End of Field Season Reflections

By Chas Van Damme, Regional Field Team Steward
I wanted a job that would give me a farmer’s tan. Along with a whole host of memories, mosquito bites, and what may be the beginning of some cheek wrinkles from smiling too much, my summer working as part of the Regional Field Team (RFT) gave me that farmer’s tan. It has been a phenomenal season working across properties managed by the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust (KELT), the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (BTLT), and the Phippsburg Land Trust (PLT). I’ve truly learned more than I could have ever imagined about the environment simply by working with and alongside it.
Over with KELT and PLT I had the privilege of lending a hand in trail clearing, bog bridge construction, and monitoring efforts across multiple properties. If you ever find yourself in Phippsburg be sure to check out the Sprague Pond Preserve, it is GORGEOUS! I had a blast working throughout the Kennebec Estuary and I am sure that I will find myself around there very soon.

Final Day monitoring Cow Island

With BTLT, in addition to a looong list of wonderful projects, I helped the stewardship team scout and construct a trail system at the newly acquired Androscoggin Woods property in Topsham. It was fascinating to see the construction of the trails from start to finish, particularly the many factors that need to be considered in the planning phase. In trail construction, we use signals from the environment and allow our surroundings to dictate our every move, but often forget how vital these messages are in our lives. For instance, natural features like the presence of sensitive fern, a tell-tale sign that an area is wet, ought to be acknowledged for a trail to remain sustainably intact. I see ourselves as being in a gentle tango with our environment, and from my very limited understanding of dance, I know that partners ought to work. As humans, we desperately need to listen to our partner in the natural world for its messages and act upon them accordingly.

All in all, it has been a phenomenal summer working in some of my favorite parts of Maine, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Thank you so much BTLT, KELT, and PLT!