March is a time of transition, both for the world around us and for us here at Maine Audubon. Outside, winter is passing into mud season and our thoughts turn to spring buds and summer blooms. Inside, our fiscal year is winding down and we’re gearing up for a new season of working to protect Maine’s wildlife and habitat.
As we evaluate past projects and consider new ones, it always makes me focus on our core mission, the projects and programs that really define who we are and what we do. To me, there are three projects in the spotlight this spring that really embody our mission and pull together our education, conservation, and advocacy components in effective and meaningful ways.
Our “Bringing Nature Home” in Maine initiative, to raise awareness of the importance of native plants, kicks into high gear in March. At the end of the month, we’ll be launching the Maine Audubon Native Plant Finder, an online database and search tool that will help you find the native plants best suited for your area, that provide the greatest ecological function and benefit. We’ll be exhibiting at the Maine Flower Show from March 26 to 29 at Thompson’s Point in Portland with an interactive kiosk to introduce visitors to the online tool and invite them to our Native Plant Sale and Festival taking place May 30 at Fields Pond Audubon Center in Holden and June 13 at Gilsland Farm Audubon Center in Falmouth.
Our conservation and advocacy staff are hard at work in Augusta and beyond as part of the state’s innovative and collaborative work to combat climate change. Two Maine Audubon staff members, Advocacy Director Eliza Donoghue and Conservation Director Sally Stockwell, are members of the Maine Climate Council, a body working to develop a plan to meet the state’s climate goals. We’re proud to play a role in this critical effort. In a companion effort, we’re actively promoting and expanding on our renewable energy report, meeting with municipalities around the state to discuss siting solar power in ways that avoid harm to wildlife, and drafting model solar ordinances.
Our community science programs also kick off in March. Getting people connected to science, whether it’s collecting data, learning how to manage woodlots for birds, or guiding their town to building culverts with wildlife in mind, is at the heart of our conservation program and its focus on wildlife and habitat.
- Two training sessions for the Turtle Roadkill Survey take place, one on March 11 in Houlton and one on March 28 in Bath.
- If you own more than 10 acres of woods in Western Maine and are interested in finding out about the wildlife there, you’re invited to attend a Forestry for Maine Birds presentation on March 25 in Bethel.
- Stream Smart training for anyone interested learning how road crossings can help connect and maintain fish and wildlife habitat will take place on April 11 in Bath.
I hope you’ll join us either at one of these programs or our many other events. We’ve got lots of great events to help get you through mud season: from our Plover Party on March 14 from 4 to 7 pm in Saco, to our collaborative event between Nibezun and Maine Audubon, Walking on Wabanaki Land, on March 21 from 10 am to 3 pm at Gilsland Farm, at which people of the Wabanaki Confederacy will tell stories of their profound connection with the earth and the living things in it through music, art, and craft.
Check the events calendar online or, if you’re a member, look for Habitat, coming this week. Happy spring!