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Marking Maine Arbor Week 2024

Maine Audubon is once again joining other lovers and conservators of Maine’s forests and flora to honor Maine Arbor Week, celebrated this year from May 19 to 25. It serves to remind us of the ecological, cultural, and economic importance of flora, particularly our hundreds of native tree species.

In 1978, the Maine legislature designated the third full week of May “Arbor Week,” a result of successful lobbying led by a classroom of students from Dover-Foxcroft. They successfully made the case that the national Arbor Day holiday in April, which actually started as a movement to restore trees in Nebraska, wasn’t a great time of year for planting trees in Maine.  It’s been balmy growing conditions in Southern Maine for the last couple of weeks this year, but we typically don’t really get growing until now. (Celebrating trees in Maine, and in the world, for that matter, has never been more important.)

The whole Maine Audubon team has been busier than ever engaging people and their communities in community forestry, habitat restoration, and forest education. While the conservation team works with large landowners on projects such as Forestry for Maine Birds & Fish, we also have long helped individuals and municipal staff “bring nature home” by planting beneficial native trees in parks and along streets. This year, with help from our new urban forest ecology educator, Jeff Tarling, we are working with city staff in Portland, Bangor, and Lewiston/Auburn as well as Washington Academy in Machias to develop community tree nurseries which also serve as workforce development for marginalized youth.

We promise to be in touch with more about all of those projects, but also invite you to join us for a pair of public programs celebrating Maine’s forests, and especially its trees, for Maine Arbor Week.  Take a walk in the woods with friends and family, plant a tree, admire the wide range of benefits that trees and forests provide.  

Here’s the lineup of offerings:

May 22, 5 pm: Zoom: ‘Maine’s Magnificent Trees: Their Role In Ecosystems‘ with Andrew Tufts, Maine Audubon’s Bringing Nature Home Program Manager. Come learn about some of Maine’s most iconic as well as lesser known native trees and the role they play in their ecosystems. The talk will be taking a deeper dive on trees native to Maine, covering subjects such as natural plant communities,  wildlife value, & growing conditions. Register here.

May 23, 7 pm: In person at Gilsland Farm with an online option to view over Zoom: Maine’s Big Tree Talk with Jan Santerre, ‘Project Canopy’ director with the Maine Forest Service (MFS). Join us to learn about champion trees in the area and how they and other big trees play a role in our environment. State champion big trees capture people’s imagination for their size and strength, but there is more to a champion than just its size — they are symbols of all the good work trees do for the quality of the environment and our quality of life. 

As Project Canopy director, Jan focuses on all aspects of program management. Project Canopy is a federally funded program in support of urban forestry programming in Maine’s municipalities. Santerre has managed the Maine Register of Big Trees for MFS for more than 20 years, has a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry from the University of Vermont, and is a native of Dover-Foxcroft. Register here