestead

Cary shows the group a photo of his family’s homestead

A mid-twentieth century photo inside the feldspar mill

A mid-twentieth century photo inside the feldspar mill

Land Trust Enters Public Phase of Historic $7 Million Conservation Effort

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Local Non-Profit Enlists Public Support in Historic Campaign to Build Community

Land Trust Enters Public Phase of Historic $7 Million Conservation Effort

The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust is seeking broad, new support to complete an ambitious capital campaign to conserve the remarkable diversity of the natural heritage of our midcoast communities.

 

Contact: Angela Twitchell, Executive Director, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust; (207) 729-7694; angela@btlt.org

 

Media Kit: Download ZIP with High Resolution Photos

Release Only: Download PDF

 

Brunswick, Maine October 14, 2014

Launched in 2011, The Campaign for Brunswick-Topsham has already secured more than $6 million in donations and grants toward a goal of $7 million.  The focus in this final stage will be on expanding membership and building a stewardship fund to care for the properties the land trust is conserving – forever.

“It has taken many loyal supporters to get us this far in this bold capital campaign.” said executive director Angela Twitchell. “Now we are hopeful new supporters who appreciate and enjoy what the Land Trust has done to strengthen our communities will seize this opportunity to help us complete this important effort.  It will take a groundswell movement of people that believe in what is happening here, and it’s all very exciting.”

“Now we are hoping more people in this community will become members of the Land Trust to strengthen this work,” added Brad Babson, President of the BTLT Board of Directors. “In addition to becoming members, we are asking those who love this community to contribute stewardship funds to allow us to care for these lands forever.

 

Community Oriented Goals

The overall goals of this historic campaign include protecting 23 priority land preservation projects totaling some 1,100 acres and establishing an $800,000 stewardship fund to monitor and care for the Land Trust’s holdings in perpetuity. A third objective is increasing membership from 900 to 1,500 members and doubling annual membership income to $205,000 in order to help sustain the Land Trust’s ambitious mission and programs.

“We’re doing more than conserving land now; we’re making sure that our promise to protect these lands in perpetuity can be upheld forever,” said Babson. “What’s more, we are working hard to create memorable opportunities for people of all ages and walks of life to connect with the natural areas we are blessed to have in the Brunswick-Topsham area.”

 

Well on the Way

Since the campaign began, 680 acres across 11 properties have been conserved. These will remain forever undeveloped open space for the enjoyment of generations to come. An additional twelve projects totaling 480 acres are expected to close in the next two years. These lands are located in locally treasured landscapes including Middle and Maquoit Bays, the Cathance, Muddy, and Androscoggin Rivers, and include important trail connections and productive agricultural lands.

 

To learn more about the BTLT and how you can contribute to the Campaign for Brunswick-Topsham, please go to www.btlt.org, call 729-7695 or email angela@btlt.org.

 

 

About the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust

The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust was formed in 1985 around the conservation of a small coastal meadow. Since then it has preserved more than 2,200 acres of precious natural resources in Brunswick, Topsham and Bowdoin.

The land trust’s mission is to “preserve, protect and steward the cherished landscapes and rich natural resources of our communities, to provide access for recreation, and to support local agriculture and other traditional land uses, now and for generations to come.”

The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust enjoys a national reputation for providing extraordinarily diverse and widespread public benefit through its conservation programs that touch the lives of virtually everyone in the towns it serves and many from beyond.

Programs built over 30 years include

  • building and maintaining more than 17 miles of hiking and skiing trails.
  • conserving Crystal Spring Farm as a community asset and working to promote local agriculture,
  • running the state’s largest farmers’ market,
  • providing individual garden plots for community members at the Tom Settlemire Community Garden, and
  • growing food to feed the hungry (more than 3,600 lbs last year alone).

The many educational and recreational opportunities the Land Trust offers range from a winter gardening series and mentoring students in community service to butterfly and bird walks and many other diverse outdoors adventures.

The Land Trust is governed by a 21-member Board of Directors drawn from the community and chaired by its President, Brad Babson. Angela Twitchell, the Executive Director leads a small, committed professional staff.

The Land Trust’s organizational efficiency and capacity have been recognized by a national accreditation group for land trusts. The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust is one of only 15 Maine land trusts to pass a most rigorous accreditation process.

upper cathance river Scammon_Cows middle-bay-brunswick Highland Rd. Bunganuc woods easement Coleman farm middle bay Coleman Farm fields Cary property

Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust gifted hand crafted kayak to stir Mid Coast generosity during a $7 million campaign

9-wilk and marchant carry the kayak to a pond near the woodshop

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

A Mid Coast Kayak Builds Community
Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust gifted hand crafted kayak to stir Mid Coast generosity during a $7 million campaign
Few kayaks generate this much attention and fewer yet do so much to build our community. The Navigator, a 17-foot long cedar strip kayak that is being raffled off this year, is drawing attention throughout Mid-coast Maine to shed light on new education opportunities, burgeoning children’s programs, and the farm-to-table work being done by the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust

Contact: Peter Greeno, Director of Development, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust; 207-729-7694; peter@btlt.org

Media Kit: Download ZIP with High Resolution Photos
Release Only: Download PDF

Brunswick, Maine – August 11, 2014
For a third time, Brunswick residents and Land Trust members Marty Wilk, and Kerford Marchant, have built a beautiful piece of floating art. By now it comes naturally. Nature provides us with a long winter, and they responded with hours spent delving into projects in their workshop near the conserved lands of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust.

Some projects however, take on a life of their own
Over the past two winters, Wilk and Marchant put over 800 hours into building their third hull. Even more remarkable is that after pouring their heart and soul into the creation of the kayak they then chose to give away to benefit the larger community they both love and support in many ways.

The decision to give the kayak to the Land Trust was made before it was built. Wilk and Marchant have long been supporters of the Land Trust, and took on the challenge to build something truly unique to call attention to the Land Trust’s efforts throughout the region.

A show stopper
Displayed weekly at the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust’s Farmers’ Market at Crystal Spring Farm, the Brunswick Art Walk and other locations, almost every passer by stops to run their fingers along the glassy deck.

At 17 feet 2 ½ inches long, it has the honey and molasses coloring of a true cedar strip kayak. The builders cut each strip on the deck by hand, carefully fitting them to jigs in their workshop in Brunswick. The sides and hull are rich with the puzzle joints and compound curves formed in okoume plywood that looks as if it were solid mahogany.

This is no ordinary kayak
“It’s designed to be used” says Wilk, “the deck and hull are lined with fiberglass and epoxy resin that make it durable over time.” In fact, Wilk and Marchant added a layer of fiberglass and several layers of epoxy beyond what the plans suggested, and it still weighs in at less than 58 pounds.

The final result, a piece of art that can hold a 240 pound paddler and his gear, while gliding effortlessly through the ocean waters of nearby Middle Bay, Maquoit Bay, or beyond.

So they gave it away

It isn’t often that two friends put such intense labor into building a craft and then give it away, but that is exactly what Wilk and Marchant did in late April. The kayak is being raffled off on November 1st at the Land Trust’s last Farmers’ Market of the season on the Land Trust’s Crystal Spring Farm, with tickets being sold where-ever it goes.

Wilk and Marchant explain what they are attempting to accomplish with this gift:

“Land Trusts’ aren’t just about conserving land anymore. They’re about rebuilding the relationships that young generations have with nature, getting them out where they can explore, exercise and come to understand the impact we have on the world around us, and how those relationships with nature impact our emotional well being as a culture.”

Land Trust 2.0 is how others describe the recent shift in focus for many land trusts around the country. At last count, there were over 90 land trusts in Maine, but only a handful are successfully making the shift from focusing solely on conserving habitat, to introducing educational programs for our local schools, greasing the wheels for new local food hubs, investing in local farm programs and working with public libraries to introduce new teaching tools.

A new direction: forever
The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust is at the forefront of this work, entering a $7 million dollar campaign in 2011. Earlier this year, that campaign went public during a May 2 celebration on the Pennellville meadow where the organization began in 1985.

“The kayak is a superb boat, a wonderful combination of design and craftsmanship. As a design, it is both elegant and powerful, a true sea kayak with lines drawn for handling even rough conditions. As craftsmanship, it is stunningly well executed, practically flawless, with a gorgeous pattern of woodwork on the deck. Its looks belie its practicality though, since it has a tough fiberglass skin, the kayak is made to be put to regular use.” Lloyd Van Lunen, Member, Board of Directors at the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust

The Land Trust received national recognition in 2012 when it became accredited in the first wave of the national Land Trust Association’s new accreditation program, calling organizations to new standards to ensure that work was done to high standards.

“It is a very difficult thing to put theory into practice sometimes” notes Peter Greeno, the Land Trust’s Director of Development.

“We’re not just conserving land anymore,” Greeno says, “we’re making sure that our promise to protect these lands in perpetuity can be upheld forever, and then we’re adding capacity to build the programs that make use of those lands. It takes a groundswell movement of people that believe in what is happening here, and it’s all very exciting.”

The campaign to build community in Brunswick, Topsham, and Bowdoin, has already raised $5.8 million towards a $7 million dollar goal, and will continue through the end of the year.

It has already had a significant affect on the local community, from bolstering the Land Trust’s Common Good Garden that produces over 3,000 pounds of vegetables to the pantry and soup kitchen of the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program, to a new Young Explorers program focused on children ages 4-7, the effects of the capital project continue to make headway.

The Land Trust also used the campaign to launch new events programming that remains free and open to the public, getting elderly and young alike out on trails maintained through a growing Stewardship Endowment.

A kayak to spread the message
And that’s where the kayak comes back in. The gift that Wilk and Marchant made earlier in the year is traveling the Midcoast region to tell the story of a Land Trust that was only a few years ago staffed by a single person, and now boasts tremendous volunteer hours and great new public programs.

On November 1st someone will drive away with a much loved kayak on their car top carrier. They’ll do so with the support of everyone in the community, even though the rest of us might need a little time to settle with the reality that it wasn’t our lucky ticket that took it home.

As it floats through the morning waters it will serve as a reminder of what generous donors, a growing team of volunteers, and the strength of a wonderful community can accomplish as we enjoy the new programs, trails, and conserved lands of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust that we love so dearly.

The kayak can be seen online at www.btlt.org/kayak, or in person at the Land Trust’s Crystal Spring Farm in Brunswick every Saturday morning.

###

Image captions available in media pack
18-marchant carefully checks the hull of the kayak during a showing

17-wilk cleans the hull of the kayak during a showing

16-the kayak sitting on now familiar burlap strap stands that cradled the hull while it was being built

15-the kayak sitting on now familiar burlap strap stands that cradled the hull while it was being built

14-the kayak gracefully sitting next to the workshop where it was built over the prior two winters

8-marchant carries the bow of the kayak to a pond near the woodshop

9-wilk and marchant carry the kayak to a pond near the woodshop

10-marchant lays the kayak gently on the ground shortly after final work was finished

11-the kayak gracefully sitting next to the workshop where it was built over the prior two winters

12-the kayak gracefully sitting next to the workshop where it was built over the prior two winters

13-the kayak gracefully sitting next to the workshop where it was built over the prior two winters

7-the brunswick-topsham land trust kayak just after final preparations were completed

6-the brunswick-topsham land trust kayak just after final preparations were completed

5-the brunswick-topsham land trust kayak just after final preparations were completed

4-wilk and marchant transport the kayak prior to transfer to the brunswick-topsham land trust

En plein air – Landscapes of a Land Trust

Artwork by McCartan Weiss and Brooks for display on June 12

Fine art abounds in Brunswick, Maine
Three local artists featured in an open celebration and art exhibit: En plein air – Landscapes of a Land Trust
Open to the public: A June 12th art exhibit and celebration highlights prized conserved lands in Brunswick as a joint venture between the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and Thornton Oaks Art Gallery.

Contact: Peter Greeno, Director of Development, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust; 207-729-7694; peter@btlt.org

Media kit: Download ZIP with high resolution images
Release Only: Download PDF

Public invited: June 12 from 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Light refreshments and music. Location: Thornton Oaks Art Gallery, 25 Thornton Way in Brunswick. The public at large is welcome.

RSVP by emailing peter@btlt.org
 

Brunswick, Maine – June 2014

Over the past month three local artists, Ed McCartan, Prentiss Weiss, and Robin Brooks, have set their easels on prized, conserved lands of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, and transferred the inspiration they found into works of art.

That art will be featured at a celebration of place open to the public, complete with expanded galleries from each artist, refreshments and music on June 12th.

The celebration highlights a community that is growing in many ways. Over the past 30 years Brunswick, Maine has seen the loss of a military base, a large recession, a local economy that is ever more focused on local food, even a foodie culture that defies some national trends, and a landscape that has changed too.

En plein air – A French expression that traditionally describes painting in the open landscape.

But part of that landscape remains untouched; part of it retains ‘plein air.’ A recent federal grant citing dramatic losses in wetlands conveyed $16.5 million in funds to support conservation in Middle Bay.

These successes come as the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust turns 30 years old, and enters the final stages in securing the remaining $1.3 million in a three-year, $7 million dollar campaign to protect these lands forever and to focus on building community.

“These conserved lands are prized by our community as places of recreation, learning for our children, as habitat for the wildlife we cherish, and as economic mainstays for those that work in the fisheries industry” – Angela Twitchell, Executive Director of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust

Thornton Oaks Retirement Living Community is one of the local businesses that cherishes the forever-nature of these lands.

The organization sits adjacent to the trails of the Land Trust’s landmark property, Crystal Spring Farm, where members of the retirement community retreat to view lady slippers in bloom, exercise, and enjoy views of the Land Trust’s Tom Settlemire Community Garden.

“The benefit to our community in terms of wellness and quality of living are imperative. We cherish these lands, and the art that the lands inspire.” – Whitney Campbell, Director of Marketing at Thornton Oaks Retirement Living Community

Thursday, June 12th is a milestone celebration of the 30 years that Brunswick has invested into building community.

The Art Gallery at Thornton Oaks will host three local artists as they display work completed throughout these special places, in an exhibit that is open to the public and complete with food, drink, and art.

The exhibit, En plein air – Landscapes of a Land Trust will feature the many works of Ed McCartan, Prentiss Weiss, and Robin Brooks from 4:00 – 5:30pm during a celebration that is open to the public.

The artists are generously donating 15% of sales from their art at the exhibit to the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust to support the protection of these inspiring places forever.

Artist bio: Ed McCartan

In an ongoing endeavor, Ed McCartan represents his exploration of botanical and gestural imagery through his interpretation of place. His use of double images highlights a living “dialogue” between the different areas of his work.

Small natural forms, twigs, ferns, and flowers, leave room for experimentation with sumi-like strokes and lines and the layering of glazes throughout the composition. “I go to nature and the possibilities inherent in the materials for inspiration.”

Artist bio: Prentiss Weiss

A plein air painter of Maine landscapes in oil, Prentiss Weiss creates paintings that are rich in color and textures.

Using a limited palette with brush and painting knife, she conveys to the viewer the influence of the light that draws her to a particular scene.

Artist bio: Robin Brooks

An educator and artist, Robin Brooks works in a variety of media including collage, oils and acrylics, and monotype printmaking. Her interests include the Maine landscape and our relationship to the natural world.

Receiving her B.F.A. in art education from Boston University, she studied painting with Leland Bell, Paul Resika, and John Heliker at the Parsons School of Design in New York City. Her works in oils and mixed media collage are in public and private collections around the country.

RSVP for the celebration at: www.btlt.org/en-plein-air/

###

Image Captions

  1. Artwork by McCartan, Weiss, and Brooks as part of the exhibition for the general public on June 12th at Thornton Oaks Art Gallery
  2. Thornton Oaks Retirement Living Community maintains rolling collections of fine art for their communities to enjoy.
  3. The Thornton Oaks Art Gallery will keep artwork by McCartan, Weiss, and Brooks on display after the celebration.
  4. Thornton Oaks Retirement Living Community maintains rolling collections of fine art for their communities to enjoy.
  5. The Thornton Oaks Art Gallery will keep artwork by McCartan, Weiss, and Brooks on display after the celebration.
  6. Thornton Oaks Retirement Living Community sits adjacent to the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust landmark property, Crystal Spring Farm, and enjoys trail systems that leave directly from the community’s properties.
  7. Thornton Oaks Retirement Living Community sits adjacent to the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust landmark property, Crystal Spring Farm, and enjoys trail systems that leave directly from the community’s properties.
  8. Gardens outside from Thornton Oaks Art Gallery are in bloom and will be available for the event.
  9. Gardens outside from Thornton Oaks Art Gallery are in bloom and will be available for the event.
  10. Gardens outside from Thornton Oaks Art Gallery are in bloom and will be available for the event.
  11. Executive Director Angela Twitchell, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, formerly served on the board of directors of the same organization, and is a strong advocate for building community in Brunswick, Topsham, and Bowdoin Maine

Local garden brings opportunities for therapy, food for the hungry, and an extended family at the historic Crystal Spring Farm.

The Land Trusts Tom Settlemire Community Garden is a welcoming place for the community to volunteer and enjoy good friends

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Record harvest for hunger prevention in sights
Local garden brings opportunities for therapy, food for the hungry, and an extended family at the historic Crystal Spring Farm.
The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust’s Tom Settlemire Community Garden will provide one final preparatory workshop before opening what aims to be an important year in their work to build the community’s local food opportunities.

Contact: Peter Greeno, Director of Development, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust; 207-729-7694; peter@btlt.org

Media kit: Download ZIP with high resolution images
Release Only: Download PDF
Food Preservation Workshop details:www.btlt.org/foodpreservation/

Brunswick, Maine – March 13, 2014

Just two years after the opening of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust’s Tom Settlemire Community Garden, the numbers are staggering: 4,800 pounds of locally grown food donated to local hunger prevention programs, nearly 100 families engaged as plot holders, and several hundred winter workshop attendees.

Winter has not slowed the garden down, as the winter workshop series included 5 free workshops to prepare local gardeners for the coming season. It’s this outreach that has made such a difference locally, engaging young and old generations alike.

The community is gathering for one final workshop on March 23rd with a focus on food preservation in Brunswick. Ticket sales will go to support the garden’s work, while teaching skills that will ultimately provide more produce for healthy families as well as local hunger prevention programs. (Details: www.btlt.org/foodpreservation)

This garden has grown to epitomize the Land Trust’s focus on building community through conservation.

From a dream to conserve the Land Trust’s Crystal Spring Farm in 1998, to a garden that provides plots for local families to grow healthy food, volunteers to produce thousands of pounds of harvest for the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program, to quality socialization for families, retirement community members, and others; we love everything about it. – Angela Twitchell, Executive Director at Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust

Few community gardens have such success in just two short years.
Yet with 80 gardening plots available for local families each year, and room to expand, the Land Trust’s community garden brings in substantial engagement each week during the growing season.

The garden’s location, at Crystal Spring Farm in Brunswick, was part of a farm conservation effort made possible by Land Trust members between 1998 and 2004. The now-conserved historic farm is where nearly all local milk was processed in the early 1900s. Many local residents will remember the farm as the former location of Dee’s Dairy, where a Sunday afternoon stroll could include a stop by Dee’s ice cream.

However the decision to place the garden there was more than local affection for place, or the need for sufficient acreage. Good soil is paramount to a good garden, and this particular location provides fantastic growing soil.

Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program
That soil is especially valued in the garden’s Common Good bed, a join program with the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program to provide quality local food to low income families in Maine. The Common Good Bed stretches over 6,000 square feet, and is maintained and worked by volunteers that see value in the work.

Installed partway through 2013, a new solar powered drip irrigation system resulted in nearly twice as much produce for the hunger prevention program in the garden’s second year. Volunteers installed the solar powered well as the second such well system at the garden, after Revision Energy generously assisted with the first system a year ago. The new pump and well however, focuses on a drip irrigation system for the Common Good Bed, and provides more water than was available with watering buckets carried by volunteers. The harvest doubled in the first year with the system, and with a full year ahead, the program aims to have a significant impact in our local region with a record harvest.

Thornton Oaks Retirement Living Community and Horizons Living and Rehabilitation Center
The garden’s proximity to the neighboring Thornton Oaks Retirement Living Community and Horizons Living and Rehabilitation Center is a key element in the family atmosphere. Neighbors are often found volunteering with hands in the soil helping to make a difference in someone else’s life, or watching all of the garden activities and frolicking sheep from their rooms or wheelchairs.

Adding to the community building mission of the Land Trust, the garden boasts 4 raised beds at waist height and pea stone paths so that gardeners with disabilities have the opportunity to join in the learning and growing experience.

Master Gardeners teach community neighbors how to become food savvy
Key to the garden’s success is the nearly constant opportunities to interact with master gardeners both at the garden, and during winter workshops. Five free workshops this year saw substantial community interest with attendance between 88 and 99 persons each Sunday afternoon at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brunswick.

These workshops not only teach local residents valuable gardening skills, they build a sense of community around the efforts of the garden

One final workshop remains
Sunday March 23rd will see the 6th and final workshop with a focus on food preservation by master preservers Allison Duffy and Kate McCarty. Workshops remain open to all, regardless of garden involvement, and are held from 2:00pm – 3:30pm at the St. Pauls Episcopal Church.

To support or attend the March 23rd Food Preservation workshop purchase tickets at www.btlt.org/foodpreservation

The Bowdoin Connection
Named after Tom Settlemire, a professor emeritus of Bowdoin College where he headed the biology and chemistry departments and an active local farmer known for his research in sheep disease and genetics, the garden continues its work year round.

The Land Trust’s garden was a founding partner of the Bowdoin College garden, recently relocated closer to campus so that students can grow fresh produce to supplement the needs of campus dining halls and bring healthy food to the student body.

The community is welcome to visit the Tom Settlemire Community Garden, and to consider volunteering for work days and in the common good bed. Contact the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust for more information.

All plots for the garden are sold out for 2014, however many volunteers without plots will make use of the opportunity to learn gardening skills with master gardeners, help out in the common good bed, and enjoy the family atmosphere of one of Maine’s great community building gems.

Local farm and local food financing issues bring experts, Senator King staff member and local farmers to Topsham

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Financing is a battle for local food
Local farm and local food financing issues bring experts, Senator King staff member and local farmers to Topsham
The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and nearby Kennebec Estuary Land Trust continue their joint Local Farms-Local Food partnership to build one of the Midcoast region’s top local agriculture programs.

Contact: Peter Greeno, Director of Development, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust; 207-729-7694; peter@btlt.org

Media kit: Download ZIP with high resolution images
Release Only: Download PDF

Topsham, Maine – January 29, 2014

Nearly forty leaders in local agriculture gathered today in Topsham to consider critical ongoing conversations to build a more resilient food system in Midcoast Maine.

Today’s meetings drew Senator Angus King staff member Gail Kezer, local financing experts, experts from Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and Kennebec Estuary Land Trust, and leading farmers in the region as discussions focused on financing hurdles for our local agriculture.

They joined representatives from the Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association (MOFGA) and a number of local credit and banking organizations including the Norway Savings Bank and Farm Credit East.

The Roundtable series is generously supported by the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation.

Tom Settlemire, professor emeritus of the biology and chemistry departments at Bowdoin College, and long-time board member at Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, notes the significance of the discussions:

“Based on the amount of food that Maine imports each year, a 20 percent increase in locally-produced food could pump millions of dollars into the state’s economy.

That would fix a lot of roadways and failing bridges, as well as reduce the health problems that continue to plague the health care system in the state of Maine.”

Joe Grady, of Two Coves Farm, and Steve Sinisi, of Old Crow Ranch, discussed financing and capital opportunities. Key to those discussions was how the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, Kennebec Estuary Land Trust, and similar organizations are working to promote long-term farm viability.

Representatives from the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry joined David Asmussen, of Blue Bell Farm, to provide business planning assistance to local growers in an ongoing effort to increase the foundation of business knowledge and acumen that supports the farming community.

Coastal Enterprises, Inc, Bowdoinham Community Development Initiative, Slow Money Maine, and others were present for those in attendance.

Local Farms-Local Food is partnership between Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and Kennebec Estuary Land Trust to conserve farmland, increase local food production, and promote a more resilient food system in our region.

###

Media kit with high resolution images is available for download

Image Captions
1. Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, A land trust serving the towns of Bowdoin, Brunswick, and Topsham, Maine

2. Angela Twitchell, Executive Director of Brunswick Topsham-Land Trust

3. Angela Twitchell, Executive Director of Brunswick Topsham Land Trust, Gail Kezer, staff member at Senator Angus King’s office and former member of the Brunswick School Board, and Carrie Kinne, Executive Director of Kennebec Estuary Land Trust discuss financing obstacles between sessions

4. Joe Grady of Two Coves Farm in Harpswell talks as Esther Palmer, board member of Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, and Maina Handmaker, the manger of the new year round indoor farmers’ market in Brunswick look on

5. Angela Twitchell, Executive Director of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust talks to the local leaders about resources in the community

6. Steve Sinisi, of Old Crow Ranch, discusses financing and capital opportunities he found available to his business

7. David Asmussen, of Blue Bell Farm, co-leads a session with Abby Sadauckas of the Maine Organic Growers and Farmers Association

8. Abby Sadauckas of the Maine Organic Growers and Farmers Association leads a financing discussion aimed at local agriculture

9. David Asmussen, of Blue Bell Farm, discusses financial hurdles that face local agriculture

Dramatic loss of wetlands prompts vital $16.5m in federal funding

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Success in Mid Coast’s Middle Bay
Dramatic loss of wetlands prompts vital $16.5m in federal funding
Strong memberships and a $1m grant from the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program key to success in protecting cherished waterfowl habitat, coastline, and island.

Contact: Peter Greeno, Director of Development, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust; 207-729-7694; peter@btlt.org

Media Kit: Download ZIP with High Resolution Photos
Release Only: Download PDF

Harpswell and Brunswick, Maine – January 24, 2014

A new study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service identifies a net annual loss of 80,160 acres of coastal wetlands across the country.

Earlier today U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Jewell announced $16.5 million in grants to conserve these magnificent habitats, including $1 million in funding for Mid Coast Maine’s Middle Bay.

The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, and Maine Coast Heritage Land Trust have joined in collaboration under their Middle Bay Wetlands Partnership to protect some of the region’s most valuable coastal wetlands.

The $1 million grant comes from the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program, which is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Additional funding comes from the Maine Natural Resource Conservation Fund and from the local membership support within the three land trusts.

Middle Bay, located between Harpswell Neck and Mere Point, is a focus area because of its productive wildlife habitat for birds, shellfish, and other plants and animals.

Land conservation projects protect water quality, which benefits fishing, clamming, and other marine industries.

The grants ensure that cherished open spaces in Brunswick and Harpswell will forever remain undeveloped, a goal that the owners of the property in Harpswell have had for generations.

“My grandfather spoke often of never wanting to see Liberty Farm developed, and our family feels very fortunate that we are able to honor his wishes and preserve access to this special place for future generations.”

– Eini Lowell, a member of the family who preserved their land with the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust

Harpswell Heritage Land Trust will buy almost 14 acres from the Lowell family off Harpswell Neck Road near the Harpswell-Brunswick town line.

The property is largely forested and it includes more than 1,600 feet of shoreline, which conserves 26.5 acres of marine wetlands. It will be open to the public.

The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust will acquire a conservation easement on approximately 19 acres of fields that offer an expansive view of the upper reaches of Middle Bay Cove.

“Our members, along with the foresight of the Skolfield family, are making a tremendous contribution to our community in Brunswick. The property that will be protected has a rich history that will be told for many generations.”

– Angela Twitchell, Executive Director of Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust

Both conservation projects protect the water quality, coastal marshes, mud flats, and eel grass beds of Middle Bay.

These properties contain valuable habitat for a variety of plants and animals, including shorebirds, bald eagles, blue mussels, quahogs, soft shell clams, and horseshoe crabs.

This is the second project undertaken by the Middle Bay Wetlands Partnership.

In 2013, funding from the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program allowed Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, with help from the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, to purchase part of White Island in Middle Bay.

Though just 16 acres in size, the property conserves 47 acres of mudflats and eel grass beds.

###

Related

The Forecaster: $1M grant aids conservation project in Harpswell and Brunswick

Portland Press Herald: Midcoast conservation effort’s funding totals $1.5 million

Bangor Daily News: Federal grant provides $1 million to conserve Middle Bay wetlands in Harpswell and Brunswick

Media kit with images

Secretary Jewell, Director Ashe Announce $16.5 Million in Grants to Conserve Coastal Wetlands

Status and Trends of Wetlands in the Coastal Watersheds of the Conterminous United States 2004 to 2009