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Guided Walk & Holiday Forage at Crystal Spring Farm – CANCELLED

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  • November 29, 2020
    1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Join Stewardship Manager Margaret Gerber for a guided walk of Crystal Spring Farm (North) to forage for items from nature, such as red berry and evergreen tips, to decorate your home leading into winter.  Margaret will talk about what materials make a charming holiday wreath and a bit about the history of forestry on CSF; answer questions about how land trusts work to conserve land, provide (more…)

Collaboratory Drop-In

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  • December 6, 2018
    1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Join us at the Curtis Memorial Library to enjoy the Local Bounty Collaboratory. Drop in to our office hours where we’ll answer questions about the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and Crystal Spring Farm. Local Bounty celebrates the importance of local food to our community: its historic impact, its continued need, and our access hurdles. Come join (more…)

BTLT in the News, “Brunswick solar array could be model for others in future”

“Brunswick solar array could be model for others in future”

October 18, 2018

On Wednesday, October 17, the key individuals involved in the Crystal Spring Farm Community Solar Project, representatives from the Town of Brunswick and ReVision Energy, as well as local politicians gathered to celebrate the project that provides about 100,000 kilowatt-hours of energy per year to Crystal Spring Farm plus seven other Brunswick families without access to solar electricity where they live.

Everyone enjoys a bright, sunny day, but for the folks at Crystal Spring Farm and their solar array, a little bit of sunshine is that much sweeter.

The 78.6-kilowatt photovoltaic solar energy installation has been online at the Brunswick farm for almost two years, producing, on average, 100,000 kilowatt-hours of clean energy every year, according to Steve Weems, one of the project’s leaders.

Along with other community members, Crystal Spring Farm and the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust, which owns the land the farm is on, partnered with ReVision Energy to establish a net metering agreement in which each participant gets a kWh credit on their electric bill each month. Crystal Spring Farm owns 44 percent of the share, and the other eight participants split the remainder.

Weems; farm owner Seth Kroeck; Angela Twitchell, executive director of the BTLT; and some of the participating families and local politicians gathered at the solar array Wednesday evening for a small celebration marking two years of solar power in the community.

The project supports not only clean energy, Weems said, but also local, community-based agriculture.

When the conversation concerning a solar array first began, Kroeck said there was initial worry from the community that the array, which covers a half acre of pasture, would be too “ugly.”

However, he argued that people should shift their perceptions of beauty. Gesturing to the silo behind him, he said that while the silo was perhaps not a particularly attractive building, it is what people think of when they think of a farm. This, too, should be the case with the array, he said, adding that “it’s part of the iconography of a modern farm.”

Click here to read the full article.

BTLT in the News, “These little doggies will not be going to market”

“These little doggies will not be going to market”

September 9, 2018

Mary Pols wrote a well-balanced piece featured in The Source on Sunday, September 9 on the new dog policy at the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust Farmers’ Market at Crystal Spring Farm.

One Monday morning this summer, Jacqui Koopman, the manager of the wildly popular Saturday morning market at Crystal Spring Farm, walked into her office and announced she’d had it.

Maybe it was the pooping that pushed her over the edge. Possibly the peeing. Lunging and snarling were also a problem.

“We have got to have a dog policy,” Koopman says she told her colleagues at the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, which runs the seasonal outdoor market. From her official vantage point at the market, standing behind a table in the middle of a rectangle of booths manned by oyster and vegetable farmers, cheesemakers, spice merchants, coffee roasters and bakers, she’d seen every manner of bad behavior, both from the four-legged attendees who lifted their legs on everything from tablecloths to coolers to the booths, and from the humans at the other end of their leashes.

Just the week before, as the market drew to a close, she said a co-worker called her attention to “a giant pile of dog poop” left in the middle of the market. A paper bag was lying next to it, as if signaling a right intention undermined by the wrong material.

Starting October 6, all dogs but those belonging to vendors will be banned from the market at Crystal Spring, which according to the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets, is believed to be the first outdoor market of the approximately 120 in the state to say no to dogs.

“I am not aware of any that prohibit customers from bringing dogs,” said Hanne Tierney, the chair of the federation’s board, as well as the chairman of farmers markets in Portland and Waterville.

But there is certainly debate. Tierney said in an email that customer surveys show that people “feel strongly on both sides of the issue.”

In Brunswick, the issue has been discussed before. “For 19 years,” Angela Twitchell, the executive director of the land trust, said ruefully. “As long as the market has been there (at Crystal Spring).” They’ve tried signage, outlining the rules – including leashes and keeping your dog out of the vendors’ booths – and gentle in-person persuasion.

“We have talked to people about it,” Twitchell said. “We have had board members and volunteers at the market handing out little cards when we have seen misbehaving dogs and owners.”

But between dog “quarrels” as the land trust sweetly describes it, small children being scared by big dogs and the issue of defecation and urination – along with related food safety issues – the market, which is overseen by 19 board members, felt the tipping point was reached this summer.

“It was getting worse,” Twitchell said. “The board felt it was becoming a safety concern.”

To read the full story, click here.

GIS Mapping & Trail Markers

By Connor Rockett

One of the highlights of this past week was getting to work on GIS mapping. GIS is a program that helps design maps and incorporate a wide range of information into them. I worked with GPS data for a map of the Crystal Spring Farm trails and drafted a map of the upcoming Woodward Cove preserve. Since getting introduced to the program at the start of my internship in mid-June, I’ve started to get the hang of it little by little. Given the importance of GIS to environmental organizations, the experience I’ve gotten with it is useful for going further into this field of work.

I finished my week by eliminating old, faded trail markers at Cathance River Nature Preserve. Elimination blazing can take a lot out of you – between dealing with mosquitoes and scratching at tree bark, it takes some grit to push through it! If you get into a groove with it, your mind wanders off to think about whatever while you work – in that sense it can also be a relaxing task. What’s more, working outside in the beauty of the Maine summer is always uplifting.  Heading out of the trail system with sore arms and back, I was glad to have put in an honest day’s work and took my exhaustion as a good sign.

Over the course of the week, I again got to experience the variety of tasks involved in stewardship; on any given day, I might be working with mapping software or outside improving trails. Both types of work teach different skills and require different ways of solving problems that come up. All in all, I’m grateful to be spending my summer doing this diverse, varied work.

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