The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust Saturday Farmers’ Market has officially returned home to Crystal Spring Farm! We had a fantastic first Saturday there last week and look forward to being there for the remainder of the season.
“All the vendors are really excited about the return back to Crystal Spring Farm!” shares Julia St. Clair, BTLT Agricultural Programs Coordinator. “Though the local businesses around the Landing these past few months have been generous and welcoming, we all much prefer to be surrounded by agricultural land. It contributes to the community-feel of the Market in a really positive way, helping everyone understand and value where their food comes from.”
BTLT is committed to continuing to support our local farmers and food system and proud of how much the Market has grown in popularity over the years. While we all share in the excitement of returning the Market to its home, the Land Trust recognizes that the Crystal Spring Farm site does pose some challenges. Hosting a market on a working farm, means that space is constrained by land that is in active agriculture.
“Everyone loves being in this beautiful setting,” said BTLT Associate Director, Lee Cataldo, “but forgets that the land around the market has been conserved for agricultural purposes, not more parking.”
She also noted that the Land Trust continues to explore possibilities to alleviate parking congestion but there are no easy answers. BTLT asks that all visitors are patient when seeking parking, and are careful of other drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists along the road.
The Land Trust also expressed their sincere gratitude to Flight Deck Brewing, Wild Oats Café, the REAL School, and TBW, LLC. These local businesses have been exceedingly generous in hosting the market (free of charge) in their shared parking area at Brunswick Landing since the summer of 2020.
The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust Saturday Farmers’ Market will continue to run at Crystal Spring Farm from 8:30am-12:30pm every Saturday for the remainder of the market season.
Join us for this year’s Spring Birding Extravaganza!
Join BTLT and our conservation neighbors again this year for the Spring Birding Extravaganza!
Birders of all ages and experience levels are invited to take part in the seventh annual Birding Extravaganza, a free series of birding events sponsored by four conservation organizations in Midcoast Maine. Merrymeeting Audubon (MMA), Kennebec Estuary Land Trust, Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, and Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust have collaborated to offer opportunities to watch for and learn about a wide range of birds, both seasonal migrants and permanent residents.
The series is a way to encourage community members to enjoy and learn about the our beautiful natural areas and introduces folks to all of the land trusts’ preserves and trails. The protected areas of the three land trusts cover thirteen towns in a region known as a global hotspot for migratory birds.
“The land trusts work hard to provide a variety of trails for the public to experience the natural wonder of our region. It’s thrilling to showcase these special outdoor places by birding with people of all ages,” said Carrie Kinne, Executive Director of the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust,
“The series gives the perfect excuse to visit and experience a new outdoor place not so far from home.”
“Every year this series is an absolute favorite with our community,” said Lee Cataldo, Outreach and Education Coordinator at Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust. “We truly love this partnership with the neighboring land trusts and MMA. It is such a great way to bring folks from all over the region to new trails and properties, and to get to see some of the amazing migratory birds that pass through the Midcoast.”
This year, we will offer Maine Bird Atlas training, a movie screening, bird walks throughout the area, and more! These walks are accessible to many, including outings for experienced and novice birders, families and those unable to walk great distances.
All events are free and open to the public. You can visit the websites of the four hosting organizations for more information on these terrific treks to observe our feathered friends.
List of Events:
Thursday, April 25th from 7pm: The Messenger film screening at Frontier in Brunswick
Freeport Wild Bird Supply and Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust will present this film screening of Su Rynard’s documentary exploring the beautiful world of songbirds, our connection to them, and their uncertain fate. Tickets may be purchased by clicking HERE.
Saturday, April 27th from 3 – 5pm: Maine Bird Atlas Training Workshop at Curtis Memorial Library’s Morrell Meeting Room
Join the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust for a workshop to develop your birdwatching skills to support The Maine Bird Atlas, an effort to survey and map the distribution and abundance of breeding and wintering birds in Maine. It is a project of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, in partnership with the Maine Natural History Observatory, Maine Audubon, the Biodiversity Research Institute, and the public. The project will run from 2018-2022 and will enable conservationists and researchers to assess changes in the distribution of birds species and populations around the state.
Sunday, May 5th at 7:30am: Bird walk at Brunswick Town Commons with Dale Dorr
Dale Dorr will lead a walk through the Brunswick Town Commons. Please join us for this early migration walk in Brunswick’s Town Commons with its mix of vernal pools, pitch pine stands and old field. This time in the season it is uncertain which species will have made the migration to mid coast Maine, but the Commons have had nesting hawk and owl families in the past and should produce a good mix of the hardier species of songbirds.
Thursday, May 16th at 7:30am: Bird walk at Crystal Spring Farm with Jan Pierson
Join expert birder Jan Pierson for a popular annual outing to Brunswick Topsham Land Trust’s Crystal Spring Farm in Brunswick. This walk is through a variety of habitats, including fields, forests, and wetland. We hope to see sparrows, Bluebirds, Bobolinks, and several species of warblers. Bring your binoculars, and meet at Crystal Spring Farm’s Farmers’ Market Green on Pleasant Hill Road in Brunswick.
Sunday, May 19th from 7 – 11:30am: Bird walk at the Brunswick Town Commons with Gordon Smith and John Berry
Information for Harpwell Heritage Land Trust and Kennebec Estuary Land Trust events may be found here:
By Susan Olcott
I loved the calm that followed the October wind storm – no sounds of machines or even music playing in our dark house, save for the whooshing of falling leaves – and only the flickers of candles to see by once the sun had set. I wanted more of the simplicity that being without electricity had provided. Our girls also felt a bit shortchanged when the power came back, bringing an end to unexpected family time spent playing board games by the fire and evenings carrying lanterns up to bed. It encouraged our family to focus on each other – my husband and I couldn’t work without the internet and many of our daily routines like bathing ourselves and washing clothes and dishes were suspended without hot water and the use of our electric machines. We were all truly present in the moment and it got me thinking of ways to replicate this in our daily lives.
Mindfulness is becoming a common term in more circles than just yoga studios. In school, even in first grade, our girls practice breathing techniques to calm down and focus their brains on the learning that they need to do. And, in a recent meeting of a nature playgroup that we are a part of, one of the mothers led a lesson on mindfulness in nature. Each child walked along a short stretch of trail by him or herself in silence. And us parents had a chance to stand quietly in the woods along the trail by ourselves as well. Rain dripped off of leaves, birds chirped, clouds moved – there was much to observe. Then we shared that one of the reasons we adults love to be outside is nature’s ability to settle our often-busy minds. In addition, the motion of walking keeps our bodies busy so that our minds can become calm. This is particularly true of children who can often focus better while in motion!
This led me back to the labyrinth. I had walked the labyrinth with my girls before – at events like its opening ceremony and the lantern-lit solstice walk, and several times in between. But, I wanted to do it again since they had been working on the practice of mindfulness. This time, as before, they silently walked back and forth. They looked carefully for the stones, many of which were covered in wet leaves. But, when they reached the center, they each picked a different bench and sat quietly. They continued to be silent even after I reached the center, not seeming overeager to see what might happen next and what I might have brought in my bag (which often contains goodies). After a few moments, I motioned them over to sit on either side of me and I was the first to break the silence – amazing! We shared some cider while we also shared the thoughts we had while walking. Lili daydreamed of tiny fairies that could bring back to life those we have lost in our lives; and Phoebe thought of how grateful she was to have food and a warm house to live in – serious stuff for six year olds! Phoebe reminded me that mindfulness included looking outward as well as inward, so we spent a few moments looking and listening. Lili noticed that the trees that had fallen made the woods look more interesting and Phoebe said the circle of trees around us reminded her of the circle of life (cue “The Lion King”).
On our way back out, I asked them to focus on what the labyrinth looks like – its shape and patterns, and told them that they would have to draw it when we got home. I told them they could draw what they thought of as the labyrinth but that it didn’t have to look like exactly like it. What they drew was full of whimsy and imagination both from their inside thoughts and from their natural observations.
This all took place in less than an hour but seemed to fuel us for the rest of the day as if we had smoothed out the squiggles in our brains by tracing them with our feet – well worth the time and I hope to do it again soon. And this year, more than ever, I look forward to the December solstice walk to trace the labyrinth’s patterns by the light of lanterns in celebration of the darkness.