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Midcoast Conservancy to offer three wildlife habitat tours

Series begins June 15 in Searsmont
Jun 07, 2019
Courtesy of: Keith Carver Bluets and butterfly.

Join Midcoast Conservancy for a unique experience: take a Wildlife Habitat Tour on farms in Searsmont and Montville or on Hogback Mountain trails, and learn about the ways in which local stewards nurture the natural environments on their land. At each of events, the intention is to offer attendees simple, proven methods for enhancing the habitat of their own property.

The first tour, entitled “Sharing and Creating Habitat,” will be held on Saturday, June 15, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Ravenwood, 172 acres at the end of a dirt road in Searsmont. Twelve of those acres are dedicated human habitats and 160 acres are home to a variety of plants, animals and other organisms.

On the habitat walk, participants will explore the different ways in which landowners Lily Fessenden and Glenn Ritch are interacting with the land, water and other organisms. This will include some permaculture practices, garden irrigation, tree leaf fodder, forest pigs, pollinator gardens, and a moldering gap composting toilet.

Ravenwood is the former site of the Grassroots Educational Expeditions and the Audubon Expedition Institute’s Sustainable Practices undergraduate semester.

The second tour will be in Montville, at the farm of Susie O’Keefe, on Saturday, July 13, from 2 to 4 p.m. Attendees will walk a restoration and forage forest planting initiative on 20 acres. This property was stripped of a mature forest and top soils in 2012/13. In 2014, O’Keeffe purchased the property and began an experimental restoration effort using permaculture techniques and native plants.

There will be time for discussion about native/non-native plants, the needs of wildlife, and Susie’s hope to re-create a “commons" where people can harvest food and medicine, learn about coexisting with wildlife, and find inspiration. Handouts will be available on all of the species planted so far, and what each one offers wild animals and people.

For the third event, on Tuesday, Aug. 13, from 2 to 4 p.m., hikers can join Moe Martin for a wildlife habitat walk on Hogback Mountain. Moe was born and raised on Hogback and there are few, if any, people who are as familiar with, or care more about, the land, the trees, the rocks and the wildlife of that special place.

As a professional woodsman, Moe has an understanding of and insight into the life of the forest and the lives of numerous individual trees. Moe will discuss the many initiatives he has undertaken on his land and their impact on local wild creatures.

To learn more, or register, go to Last year’s events reached full capacity, so early registration is encouraged.


Moose family. (Courtesy of: Tom Fiore)
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