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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.

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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/

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

Land Trust’s Community Garden Adds Hands-on Component to Gardening Series

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Sharpen your gardening skills

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

Full Media Kit: Download ZIP with High Resolution Photos
Release Only: Download PDF
For more information on workshops see: www.btlt.org/events

Whether you are a beginner or seasoned vegetable gardener, join the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust’s Tom Settlemire Community Garden for a free series of six vegetable gardening workshops this winter.

Brunswick, Maine – December 20, 2013. Get your hands dirty this winter as you learn from master gardeners during this year’s annual workshop series on vegetable gardening. The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust’s Tom Settlemire Community Garden has changed the format of their successful winter workshop series this year to include practical, hands-on training on how gardeners of all levels can improve their skills in 2014. The workshops will focus on organic gardening methods and will provide information about topics such as choosing plant varieties, starting seedlings, timing of planting, soil enrichment and mulching, gardening in small spaces, and controlling common pests and disease.

The first five of six workshops are free and open to the public.

Six workshops will be held on every-other Sunday in Brunswick between January 12 and March 23. The first 5 workshops in the series are offered at no cost, while the 6th workshop, featuring Master Preservers Allison Duffy and Kate McCarty, will raise funds that allow the Land Trust’s Community Garden to continue to provide these workshop series and other benefits to the community in future years.

“The overwhelming response to last year’s series indicated a real hunger in the community for access to gardening expertise. So we’re continuing the series this year and changing the content enough so it will be useful to newcomers and those who attended last year.” Angela Twitchell, Executive Director of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust

Throughout the workshop series, you will learn from master gardeners that can review your specific garden plan, and make individualized suggestions as to how you can produce more from your garden.

For a complete list of workshops, visit www.btlt.org/events.

If you want to get involved in the workshop series this year, visit www.btlt.org/events, contact the Land Trust at (207) 729-7694, or Linton Studdiford: (207) 798-5899, lintonstuddiford@gmail.com.

For full resolution images, download the media pack above

Key Parcel Added to Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust’s Cathance River Conservation Effort

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Key Parcel Added to Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust’s Cathance River Conservation Effort

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

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

Topsham, Maine – October 31, 2013 – For over 10 years, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust has been working with many partners to conserve a recreation-conservation corridor for the public’s use along one of our region’s hidden gems – the Cathance River. The Cathance River provides a very different riparian and recreational experience from the wide open Androscoggin River. It feels intimate and remote despite the relative proximity to busy neighborhoods and intersections, and includes everything from Class-4 rapids to gentle meanders along its 12 mile journey to Merrymeeting Bay.

The Flannery property, a 29-acre parcel on the western shore of the Cathance River’s tidal section, adds over 900 feet of shore frontage to the Cathance Conservation corridor. The property contains hemlock forest, oak, northern hardwoods, and a small but rare hardwood seep. It is valued by US Fish and Wildlife Service and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries for providing tidal waterfowl and wading bird habitat and a large block of undeveloped forest habitat. The property also reveals evidence of past human use, including multiple quarries and a large mining seam 25 feet deep and 200 feet long.

The Cathance River is critical area to conserve as it is one of six rivers that flow into Merrymeeting Bay, which, with the Lower Kennebec River, comprises the Kennebec Estuary, one of Maine’s most significant natural areas. The Kennebec Estuary is the second largest estuary on the east coast, containing 20 percent of Maine’s tidal marshes and providing critical habitat for a range of fish, waterfowl, and other species.

Merrymeeting Bay and its source rivers have sustained relatively limited development to date, making the estuary an excellent opportunity for conservation on a large scale. The Flannery property, surrounded by developed parcels, was a likely candidate for development. Thanks to the collaboration of the landowner and the Trust, it is now an important link in a chain of lands protected by the Land Trust and its partners in this priority conservation area. Our management vision for this property is to protect its important wetland and riparian habitat, allow for natural processes to take place, and to develop a trail system for passive recreation so the public can enjoy this lovely outdoor area.

The community is grateful to landowner Ann Flannery and Patty Olds for their generosity and vision in working with the Land Trust to conserve this important natural area. In addition, the Land Trust would like to thank Merrymeeting Bay Trust and the North American Wetland Conservation Act grant program for funding the acquisition of this property, as well as the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife for their partnership in making this project happen.

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New Bridge Has Local Roots

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust’s New Bridge has Local Roots

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

Join us for a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
When: Wednesday, October 16 @ 4:00pm
Where: 54 Beechwood Drive, Topsham, Maine

Full Media Kit: Download ZIP
Release Only: Download PDF

Topsham, Maine – October 11, 2013 – Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust is celebrating the installation of a new 60-foot long pedestrian bridge on its Cathance River trail system after three years of planning and fundraising. Clay Brook bridge, as it has come to be known, connects two existing trail networks and creates 7 miles of linked trails in Topsham (see map). It will link the established trail network at Cathance River Nature Preserve (CRNP) to new trails (the Cathance River Trail) that traverse several parcels of privately owned land protected by easement and eventually connect to Head of Tide Park (HOT Park).

The Land Trust has been working for more than a decade to conserve lands along the Cathance River, a natural gem that feels remote despite its proximity to community centers. The installation of Clay Brook bridge connects multiple conservation lands and expands the public’s opportunity to experience different sections of the river. The trail system will take hikers from fast moving, class 4 rapids along the Cathance River Nature Preserve to slower moving sections above Head of Tide, culminating in the spectacular 15 foot waterfall at Head of Tide Park.

The Clay Brook Bridge project was made possible through the generosity and hard work of many community partners and took a number of years to bring to fruition. The bridge also highlights the incredible local talent that is present in our community in the areas of engineering and design, metal fabrication, and stone and earth work. The bridge was designed pro bono through the generosity of Stantec and engineer, Rick Schultz; the aluminum bridge was fabricated by metal worker, Dennis Weeks, of Bowdoinham; the site work, bridge abutments, and bridge installation were completed by local Topsham business, Linkel Construction. Linkel Construction has significant experience constructing seawalls, abutments and supports for coastal piers and docks, fish ladders, retaining walls, and other projects. The bridge location and material were researched by the land trust’s stewardship committee in an effort being led by Land Trust Volunteer Trail Supervisor Gary Fogg of Topsham. An aluminum bridge was selected for longevity and minimal maintenance requirements. The Land Trust is indebted to the private landowners on both sides of the bridge who generously donated conservation easements that allow the public to enjoy this riparian area forever. The foresight and support of these generous landowners – Jim Howard, owner of Priority Group of Topsham, and Seacoast Management, owners of Highland Green – made the Cathance River Preserve and Cathance River Trail possible.

The Clay Brook Bridge project, which connects the Preserve with the Cathance River Trail, was funded through the generous support of the Merrymeeting Bay Trust, L.L. Bean’s Maine Land Trust Grant Program, Fields Pond Foundation, Jim Howard, and the Land Trust’s more than 1,000 members.

All of the individuals involved in the planning, design, construction, and installation of the bridge will be present at the tour to answer questions.

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Our 2013 Fall Newsletter is Here…(and it’s packed with great stories)

Our 2013 fall newsletter is hot off the press and headed your way. If you don’t normally receive a copy and would like one in the mail, contact us about membership. We would love to have you.

Download the PDF here: Newsletter Fall 2013

Some highlights in this issue:
Cathance River Conservation Efforts Adds Key Parcel
President Discusses Value of Partnerships
Record Crowd Attends Trust’s 28th Annual Meeting
Lee Cataldo is Welcome Addition to Land Trust Team
Powerful Benefits to Conserving Natural Lands
The True Weight of Membership
Recent Happenings
Crowds Enjoy Improvements at Farmers’ Market
TSCG’s Common Good Garden Sets New Irrigation System
Managing Trails for Everyone
First-Ever Prescribed Burn at CSF Revitalizes Natural Community
3rd Annual Farm to Farm Ultra Run is October 13
Summer Intern Gets it Done
In Memoriam: Jack Henshaw