CREA Corner: July

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.

For over 20 years, CREA has been using the natural world to captivate people of all ages from our base at the Ecology Center, located at Cathance River Nature Preserve in Topsham. We provide hands-on learning experiences for school classes, run a nature immersion summer camp (full to bursting this year), and host speakers, guided nature walks, and community events for the public. 

A favorite speaker of 2022 (based on the 250 people who registered for his talk and 600 people who’ve since watched the recording) was Doug Tallamy, who explained the importance of insects, their key role in supporting other creatures we love — like birds, and the critical need for more native plants to support the charismatic megafauna (e.g.…birds) we want in our landscapes. You can watch that talk or read a summary of it here.

Read below to learn more about CREA’s exciting, and busy, summer happenings!

Inside the Ecology Center

Ecology Center: CREA’s Ecology Center is open to the public on Sundays from 12–2, weather permitting. There, you’ll find Maine mammal and bird mounts, a cool mineral display, scavenger hunts, ideas for outdoor children’s activities you can take home, and more. Walk to the river after your visit and read the Storywalk along the way! 

Firefly Mysteries: On June 27, we learned that the firefly dating scene is fraught with danger and intrigue. If you missed firefly enthusiast and expert Don Salvatore’s virtual presentation, you can read some highlights here and access a recording of his presentation. There is a whole lot more going on in a firefly meadow than you could imagine. If you thought the human dating scene was complicated, check this out!

CREA Explorers undeterred by the rain!

CREA Summer Camp: Our CREA camp is underway! Check out the Instagram page for great pics of what our campers are up to. For eight weeks, youngsters explore and learn about the plants and animals of the Preserve, catch frogs and bugs, make crafts, eat lunch by the river, and generally get dirty having a great time guided by our wonderful team of counselors. Our 14-16 year-old Counselors-in-Training (CIT) get daily leadership training that helps them learn to be confident, positive role models.

It’s Holly’s first time in Maine and she wants to learn everything she can about this wonderful place before she heads back to Montreal this fall.

Summer Intern: We are grateful to have the assistance of our Environmental Education intern, Holly Beato, this summer, sponsored by John Wasileski. Holly is a student at McGill University studying Sustainability, Science, and Society. She is just back from a semester of field study in East Africa!

Holly will be spending her internship working on mapping projects, helping with communications, creating educational aids for programs, researching potential speakers, exploring grant opportunities, crunching data, helping out at the community garden and farmers’ market, and a whole lot more!