Annual Gathering of Land Stewards

On October 1st, thirty-five land stewards from all over Maine gathered in Harpswell for a chance to share ideas, problem solve together and learn from the significant expertise they represent as a group. The skies were gray but the rain held off and we spent the morning at the Austin Cary Forest. Most people are surprised to learn that Baxter State Park owns this property and operates it as a demonstration woodlot. Licensed professional forester Barrie Brusila led the tour and offered lots of insight about managing timber harvests, including harvests on conserved lands.

Then Nancy Olmstead of the Maine Natural Areas Program provided a demonstration of the iMap Invasives, a free web-based map and database that shows where invasive species are on Maine’s landscape. Anyone in Maine can use iMap for information about invasive plants and animals in our state, and registered users can enter information on invasive species and update it to track changes. It’s a great tool! and one we hope many land trusts will begin using regularly.

Finally, Matt Craig from Casco Bay Estuary Partnership gave a short overview of a culvert restoration project on the access road. Less than 12 months after completion of the new culvert there are already some very visible signs of recovery in the adjacent estuary.

The group made their way back to the headquarters of Harpswell Heritage Land Trust for a short afternoon session where they got a quick lesson on entering invasive species data into the iMap database, and then had a lively discussion about the ins and outs of vegetation management in conservation easements. It’s a topic with no easy answers but hearing the various opinions and viewpoints of foresters, land trust stewards, and other participants helped highlight the fact that we can all learn from each other’s experience.

Thanks to all the stewards who took time out to attend the Stewardship Field Day, to Barrie Brusila, Nancy Olmstead, Matt Craig, and also to Harpswell Heritage Land Trust. See you next fall!