As part of its community support and volunteering, the goal for Lowe’s 310,000 employees is to invest $350 million and 3 million volunteering volunteer hours by 2025. This goal came a small step closer to fruition recently as some dedicated Sanford Lowe’s employees showed up at the Mousam Way Land Trust’s McKeon Reserve in Springvale. Working alongside some Trust members for two comfortably cool, cloudy days, the joint community project began to take shape, as the construction of an ADA accessible outdoor restroom – or what we Mainers affectionately call a “privy”- began. Working from plans researched and sketched out by Dr. Bud Johnston, Trust President, several Lowe’s folks gathered materials generously donated from their store, loaded up the trucks, and made delivery to the Reserve.
The privy construction is part of a larger vision for the Reserve: The David and Linda Pence Community Ecology Center. Restoration of a barn will offer a place for meetings, workshops, and community functions. The adjacent field will house a community garden next summer, with help from the York County Master Gardener Program. The field will also support a nursery for growing seedlings of native plants and trees to a size suitable for transplanting to this and other reserves. A greenhouse is also planned for horticultural instruction, demonstrations, and plant propagation. The existing deep-water well will provide plenty of water for these functions. A self-guided Nature Discovery Trail system will be incorporated into the existing trail system, having several dozen stopping points with placards and kiosks, offering information about plant and animal species, and geological, ecological, environmental and historical features. Benches will be located at strategic points. The hub of the trail system is being restored into a multi-acre pollination meadow, with close to 1,000 plants of many species already planted. This trail system has tremendous four-season recreational potential. People will be able to visit each section of the system at different times, during different seasons, in this ever-changing and regenerative environment.
The McKeon Reserve contains 2 1/2 miles of trails, passing through a diversity of natural habitats supporting several critical species and unusual geologic formations. Efforts to enhance protection of rare species have already begun. The restoration of a trail head and parking area for the once popular western leg of the Sanford Rail Trail, now blocked by a recently built house, is also ongoing; this restoration provides a trail link to the Trust’s holdings around Deering Pond – an ancient bog pond, a mile and a half to the east. The scenic walk between the two areas is through one of the largest undeveloped blocks of land remaining in the city, and centered in a key Conservation Focus Area outlined in Sanford’s Comprehensive Plan.
(Reported in Sanford Journal Tribune, September 28, 2018)