Coastal Enterprise Inc. Employees volunteer at BTLT

THANK YOU to Coastal Enterprises Inc (CEI) for all the hard work they did for us yesterday afternoon! Their volunteers cleared invasives, picked up trash, harvested carrots, cleared some giant sunflowers from the community garden, and planted native plants for next spring’s plant sale.

 

BTLT is Hiring – Communications and Outreach Assistant

Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (BTLT) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening our community through conservation. We steward more than 2,500 protected acres and offer a diverse array of community programs, including 17 miles of trail, a community garden, farmers’ market, labyrinth, and dozens of events each year.

Our team is dedicated to and passionate about our mission and see working for the Land Trust as not just a job but a way to make a real difference in the world. Our programs, partnerships, and outreach efforts have grown significantly over the past few years, and we are looking for a team member to help us better share with our community the story of our work and its impact. We are looking for a creative, motivated, and multi-talented communications professional with strong skills across all digital and print/design platforms to tell our story, strengthen our brand, and build support for our mission and programs.

Position Overview

The Communications and Outreach Assistant will refine, implement, and coordinate all aspects of our digital and print communications and messaging. This person will work under the direct supervision of the Executive Director and in close coordination with the Outreach and Education Coordinator. It is critical that this person be able to develop familiarity with our programs, strategic initiatives, and land projects, transform that knowledge into exciting and useful messages, and then disseminate the messages to the right audiences through the best distribution channels.

Qualifications

The successful candidate will possess the creativity, expertise, and confidence to upgrade our existing materials, as well as offer new ideas and positively implement them. The candidate should be organized, adaptable, and flexible; be able to manage multiple projects and deadlines at once; and have the ability to implement new procedures and processes. In addition, he or she should be able to assimilate the ideas of various people (board, staff, volunteers) into strategic, effective communications.

Required:

  • At least two years’ experience in communications and/or marketing
  • Excellent writing, editing, and verbal communication skills
  • Experience with website management
  • Experience developing and implementing communications strategies
  • A strong track record as an implementer who thrives on managing a variety of projects concurrently
  • Proficiency with Google Analytics, Microsoft Office, WordPress, MailChimp (or other email marketing program), and social media
  • The ability to work both independently and collaboratively
  • A sincere commitment to the mission of BTLT

~ Preferred

  • A degree in communications, marketing, new media, or related field
  • Experience working with nonprofits and conservation organizations
  • IT skills
  • Familiarity with developing branding principles and donor communications
  • Experience with Adobe Suite, photography, graphic design, video editing, print-job management, and/or blogging
  • Experience in marketing and promotion
  • Experience managing volunteers
  • Knowledge of project management
  • Experience or interest in planning and managing events

Responsibilities

The primary responsibility of this position is to produce and maintain all of BTLT’s print and web materials, including its website, blog content, social media, e-news, donor letters, press releases, event fliers, brochures, and newsletters. The Communications and Outreach Assistant will work with other staff, volunteers, community partners, board members, and contract designers and printers to develop communications strategies and produce and review communications materials including but not limited to annual solicitation letters, biannual newsletters, monthly e-newletters, and promotion of events and programs. He or she will keep abreast of the latest news internal and external to the organization and update content as necessary, oversee and develop press relationships, and manage media lists and contacts, and work with the Communications Working Group to establish BTLT branding and design guidelines

 Compensation

This is a part-time (20h/wk), year-round position that is eligible for benefits, including a flexible schedule, retirement contribution, and paid vacation, sick time, and holidays. Compensation is competitive and commensurate with experience.

DEADLINE: November 30, 2017

To apply, please email a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to lee@btlt.org with Communications and Outreach Assistant as the subject line. In the interest of reducing waste, please do not mail a hard copy of your materials. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply ASAP. No phone calls, please. Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust is an Equal Opportunity Employer and values diversity in the workplace.

 

Pizza with a Purpose – All Month

We are very excited to announce a great fall fundraiser with the Land Trust’s Business Partner, Portland Pie Company.

Print and bring THIS VOUCHER into the restaurant in Brunswick, and Portland Pie Company will donate 10% of your guest check back to the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust.

(You must provide a print copy of the voucher. Only accepted at the Brunswick Portland Pie location. Valid November 1 – November 30)

What a great way to have a good meal and support community conservation at the same time!

PLUS on November 30, all day long Portland Pie will donate $1 for every pizza, Maine Beer Company beer, and kamasouptra soup purchased.

Jewelweed Forest

That’s what my girls named a stretch of the Town Landing Trail descending from Elm Street in Topsham down to the Androscoggin River – Jewelweed Forest.  We had had a drizzly evening before our hike, so the plants were moist and dewy as we brushed through them and the bright jewelweed blossoms stood out under a gray sky. They were just about as tall as my girls, making it seem like a forest just their size.

There are few quiet riverfront places in Brunswick and Topsham, and this short trail culminating in lovely views was a nice discovery.

The trail starts at Elm Street and descends quickly into soft grasses and then opens out along the river for a short stretch. It was a treat to look across the river back towards Brunswick’s Pinette Park, where we’ve often played in the field before or after a trip on the bike path. We remembered sledding down the hill and watching ice fishermen, though at this time of year people were wading out in the water to fly fish.

On our way back through Jewelweed Forest I got to thinking about the variety of habitats along the BTLT trails (this trail belongs to the Town of Topsham, but the Land Trust played a pivotal role in designing and building it last summer). Last week, we’d been blueberry picking at Crystal Spring Farm (click HERE for more details on picking at the farm) and that reminded me of the edible and medicinal plants in many of these places.

Jewelweed is one of those plants that are quite useful – and pairs nicely with its adversary, poison ivy, which is often found in similar areas. I will say that we didn’t see any poison ivy on this hike, just to allay any worries. But, aside from having a striking orange flower that looks like a dragon and is much loved by humming birds, jewelweed can be used to relieve itchiness caused by the oils of poison ivy. You can simply crush the leaves and rub on the itchy places, or collect a bunch of jewelweed, blend it in a blender, strain, and rub the juice on the affected area, take a bath in it, or freeze it into ice cubes.**

The name “jewelweed” is because droplets of water bead up on the leaves, giving the appearance of tiny jewels. Another endearing feature of jewelweed is that in the early summer, the seed pods are great fun to pop open.

They are touch sensitive, so that if you touch the bottom of the ripe pods, or put one in the palm of your hand and poke it gently, it will burst open and the seeds will fly out – as seen in this VIDEO. This gives them their other name, touch-me-not.

So, all those pretty flowers along the trail aren’t just adding color and variety
to the landscape, but can serve practical uses and be lots of fun to play with!

By Susan Olcott

** Please use caution when trying any herbal remedy – seek expert advice on your ailment as well as the identification and preparation of all herbals, and keep in mind that each individual may have unique sensitivities that can make certain remedies inappropriate.

Chainsaw!

We’re happy to announce the the Land Trust is now the proud owner of a Stihl chainsaw, which was generously donated by business member Chad Little in Brunswick along with protective chaps and a helmet. The Land Trust is thrilled to put the chainsaw to good use, keeping our 17 miles of trails clear and safe.

Our Annual Meeting in the News: Where Land Conservation Meets the Sea

A great recent feature in the Coastal Journal about our upcoming Annual Meeting and the intersection of the wild ocean and where humans meet it from the shore.

Where Land Conservation Meets the Sea

Land Trust’s annual meeting considers their role in the working waterfront

Written by Susan Olcott

I was recently struck by how much land in Midcoast Maine is actually under water. Perhaps this was in part because we were trying to put our boat into the water and weren’t quite yet in the mode of watching the tides. Not wanting to make our two little girls trek the hundred yards or so back from our mooring or heave them through the mud ourselves, we waited out the tide a bit so we could make it in to the dock. It made me think of this mucky area more as land, dimpled with mud snails, clam holes and new sprouts of eelgrass, than as ocean. This is all part of the landscape of our town and can be considered right along with the shore-side lands that abut it. Of course, it isn’t that simple when for the majority of hours of the day, it is covered by water and is a strange mysterious place to most.

There are any number of activities going on in that intertidal area including people clamming, kayaking, kids playing in the mud, and any number of structures that are a part of it as well like floating oyster aquaculture cages, lobster buoys, or wharves. All of these things happen at the intersection of the wild ocean and where we humans meet it most of the time from the shore. The difficulty lies in how well we understand the resources there and how we figure out the best way to take care of them.

An unlikely-seeming partner is becoming more involved in this discussion. While you might think that the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (BTLT) would be focused on land, they are, in fact, stewards of a number of coastal properties. Their geographic range includes the towns of Brunswick, Topsham and Bowdoin and their total acreage of conservation areas is roughly 2,500 acres. So, the scope is large, as is their mission, which is essentially three fold – providing access for recreation, protecting and stewarding cherished landscapes and natural resources, and supporting local agriculture and other traditional land uses, which includes waterfront access for commercial purposes. Most people likely know BTLT’s role in the Saturday farmer’s market, but likely don’t know how they are helping local clammers as well.

One of their most recently acquired properties, Woodward Cove, is a perfect example of this. Located off Gurnet Road, the 18-acre site provides access for bloodworm harvesters and clammers to valuable mudflats in upper Woodward Cove. Executive Director Angela Twitchell noted that, “The land trust had been talking with the town and marine resources folks, trying to locate places in town that are historic access points for clammers and conserve them so clammers don’t lose access over time.” Through an unusual partnership between Maine Coast Heritage Trust, BTLT, and the Unitarian Universalist Church, which purchased the land after their downtown building burned in 2011, this coastal access point has now been protected for the long term. This is just one of several coastal properties that are protected by the stewardship of BTLT.

Given their dedication to coastal lands and water access, it makes sense that BTLT has entitled its upcoming annual meeting, “Coastal Conservation and Community Impact”. The meeting, which will be held on June 22nd at the Topsham Public Library, features Dan Devereaux, Brunswick Marine Resource Officer,

and Monique Coombs, Seafood Program Director at Maine Coast Fisherman’s Association (MCFA), both of whom will talk about the values and challenges of maintaining access to coastal resources and the role land conservation can play in maintaining a healthy working waterfront. The event is open to the public and designed to stimulate a discussion about the best way for the Land Trust to support coastal stewardship moving forward.

In any discussion of the management of coastal resources, it is critical to understand the connectivity between land and water and having BTLT involved in this discussion helps to bridge that gap. By hosting this presentation at their annual meeting, they have opened up a new dialogue between a non-profit, managers, and harvesters in order to determine solutions that achieve multiple goals and demands from our coastal areas.

Parking at Cathance River Nature Preserve

The status of Hiker Parking at Cathance River Nature Preserve remains in flux due to active development in the vicinity.  We will try to post updates as things change.

Please note that Ecology Center parking will be closed for paving at some points in the coming week (April 22-29), most likely on Tuesday.

Please respect roped off areas – cars will be towed by the contractor! No parking is allowed along the roads of Highland Green.

So what to do if you were hoping for a nice hike along the Cathance? We encourage you to use the parking at Head of Tide Park, which is plentiful and easy to access along the Cathance Road in Topsham.

Head of Tide Park is a just 1.4 mile hike from CRNP. From the Park, the Cathance River Trail (click for trailmap) snakes along the river and through its uplands, providing views of the pristine river and its undisturbed natural surroundings. The trail leads to the impressive 60-foot aluminum Clay Brook pedestrian bridge which was locally designed and fabricated and provides a trail connection to CRNP. Click HERE to read more about how this great trail connection was made possible.

Another option is to park at the golf clubhouse at Highland Green and walk on the sidewalk to trails. It is about half a mile to the golf cart path across from Sparrow Drive, which provides access to the Heath Trail. It is about ¾ mile to the trailhead at the Ecology Center.

Happy hiking!

Gulf of Maine King Tides

As the Earth’s climate changes in the coming decades, sea level rise is going to alter much of the coastline in our community.

Join hundreds of neighbors on the midcoast and beyond next Thursday, October 9 to document how the King Tide  gives us a glimpse into the future of rising sea levels in the Gulf of Maine.

King Tides refer to the highest tides that occur when the gravitational pull of the sun and moon reinforce each other. These tides, also known as perigean spring tides, occur when the moon is closest to the Earth.  The impact of these tides can be amplified by weather patterns and ocean conditions.

The Gulf of Maine Council – a Canadian-American regional partnerLabelship focusing on cross-border eco-system issues – is encouraging people to use their cameras or smart phones to document how the King Tide affects the 7500-mile Gulf of Maine. Participants in the Gulf of Maine King Tides Photo Contest can record how the astronomical high tide that day affects wharves, causeways, marshes, beaches and other coastal settings.

The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust encourages our community to document our local shoreline. Increasing our understanding of the future intertidal zone will help to build a stronger understanding of what areas are most important for conservation n order to support the long-term resiliency of our coastal ecosystems.

High tide will be around 2:00 pm that day. You can take part in this citizen science effort by getting out to photograph your favorite bit of shoreline, and enter your photos here: http://gulfofmaine.kingtides.net/add-your-photos/

Want to know more about the King Tides Gulf of Maine project? Visit:   http://gulfofmaine.kingtides.net/