August 15, 2018

This wretched weather is not only stressing our habitats, but also our schedules for various projects! Remember to slow down a bit and stay hydrated. Our next meeting is at 10 AM on September 19 at the Sanford Chamber of Commerce; as always, the public is invited. Here’s some brief descriptions of some happenings with us these past few months.

McKeon Reserve Meadow Project – Second graders from Lafayette School helped the Trust with the Meadow Project. In early spring, milkweed seeds were planted at Springvale Nurseries. After Nursery staff care, the flats of seedlings were planted early summer by those same students as the initial, kick-start of the project. 

United Way Day of Caring – As part of the Trust’s annual participation in this event, 16 folks from Pratt and Whitney converged upon the McKeon Reserve to work in the woods alongside some Directors. Five separate trails were cleared, making walking to the Reserve’s various places of special interest more inviting and allowing eroded areas to rest by using the detour of another new trail. Also, the Meadow Project was substantially progressed, and demolition material from an old building was cleaned up.

Alternate and Bridge Schools Projects – Students from these schools advanced their science classes by studying various species of birds, and their habitat and nesting requirements. After consultations with the Trust, nesting houses were built according to each species’ needs, the most ideal habitat was located within the McKeon Reserve, and the boxes placed to entice nesting. School teachers and aides were joined by Trust Directors in this project. 

York County Senior College –Affiliated with the University of Maine System, YCSC provides stimulating educational opportunities, and interactions with peers for York County adults 50 years of age or older. This spring, some Trust Directors lead a series of “Out in the Woods” walks for an energetic group of eight seniors, providing an opportunity to explore special natural areas in the Sanford area. Partnering with Great Works Regional Land Trust, six walking tours were held on trust and municipal park properties. 

Earth Day – Partnering with The Rotary Club, and local Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Cub Scouts, an Earth Day Tree Planting was held at the McKeon Reserve. A tree representing every Rotary member was planted to highlight the organization’s commitment to protecting the environment and curbing climate change. The Scouts, Leaders, and Trust Directors dug, planted, and watered the maple and oak trees at various optimal locations. 

Land Records – The grant for helping with the land records came to an end in June. Since our baseline survey of Star Landing, the rest of the required information is being collected and maps created. An initial survey of Boivin Way (The Rail Trail in Lebanon) has been completed. The detail involved is amazing. This will be a long term project to complete initial monitoring reports for each property, and an ongoing effort to complete yearly or bi-yearly updates. Four, second-hand fireproof file boxes have been procured, and one is installed at the Chamber.  The others will follow.

Fawcett- Goodwin Reserve – An email received from the Corporate Headquarters of Aroma Joe’s in Portland announced their desire to do some type of outdoor work; we had 36 hours to respond with a plan and materials for this generous offer. Directors were round up, gravel delivered, and trail maintenance tools assembled. Our target was the Fawcett-Goodwin Reserve. Four Aroma Joe’s employees in the morning and three in the afternoon worked with us spreading gravel for the parking area, relocating the sign to a more secure and visible location, and a trail of about 2/3 of a mile was roughed out and partially blazed. As we scouted for the best trail route we noted the boundary marking and surveyor’s tape which will help when we put together a baseline survey and monitor the tract.  

The New England Wildflower Society –  Two botanists who do field surveys for the organization wanted to survey some of the Atlantic white cedar swamps in the Sanford Ponds area on July 27th. ATV and 4-wheel damage was obvious, extensive, and widespread, as was the trash-dumping. Comparisons with previous visits indicated that red maple is replacing/dominating the Atlantic white cedar.  What can be done about this is not clear.

Website Update – New features have been added to liven up our website, and our webmaster has been generously sharing some of her expertise tutoring a director in the art of website publishing. The Trust is grateful for the time she had donated towards making the site more interesting, informative, and organized.

Fundraising – Thanks to the very generous donations from supportive benefactors we have reached our fundraising goal and made the final payment on the promissory note for the McKeon Reserve.  We are grateful to all those who contributed to this effort and you should feel proud of your part in conserving this special place!

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