Unity-based land trust unveils “Restoring Connections to Place” speaker series


“Restoring Connections to Place”

Sebasticook Regional Land Trust presents a monthly speaker series
on conservation topics of interest to Maine

UNITY, Maine — Sebasticook Regional Land Trust is launching a monthly speaker series, “Restoring Connections to Place,” regarding a wide variety of conservation topics of interest to Maine.

The programs, free and open to the public, are held at 6:30 p.m., the second Wednesday of every month, at the Sebasticook Regional Land Trust office, 93 Main St., Unity.

The series will kick off Wednesday, Sept. 14, with a book reading. Naturalist and author Dana Wilde of Troy will read from “Summer to Fall,” his recently published collection of excursions through Maine’s woods and fields during the “the most gorgeous weather in the world.” Inside these essays are the science and experience of what the world looks like when you turn a transparent eye to the energies bubbling up in the flora, fauna and summer starlight of backyard Maine. Wilde, a columnist and book reviewer for the MaineToday Media newspapers, will sign copies of his book after the reading.

Other speakers in the monthly “Restoring Connections to Place” speaker series:

Wednesday, Oct. 12.  “A River Unlike Any Other.” Eco-historian Kerry Hardy will present a program about the unique attributes of the Sebasticook River and watershed—its flora, fauna, Native American, and early Euro-American history—illustrated by photographs, old maps, and analysis of Indian place names. “The Sebasticook is ‘at angles,’ both literally and figuratively, with every other major river in the state,” says Hardy.  “It was also perhaps the best alewife nursery in America before industrialization. The combination of its fish, and its east-west flow, made it incredibly important to the Wabanaki people.” Hardy, author of the 2009 book Notes on a Lost Flute, specializes in examining the landscapes and languages of Dawnland, with an ecologist’s eye to how the whole bioregion functioned. His photographs, artwork, and anecdotes will touch on geology, biology, ecology, ethnology…and a few other “ologies” they haven’t yet come up with names for.

Wednesday, Nov. 9. Sebasticook Regional Land Trust Board Chairman Dylan Dillaway will speak on community conservation, which is an approach to conservation that works to develop healthy, whole communities and involve a broader spectrum of people on the land. Community conservation is a broad dialogue, where as many members of a community as possible are asked, “What do you need from your relationship to land, place and nature?”

Wednesday, Dec. 14. Amanda Mahaffey, the Northeast Region Director of the Forest Stewards Guild, will speak on forest stewardship. Caring for your woodland benefits your family, your land, and the human and ecological communities that call this landscape “home.” Through partnership-led programs such as Forestry for Maine Birds and Women in Our Woods, woodland owners can learn tools and strategies for forest stewardship. By caring for our land, we can create a legacy for future generations to enjoy.


Wednesday, Jan. 11. Jennifer Irving, Executive Director of Sebasticook Regional Land Trust, will speak on recent progress and upcoming plans for the Alewife Restoration Initiative.  A collaborative of local, state and federal partners, ARI seeks to reconnect China Lake to the ocean, providing free passage for adult river herring and other native migratory fish.

Wednesday, Feb. 8. “Rewilding: Transcending the Human/Nature Divide.” Susie O’Keeffe of Montville will speak about the rewilding movement, or the restoration of self-regulating land communities. Her talk will briefly introduce six areas of ecological research — extinction dynamics, island biogeography, metapopulation theory, natural disturbance ecology, top-down regulation by large carnivores, and landscape-scale ecological restoration. The presentation will then focus on how history, culture, and language shape our experience of wilderness and wildness. Susie is a Research Associate at the College of the Atlantic.

Wednesday, March 8. “Maine in Cold Blood.” Ever held a fascination for the scaly and slimy residents that call our forests, pastures and backyards home? Dr. Matthew Chatfield will lead us in an evening of fun as we explore Maine’s beautiful and reclusive reptiles and amphibians, incorporating museum specimens and colorful slides. Chatfield teaches ecology and conservation biology at Unity College and has a special interest in herpetology, the study of reptiles and amphibians.

Wednesday, April 12. The 47-mile Hills-to-Sea Trail is nearly complete with an expected opening of this spring. Join Buck O’Herin and Tom Mullin of the Waldo County Trails Coalition to learn about this new footpath from Unity to Belfast. The western section from Unity to Frye Mountain in Montville has been open since June 2016, and the eastern side is just miles away from completion. Learn how you can help make it a reality for all.

Wednesday, May 10. Ecologist Aleta McKeage of Belfast will present on invasive plants, one of the primary threats to environmental health that we face today. Invasive plants take over natural areas, crowding out native species and changing wildlife habitats. We will learn which plantspresent the worst problems in our area,how to identify them, what they do to the ecosystem, and most importantly how we can control them. We will observe striking examples of invasive plant infestations as well as successful control management that is being employed to combat invasive plants locally. McKeage specializes in land stewardship and restoration integrated with outreach and community building. She is an expert in invasive plant biology and control and restoration of native plant communities in natural areas as well as human-influenced landscapes.

These monthly events are free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Susan Shell at susan@sebasticookrlt.org or 948-3766.

About Sebasticook Regional Land Trust

Sebasticook Regional Land Trust has a mission to recognize and conserve the rich wild and working landscape of Central Maine’s Sebasticook River watershed. We work with willing landowners to conserve the lands they love and the resources our community relies upon — clean water, family farms that provide local food and jobs, well-managed working forests, places to hunt, fish and play with our children.


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