The CREA Ecology Center, located at the Cathance River Nature Preserve, is open every Sunday from 12-2 PM (except during heavy rains).

Curious about the current weather at the Preserve? The weather station provides accurate data for scientific studies at the Preserve and is a resource for campers, school visits, and recreational users. See things like current temperature, wind speed, pressure, precipitation, and solar radiation!

What you’ll find at the Center:

  • an array of native Maine mammals and birds on display,
  • a collection of Maine minerals and rocks,
  • an extensive library of field guides, nature books, and story books for all ages,
  • activities for youth of all ages to do on-site or to take home with you for another nature adventure,
  • snowshoes available in the winter months to loan during the Sunday open house hours to explore the Preserve trails. Youth and Adult sizes are available on a first-come, first-serve basis,
  • volunteers to guide you through our off-grid facility, provide trail maps and suggested hikes on the Preserve, and answer any questions you may have.

Please “leave no trace” of your visit! Stay on marked trails, pick up any trash, pack out everything you bring, return any logs or rocks to their original location, and please do not remove items from the Preserve.

Learn more about CREA’s beginnings and its relationship to the Preserve here.

During your visit, feel free to check out the features that make the Ecology Center so sustainable, some of which include:

  • Eight solar panels
  • Exterior solar thermal sheet for warming the interior
  • Chairs made of 100% recycled plastic and metal
  • Entrance ramp made of TREX wood (recycled plastic and wood)
  • Walls of American non-toxic clay plaster
  • LEED-certified cotton batt insulation (85% old blue jeans)
  • Wind turbine
  • LED lighting
  • Forest Sustainability Council (FSC)-certified wood
  • Biomass wood pellet stove (low emission)
  • Marvin Energy Star-certified windows

Location & Parking:

After you have entered Highland Green, stay straight for 1.5 miles. You will pass the golf club on your left. Stay on Evergreen Circle, the winding main village road of Highland Green, for approximately 1 more mile.

When you see Junco Drive on the left, the parking area for the Ecology Center and hiking is just ahead, on the left. Please park at a slight angle with the nose of your car toward the woods. The Ecology Center is not visible from the parking area. Do not drive down Rensenbrink Way – there is no parking at the Ecology Center, and the road is not plowed in winter.

To reach the Ecology Center or access the rest of the trail network, head down the stone stairs to the right of the kiosk and stone bench. At the bottom of the steps, head right on the dirt road (Rensenbrink Way) to reach the Ecology Center (approximately 2-3 minute walk).

We are grateful to the following donors who made this project a reality:

  • John Wasileski (Developer of Highland Green) who donated the frame of an antique 24′ x 36′ post and beam barn;
  • Harry C. Crooker and Sons Inc. of Topsham (site work);
  • Day’s Concrete of Monmouth (foundation); and
  • Hancock Lumber (building materials).

We are equally grateful to the following organizations that made construction of the Ecology Center possible with significant gifts:

  • State Farm Insurance
  • The Alfred M. Senter Fund
  • Davis Conservation Fund
  • Merrymeeting Bay Trust
  • Highland Green
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