Tyler and Clea Take Maine

  • Tyler's Blog, August 3

    This past week we had a variety of tasks including invasive surveys, invasive removal, trail maintenance, and putting up boundary signs. On Monday, we went out to Moulton’s Mill 1 in the morning to continue invasive surveys then constructed posters about Alewives and watersheds for Clea’s outreach events.

    We spent the next day weed-whacking the field section of the trail at the Kanokolus Bog Preserve and the boat launch at Moulton’s Mill. I stopped by the Fowler Bog Preserve on my way back to check for purple loosestrife around several small bodies of water near the road. Fortunately, there was only one small cluster of loosestrife around the three ponds.

    On Wednesday, we spent the day pulling up loosestrife on the edge of Buddy’s field and in the small area where it was found around the ponds in the Fowler Bog.

    We went back to Moulton’s Mill on Thursday and finally finished surveying the massive preserve. We also got to see a fox as we were walking through Buddy’s field in the morning.

    Normally, on Fridays we do field trips for half of the day and work for the other half. This Field-Trip-Friday was a little bit different this week because we spent the whole day canoeing down Twenty-five Mile Stream and putting up boundary signs to mark the edge of our Moulton’s Mill property. The water level was pretty low, which made the paddle take longer than expected because we kept getting stuck on rocks. Despite this we still had a really good time paddling. We saw plenty of wildlife including a beaver, several osprey, and several Great Blue Herons. Clea even took some videos on her phone that are available for your viewing pleasure on the SRLT Facebook page!

  • Tyler's Blog, July 27

    Last week we finally jumped into the invasive surveys at Moulton’s Mill. Dense thorn bushes and wood left over from logging by the previous owner made it difficult to walk transects through the 700+ acre property. However, the entire preserve is covered in perfectly ripe raspberries and blueberries that make traversing the maze of logs and thorn bushes significantly more pleasant. We spent three days walking transects, which put a significant dent in the surveying that needs to be done. We came across all sorts of wildlife during our surveying including snakes, frogs, deer, grouse and moose footprints.

     

    We took a break from working on invasive surveys on Wednesday for a trip out to Stetson to put the Pleasant Lake Preserve sign back up, do maintenance work on the trail, and weed-whack the grassy areas and the causeway.

     

    We finished up the workweek by pulling up a section of purple loosestrife and moving some SRLT signs around at the Richardson Memorial Preserve. We only have a short amount of time that we can pull up the loosestrife before it begins to seed and removal is less effective, so we are planning to take a look at several areas where we may want to pull some up next week.

     

    For this week’s Fieldtrip Friday we drove over to Benton to check out a new potential property. It was a 160-acre area of forest divided in parts by two bogs. All along our walk through the property we saw evidence of the presence of different larger mammals in the area and there was a noticeable lack of small woodland animals. This was quite different from the wooded areas back home in Eastern Massachusetts where it’s a bit more difficult to find a forest absent of squirrels and chipmunks. It was interesting for me to see what a forest looks like when there is a significant population of predators.

  • Clea's Blog, July 26

    You know it’s been a good week when you look back and your clothes are stained by raspberry juice.

    Tyler and I have been working on invasive plant surveys at the Moulton’s Mill Preserve in Unity this week, and there’s good news and bad news about what we found. Unfortunately, the property does have invasive non-native honeysuckle present in multiple locations. On the upside, honeysuckle seems to be having a hard time colonizing much of the open space on the property because it is so thickly covered with raspberry and low-bush blueberry plants!

    Our clothes are stained in part because when the going got particularly tough we paused for raspberry encouragement and in part because the bushes are so dense that at times just walking through coats you with prickles and a delicate raspberry smear. It’s clear that we aren’t the only ones enjoying the spread either, as we’ve seen tons of tracks and scat that makes us think moose and even bear might be in the area.

    Aside from surveys at Moulton’s Mill, this week we did trail work and put up a newly glossed sign at the Pleasant Lake Preserve in Stetson, pulled invasive purple loosestrife in Unity near Prairie Road Wetlands conservation easement, and continued to work on our upcoming presentations at the Annual Unity Festival (August 8th) and Tri-Town Science Fest in Pittsfield (August 1st).

    This week’s Field Trip Friday consisted of a visit to a prospective conservation property in Benton with a beautiful bog. Overall, this week we spent quite a bit of time outside, saw lots of wildlife (I’m paying so much more attention to birds now thanks to Tom!), and got our fair share of perfectly sun-ripened raspberries and blueberries. Pictures from this week in Tyler and Clea TAKING Maine are below. 

     

    Birch bark, Pleasant Lake Preserve, Stetson

    Gossamer web covered in dew, Pleasant Lake Preserve

    Frog on a log, Moulton’s Mill Preserve, Unity

    Moose track, Moulton’s Mill Preserve

    Forest at Pleasant Lake Preserve

    Somebody’s den

    View from the causeway at Pleasant Lake Preserve

  • Clea's Blog, July 20

    As you may have noticed from various pictures, Tyler and I typically wear “bug jackets” when working to help keep those pesky mosquitoes off our arms and face. While this does prevent us from bathing in DEET and significantly increases our happiness, we look pretty weird. Because the net has a head covering, hair from my ponytail consistently gets rubbed forward giving me a classic birds-nest-here look. When the netting is tilted just the wrong way in the light the jackets also make our faces too dark too see clearly, making us look like masked weed-eating woodsmen (see the earlier picture of Tyler for reference).

    These traits, along with the fact that we are usually carrying multiple tools or the weed-eater, combine to give us an odd appearance. This week while touching up the Connor Mill Trail one poor dog had the misfortune to stumble across us in full garb, and he was not happy. After a full-fledged bolt backwards that almost knocked his owner over, the dog, tail low with ears up, remained carefully tucked behind his owner’s knee. Only when I zipped off the head covering of my jacket did I earn a cautious sniff of the hand. To some humans and dogs, the bug jackets may seem unnecessary and a bit scary, but to us, they are heaven.

    This week we started by finishing the survey for invasives at Richardson Memorial Preserve, worked on creating a few maps of new properties and dam sites, and painting signs. We also finished the second draft of our grant proposal and touched up the Connor Mill Trail in anticipation of Trevanna Grenfell’s Foraging Walk.

    For our Field Trip Friday Tom Aversa (a board member) was kind enough to lead an awesome bird walk at the Richardson Memorial Preserve. Tyler and I have walked those fields extensively for the invasives surveys, but I have never seen so much. Thanks Tom. Thanks birds. A few pictures from the week are below.

    Tyler made a friend

    Lady bug on plant from the Thistle family, Richardson Memorial Preserve

    Milkweed, Richardson Memorial Preserve

    Morning dew on jewelweed

    Strange pattern on bark (insects? sapsucker?), Richardson Memorial Preserve

  • Tyler's Blog, July 20

    Clea and I began this past week by doing transect lines at the Richardson Memorial Preserve in Unity. Due to the size of the Richardson property and hopefully our improving surveying skills, we were able to complete this invasive survey in only two half-days, which is much less time than it took to survey the Albert J. Sousa Preserve and even the smaller of the two Moulton’s Mill Preserves.

    I was already fond of the fields in the preserve, but while walking in the woods I found another area that I like; it is a more open section of woods with knee high herbaceous plants where an old skidder road must have been. I’m not sure where SRLT will eventually put a trail in on the property, but I hope it goes past this area so other people are able to see and appreciate it.

    We were also able to finish writing our grant for the trail cameras and to finish painting the signs for the Connor Mill trail. We just began working on making posters and planning activities for two community events coming up. We made one poster about the basics of the water cycle and started constructing another about Alewives and their significance in an ecosystem.

    For Field-Trip-Friday this week we went back out to the Richardson Property for some early morning birding with SRLT board member Tom Aversa. I had never been bird watching before and I found it to be more engaging than I originally thought. It was definitely made more interesting by Tom’s ability to identify different types of birds and mimic their calls to draw them out towards us. Now I’m looking forward to identifying some of them by myself on the trails.

  • Tyler's Blog, July 13

    Last week was a busy one for the interns at SRLT. We started the week off by finishing the invasive surveying at Moulton’s Mill Preserve in Unity. We then began painting some new trail signs that we are hoping to put up this week and wrote up brochures for the Pleasant Lake Preserve in Stetson and the Freedom Forest Preserve.

    Clea mapped out new transects for our next invasive survey, which will be at the Richardson Memorial Preserve in Unity. I have only been to the Richardson Preserve once so far to put up some boundary posts and since then I’ve been looking forward to going back and seeing more of the property. Walking transect lines is a pretty good way to get to see the whole place.

    At the end of the week, we did some trail maintenance on the Connor Mill trail with the weed whacker in preparation for the Foraging Walk next Saturday (July 18) that will be led by Trevanna Grenfell.

    Our field trip this week was a paddle at Carlton Bog in Troy. It was nice to get out on the water for a change. We paddled through and around thick reeds and patches of lily pads and saw several black terns that were nesting in the area. I go kayaking relatively frequently, but I realized that I often go faster than I should if I want to really take in what is around me. Perhaps this is something I can work on over the course of the summer whenever I go out on the water.

  • Clea's Blog, July 13

    There’s something so satisfying about realizing you are finished with a task - like the first bite of golden, crunchy bread before you notice the crumbs all over your seat and the jam on your white shirt. Although nearly all of the work Tyler and I do at SRLT is ongoing in some way, the goals for our summer and our day to day tasks are broken up into bite-sized chunks that give us a feeling of progress.

    I recognize this progress every time I see someone using our trails and every time a passerby, curiosity piqued by our “we mean business” bug jackets, stops to ask about the property or the organization. By this point in our internships we are comfortable in our schedules/duties and can more clearly see some of the fruits of our labors in terms of clean trails and invasive plant surveys. The time is flying by, perhaps a little too fast. Stay with us Maine, we’re not done yet.

    Work this week was a myriad of small but important tasks. We started off by finishing the first round of invasives surveys at Moulton’s Mill Preserve, working on property brochures (for the kiosks), and beginning to paint new trail signs for Connor Mill. Later in the week we tussled with GIS to make transects for invasive surveys at the Richardson Memorial Preserve and did some touch up trail work at Connor Mill.The signs for Connor Mill are now nearly complete and looking gorgeous.

    For this Field Trip Friday we did a lovely paddle at Carlton Bog, saw some Black Terns, and successfully avoided having the borrowed canoe slide off the roof of my jeep. Good times. A few pictures from this week in Tyler and Clea TAKING Maine are below.

     Canada Lily at Connor Mill, Unity

    Tyler painting

    Spider weaving near the banks of Sandy Stream

    Ant colony underneath a log we moved

    Connor Mill shoreline

    Buttercups hanging over the water at Sandy Stream

    Red berries at Connor Mill

  • Tyler's Blog, July 6

    This week we worked on invasive surveys and trail maintenance as well as new SRLT brochures and a grant proposal. We finished our transects at the Albert J. Sousa Preserve in Burnham, began a new survey of the much larger Moulton’s Mill Preserve in Unity, and weed wacked the trail through the field in the Kanokolus Bog Preserve in Unity.

    We also finished work on a brochure for the Kanokolus Bog Preserve and began preparing to write up brochures for several other properties. In the process of writing this brochure, I learned new things about the history of the preserve and I am excited to learn more about our other properties.

    On Thursday, Clea and I wrote up a grant request for funding for game cameras to put on some of our lands. I think it will be really interesting to see what animals are out on our properties, and I think it would be great to get the cameras and put them up before my summer internship comes to a close.

    For this week’s edition of Field-Trip-Friday, Clea and I were able to tag along with the bear study research group at Unity College. Although neither of us got to see a bear and my ATV broke down about ten minutes in, I enjoyed seeing the different bear traps that they use and learning about bear behavior and bear research strategies. I was able to see some game cameras that they had set up for the bears and got to check out the pictures and videos they had taken that are similar to what we at SRLT hope to be looking at on our own cameras in the near future.

  • Clea's Blog, July 6

    At 6 AM on July 3rd I fell out of sleep and out of bed, wide awake for Bear Study. Our wise boss Jennifer has decided that every Friday will consist of a field trip to help us reconnect with the land we are working to conserve, and this Friday Tyler and I had the pleasure of tagging along with the Bear Study Project at Unity College.

    Before Bear Study, however, it was my turn to set out the office trash and our own trash for morning pick-up. I slipped on some flip-flops over my socks and clomped downstairs to find the bags. But I couldn’t. I knew Jennifer had set them out somewhere, but they weren’t inside, or in the basement. I took a quick peek in the alleyway and almost missed them sitting, neatly tied, by the fence. Phew.

    After setting them out on the street curb I realized that the office door had gently swung shut behind, with my keys inside. After a moment of “But how will I drive to Bear Study??!!” I decided to start trying windows. No go. My next option was Tyler’s keys, but as he wasn’t yet awake I simply borrowed them off the counter (if he didn’t want them borrowed he shouldn’t leave them there, after all). I dashed downstairs, grabbed my keys and was back upstairs just as Tyler was waking up. He glanced over, saw me holding keys, looked away, and looked back seconds after I tossed his keys back on the counter. Mission complete. And the best part? Tyler doesn’t read this blog so he’ll never know. Shhhhh.

    We did also do a fair amount of real work this week including completion of the Sousa invasives plots, progress on the Moulton’s Mills invasives plots, and a fresh weed-whacking at Kanokolus Bog Preserve. While in the office we finished up the first draft of a grant for trail cameras and the first of many brochures for our properties. Frogs, snakes, and bunnies were all seen - what a good week. Check out this week’s pictures (all from Moulton's Mill Preserve) from Tyler and Clea TAKING Maine.

  • Clea's Blog, June 29

    Tyler and I were walking in the woods at the Albert J. Sousa Preserve on the Sebasticook River in Burnham this past week, cheerfully looking for invasive plants, taking data, and debating whether or not we would want to be a train conductor (train tracks run through the property), when we came across a piece of litter. This was not the first piece of litter we had seen – the property has what appear to be several old house/cabin sites – but most litter is near a boundary line or the road.

    This item, however, was a light bulb, found in a densely forested section of the property far from any old cabin sites and far from a convenient location to dump trash. I came up with multiple scenarios in my head, all equally unlikely, as to how the light bulb came to rest in this location and wound up marveling at all the things we leave behind. And we leave behind a lot. Despite the fact that much of our legacy will be plastic trash and lost light bulbs, it warms my heart a little to know that some people leave behind land for the community. While this sentimental thought may not be exactly what’s running through the minds of all landowners as they transfer their properties to organizations like SRLT, their actions will create space for people to grow up as sentimental nature lovers just like me.

    *Side note: What should we leave behind? Dare you to write back and tell me. (llyhof@gmail.com)

    In terms of actual work this week, Tyler and I tackled some touchup weed-eating at Moulton’s Mill, invasives surveys at Sousa, and a bit of GIS work to plan for future invasive management. We also took an invasive plant walk with a few specialists and drove to Waldoboro for a meet-and-greet with other interns working in the region. Last but not least, on Friday we took a lovely tour of the dams that SRLT is working to remove as part of the Alewive Restoration Initiative. Tyler and I were finally sweating like it’s summer too, so not a bad week. Check out a few pics from our adventures below.

    Beavers at work at Sousa

    Beaver Bog at Sousa

    Sousa bee

    Leopard Frog at Sousa

    Fungi tree, Sousa

    Wood pecker holes, Sousa

    Vetch  in bloom, Sousa

    Sousa Forest