I’ve had the good fortune to crisscross the state to its four corners over the past few weeks. A combination of both professional and personal travel, interspersed with great hikes and enjoyable paddling, was a delightful reminder of all of the bountiful treasures of wildlife and habitat in this great state of Maine. At over 33,000 square miles in area, Maine is about the same size as the other five New England states combined. Combine that with it’s being almost 90% forested and the scale of prime habitat seems gargantuan. At hiking or paddling speed, the enormity of our natural resources can feel almost infinite.
That’s a lot of wonderful – and that wonderful comes with a great deal of variety. The feeling of climbing Borestone Mountain in the Monson/Greenville area is completely different than exploring the Bold Coast of Washington County, which is completely different than paddling Rangeley Lake, which is completely different than walking the Aroostook Valley Rail Trail. I could go on, but I think you get the point. It is not simply the sheer area of habitat that makes Maine special, it is the diversity of that habitat – and of the wildlife that inhabits that space. One gets the feeling that they can explore this state for a lifetime and never exhaust the delight that comes with new discoveries. That’s what keeps people coming back to Maine.
When I am introducing new audiences to Maine Audubon, a common misperception is that we are focused principally on birds. Although we certainly enjoy birds and find them to be very reliable bioindicators of habitat health, we would never restrict our fascination with wildlife to just birds. In addition to birds like Piping Plovers and Loons, those of you who frequent our website also hear us talking about our work with Monarch Butterflies, Brook Trout, Wood Turtles and plenty of others.
At Maine Audubon, our work spans a lot of territory and many different species. That math makes our mission a gigantic undertaking. However, we are inspired to do our utmost to protect Maine’s wildlife and habitat every day because we enjoy sharing our fascination with wildlife with all of you; and enjoy working alongside you to protect it. Results like this year’s record-smashing fledging of 175 Piping Plovers show that our community science based approach to conservation works even in the face of political or meteorological climate headwinds. Additionally, great results of our advocacy efforts also validate that when we band together with our 10,000 members, we can truly influence public policy to appreciate and protect Maine’s most precious asset: its substantial, diverse, and iconic wildlife and habitat. You’ve heard me say it before: when Maine’s wildlife thrives, Maine thrives.
While our wildlife assets might feel almost infinite, we know from the plight of the once prodigious Passenger Pigeon that it is not. It is, unfortunately, very possible to go from “almost infinite” to non-existent. Pause and ponder for a moment: what would be the fate of the state if not for Maine’s robust natural assets? Only by working together across this large and diverse state can we keep Maine both unique and amazing. It is important work that, fortunately, is also fun and engaging. Can we count on you to join us in this adventure? Please support us by becoming a member https://www.maineaudubon.org/support/membership/, signing up for our action alerts https://www.maineaudubon.org/advocacy/action-alert/, signing up for a community science effort https://www.maineaudubon.org/community-science/, or simply by making a donation https://www.maineaudubon.org/support/give/.
We need your help to keep Maine awesome.
There’s a lot of buzz going on…
Have you walked across a meadow recently? Despite some early season grumbling, it has been a tremendous growing season in Maine. The woods and meadows have been teeming with food for wildlife. As we transition from summer to early autumn, a quick walk reveals the energy of harvest season. I took a walk in the meadows of Gilsland Farm at lunchtime today and I could literally hear the buzz of bumblebees and honeybees as they descended en masse on the broad patches of goldenrod that grace our meadows. Our properties team, aided by many much-appreciated volunteers, have spent the last few years ridding our property of invasives and planting copious amounts of native plants. The results have been astounding. If you find yourself in the Portland area, please visit Gilsland Farm and enjoy the large number of bees, butterflies, birds and other wildlife that have cemented our commitment to improving our “backyard”. You too can enjoy a bounty of wildlife activity in your yard. Building on an approach that we piloted last year, we have expanded our native plants sales from a one-day event to a season-long endeavor. Our staff has grown some beautiful plants (including several varieties of goldenrod) and our knowledgeable team can assist you in making the best selection for your yard so that you can reap the rewards of creating habitat that helps wildlife thrive. Follow this link for more information on our native plant offerings:
While you’re at it, pick up some delicious honey at our Nature Store. It is made by honey bees in our own meadows. The bees are on to something; come give it a try.