Category: Season’s Successes

As the weather and water get colder and many of our citizen science programs come to an end for the season, I start sifting through all the data we’ve collected over the summer months and reflecting on all we accomplished. Every year, I am filled with gratitude for our volunteers who labor in the name of protecting our lands and waters. I think it’s safe to say they do this out of love.

What else would drive these folks to plunge their hands into October-chilled sea water to take nitrogen samples? Or face down the occasional leech to wade – much less swim – in Biscay Pond to search for invasive plants? Or pick their way around patches of poison ivy to document shoreline erosion caused by increasing storm events? Or stare through a microscope for three or four hours at a stretch, as our phytoplankton monitoring volunteers do? (…)

Though our in-person event was not to be this year, we celebrated in style with an online event. One great benefit of the online format is that we have a recording for those who missed it!

Board President Joel Russ and Treasurer Bob Barkalow offer some brief remarks, followed by a slideshow presentation by Executive Director Steven Hufnagel. Hear about highlights from the past year and a half as well as projects we’re working on right now.

Fifth and sixth graders at South Bristol School (SBS) enjoyed a different kind of learning experience the week of September 18. Along with their teachers and Education Director Sarah Gladu, they commuted to school on Witch Island every morning in two small boats.

The Island Program takes place every other year, and offers an unforgettable opportunity for students to experience place-based learning right in their backyard, while tapping into Coastal Rivers’ expertise in nature education. Each day, the students participated in all the same subjects they normally would, but delivered and experienced in a different way.

Wooden bridges have a limited lifespan, especially when they are in reach of high tides and storm surge. The old creek crossing at the bottom of the Fox Run trail at Salt Bay Farm, much loved by summer campers and school groups as a good spot to search for critters in the creek, had served its purpose for a number of years. However, the wood was beginning to rot and had a tendency to be displaced by high water.

It’s not often we get to share the news about a new trail! This summer, after extensive preparation, Trail Tamers volunteers and Coastal Rivers staff began cutting a trail at Keyes Woods Preserve in Bristol.

Conservation at a meaningful scale Earlier this spring, Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust completed the purchase of a 165-acre property on the west side of River Road in Edgecomb, a short distance south of Dodge Point. The expansive wooded parcel features a grown-over field and orchard bounded by rock walls, lush wetlands, at least one vernal pool, and a blueberry barren. It is also crisscrossed by streams draining both east into the Damariscotta River and west into the Sheepscot, making the property a point of connection between the two watersheds and buffering water quality in both. Coastal Rivers is particularly excited …

River~Link corridor expanded in Edgecomb Read More »

Thanks to the generosity of John Hall and Paula Crook, Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust recently acquired nearly 10 acres in Bristol. John and Paula donated one portion of the land and sold another to Coastal Rivers at a bargain sale (significantly less than market value), leaving only a small amount for Coastal Rivers to fundraise for.

The new preserve adds to the 140 acres already conserved in and around the popular La Verna Preserve.

Funding from three project partners in the past two weeks has brought Coastal Rivers close to the finish line in our campaign to permanently conserve Chapman Field and Forest, a 32-acre parcel in Damariscotta. Adjacent to Coastal Rivers’ 115-acre Salt Bay Farm property on Belvedere Road, the property includes forest, wetland, and a significant amount of farmland with excellent soils.

Coastal Rivers’ Wabanaki program has been a fixture for schools all over Maine for many years. Every October, busloads of schoolkids spend one or more days at Salt Bay Farm learning about Wabanaki material culture from a Wabanaki educator – listening to traditional stories, playing Wabanaki games, tasting wild edibles, etching birch bark, and helping to build a wigwam.

Teachers place a high value on this unique program that offers an immersive experience like no other.

But how to make it available to schools during a pandemic?

Coastal Rivers is working toward a goal of achieving carbon neutrality within the next 5 years. A major step toward this goal was to install energy-efficient heat pumps to heat and cool the renovated Denny Conservation & Education Center at Round Top Farm. The next step is to power those heat pumps – and the bulk of our electrical needs overall – with solar-generated energy. Joining with Kieve-Wavus in a Power Purchase Agreement has moved us closer to that goal.