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Volunteer of the Year 2017

Congratulations to Dr. Ellen Batchelder, who has been chosen as the 2017 SRLT volunteer of the year.

Ellen is a professor of cellular and molecular biology at Unity College.  She holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and has also trained in cellular studies in Massachusetts and France.

Academic achievements aside however, Ellen is our Volunteer of the Year award as a result of her reliability, stamina, and overall positive attitude as a member of the SRLT Stewardship committee.  Since joining the committee in 2016, Ellen has made trail days a priority, seldom missing a scheduled work day.  In addition to keeping trails clear, she brings insight to our meetings and planning sessions.
Thanks Ellen!

Nancy Zane’s Favorite Local Paddles

Wednesday, March 14 at 6:30pm

Nancy Zane’s love and passion for the back country was ignited as a young child. She grew up playing in the woods & waters of Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Since making Maine her home in 1983 she has spent all of her free time in either a boat, with skis on, on the rocks or in the mountains.

Professionally, she has been an outdoor educator and guide since the mid-1980’s  and has worked with groups from 6 – 66. Recently, she founded North Star Adventures, which is a culmination of skills and experience.  she also works part time at the Waldo /county Technical Center teaching Emergency Medicine.

The programs are open to the public. A $5.00 donation is suggested. They take place on the second Wednesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at 93 Main Coffee Shop, 93 Main St., Unity. For more information, please contact or 948-3766.

A Local Conservation Context for Wood Turtles

Thank you Greg LeClair

The Wood Turtle is a beautiful, medium-sized turtle native to the Northeastern United States. The turtle can be found in or near Maine’s slow moving streams and rivers eating invertebrates and vegetation, but it currently appears to be declining throughout its range. Federal and state agencies are working hard to determine whether or not the turtle deserves to be listed as endangered – is this really the case? Since 2015, Unity College students and professors have been tackling this question. Through field surveys, population viability analyses, and habitat assessments, a picture is slowly starting to develop as we gain a clearer understanding in our own local area.

Saturday Morning Ski and Snowshoe



“Unity’s Birds – Enjoy Them Year-Round.”

Unity Christmas Bird Count 2017

The 21th annual Unity Christmas Bird Count (CBC) was held on Saturday, December 16. The weather was a gift for mid-December with sunny conditions and relatively balmy temperatures. Winds were mild out of the northwest. Early morning temperature recordings ranged from four to sixteen degrees, then rose up into the high twenties by afternoon. Nearly all water bodies were frozen, although the east side of Unity Pond had open water far out from shore.

Thirteen parties got into the field to search for birds, although most groups counted for less than half the day. Only two parties briefly looked and listened for owls in the pre-dawn hours. Thirty-three observers contributed to count totals either by getting into the field or recording birds at their feeders. Field participation was higher than average, but feeder watchers were down this year. The final accounting of birds amounted to 45 species, with 3808 individual birds tallied. In addition, four additional species were found during count week which were not recorded on the count day. Bird species, total birds, and count participants numbers were nearly average for recent years.

The Sebasticook Regional Land Trust (SRLT) continued to act as the local sponsor for the count. Thanks to the hospitality of Jean Bourg, we gathered after the count at 93 Main St. to share stories over pizza and beverages. Several first-timers mingled with long-time veterans to report bird sightings and rewarding experiences that were enjoyed during the day.

Two new bird species for the count were observed. The first Unity CBC confirmed Winter Wren was found at Carlton Pond while the observers were counting a group of bluebirds and robins. Soon afterwards, the same team found a lingering Ruby-crowned Kinglet just south of that site in Troy. Other highlights included only the second time that Chipping Sparrow and Lesser Black-backed Gull were tallied on count day. Two Rusty Blackbird, nine Horned Lark and two Northern Saw-whet Owl were also notable sightings. The junco and Bald Eagle counts more than doubled last year’s record highs. The latter is due mostly to the increasing number that scavenge salmon skins at Kinney’s compost. A record low count was established for chickadees, which quantified anecdotal observations regarding lower numbers of birds using feeders this fall. Winter finch numbers were only notable by their absence. Otherwise, individual numbers of most species were unremarkable.

Mammals recorded incidentally on the count included a high number of gray squirrels.

Thanks to all who participated. Our data contributes to the North American database for National Audubon Society’s CBC which is now in its 118th year. Hopefully next year the will be even more fun.




Report on Masse Dam Event

From the Alewife Restoration Initiative:

On Saturday Nov. 11, ARI sponsored a public open house to show off the site of the recently removed Masse Dam in Vassalboro and discuss the project, and answer questions. Despite the bitter cold it attracted about 40 interested people, a cross-section of local citizens, and others from the area, including one of our donors, Jim McDougal and representatives from the China Lake Association.  Landis Hudson of Maine Rivers was the chief spokesperson along with Nate Gray of Maine DMR.  SRLT  was  represented by Dan Hill, and Brandon Kulik. Dan spoke about our role in monitoring and managing invasive species; Brandon said a few words about SRLT’s mission and how this project fits in with that, and discussed  stream channel and habitat dynamics after a dam removal.  There were many good questions from those in attendance and largely very positive reaction from the community.

Frank Richards took the attached photographs (left to right: Dan, Landis, Matt Streeter (PM for the restoration work), Brandon Kulik, and Nate Gray.

“Monitoring Maine’s Great Blue Herons Across State and International Borders”

Thank you Danielle D’Auria for a wonderful talk and thank you all for a full house.

Danielle D’Auria is a wildlife biologist who works in the Bird Group of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. She focuses on understanding statewide populations of colonial wading birds, secretive marsh birds, black terns, loons, and other rare water birds. Since 2009, she has spent a majority of her time researching why great blue herons have undergone a decline along Maine’s coast.


A Pleasant And Scholarly Paddle On Pleasant Lake

“A person could write an entire dissertation on the variety of pondweeds in Pleasant Lake,”

Mark Whiting

 We were a flotilla of nine boats on Pleasant Lake in Stetson.  It was a gorgeous summer day and Mark, a former DEP staffer and active Maine VLMP volunteer, guided the group of novice aquatic plant patrollers. The event was organized by Sebasticook Regional Land Trust (SRLT) and Maine VLMP provided aquatic scopes and materials.

We made our way along the shoreline to a picnic area located on Pleasant Lake Preserve, an SRLT property, for lunch.  Afterwards, we examined our hoard of aquatic plant  samples, which were spread out  on white trays placed on the picnic table.  Besides many pondweed species, the usual suspects of native carnivorous bladderwort and common waterweed were identified. By the end of the day, participants were able to distinquish between the different plant groups and had learned key distinctions of invasive plants. Dissertations on pondweeds may follow. 🙂

Work Day Sunday – Masse Dam

A job well  done at the Masse dam site 

The work is part of the Alewife Restoration Initiative collaborative project with Maine Rivers.

SRLT is Looking for Volunteers!

Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Sebasticook Regional Land Trust.

crewThere is a role for everyone, from working with children to leading excursions to serving on a committee… and much more!  Whether you can give us several hours a week or a few hours a year, we need your help.  Please take a couple of minutes to download the SRLT Volunteer Interest Form  below and return it to mail (P.O. Box 184, Unity, ME 04988).

 SRLT Volunteer Interest Form