CREA Corner: August

Welcome to the CREA Corner! Most of you are aware that Cathance River Education Alliance (CREA) and BTLT merged effective July 1. Woohoo! We’re excited about the opportunities this union will open up and each month we’ll have a special blog post focused on CREA programs and events.

Go Native!

Twenty-five people learned what a spectacular, lawn-free landscape looks like at our garden tour events this summer. We toured the premises of Brunswick resident Sarah Cline who, following construction of her house five years ago, opted to surround it with native flowers and shrubs instead of grass. 

Today, Sarah has towering perennials and shrubs that supply continuous color throughout the warmer months. The plants also provide food and habitat for the all-important insects so essential to the birds and creatures that bring us such joy. Click on the links to learn why native plants are important and how to get started with rewilding a portion of your home, whether it’s a pot on your front steps or a small section of lawn.

The beauty of native plants is that in addition to their great looks and high ecological value, they don’t require improved soil or (once established) watering. The Maine-based Wild Seed Project is a great source of information about getting started with native plants!

Fall Speakers: Owls, Forests, & Biodiversity

We have wonderful speakers coming your way this fall. As big believers in the capacity of the natural world to teach, our ‘speakers’ will include live owls at the Topsham Public Library on the evening of September 26. Their handlers from the Center for Wildlife will help us understand the habits, diets, calls, ecological role, and more. Children are welcome! Registration not required – just show up.

In October, we’ll return to a virtual format with Karin Tilberg, Executive Director of the Forest Society of Maine, speaking about how Maine’s forests play a key role in mitigating climate change. In November, Nancy Olmstead, Conservation Ecologist with the Maine branch of The Nature Conservancy, will help us understand why biodiversity is important and its status in Maine. Registration for virtual speaker events opens 3-4 weeks before the event on our Events page. Links to attend will be emailed prior to the presentation.

CREA Camp: Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Mud, Oh My! 

We had eight very full weeks of camp this summer, providing a week of nature-based fun for 256 campers. CREA camp finished up on August 18th with (you guessed it) a rainy afternoon! Our intrepid campers, counselors, and counselors-in-training (CITs) were undeterred by the moisture this summer. And all that precipitation kept our rain barrels full! 

Campers spent their days building and racing boats, hunting for bugs and salamanders, hiking to Clay Brook for fun with mud, learning about mammals, creating puppet shows, making friends with painted turtles from our pond, playing Beckon and other group games, and much much more. Our new Hammock Haven was a big hit, giving youngsters a place to hang out (literally!) and rejuvenate for the next activity. The pictures tell the story.

“CREA Camp is hands down our favorite summer camp experience in the area. Both of my kids (one of whom was a new camper and pretty nervous) settled in immediately, came home thrilled and exhausted in the best way, and couldn’t wait to go back in the morning. For us, it is the opportunity to experience a really high quality outdoor, place-based program in such a fun way. And JUST the right balance between relaxed and structured- hard to find.” – ‘23 Camp Family