Art work by Kristy Cunnane, 2020**
** To purchase a poster of this art, call 374-5118!
Some of our Monthly Workshops Around the Year
JANUARY: “Backyard Forest Management” with Sandy Walczyk, Blue Hill Heritage Trust
Description: This workshop will introduce you to the trees in your own backyard, and give you some ideas for how you might learn about, manage and enjoy them. We will look at winter tree identification for some common Maine trees, practice measuring tree diameters and heights, and talk about forest ecology and development. We will go over forest products and other ecosystem services, and talk about how and why people harvest wood and other forest resources. We will also talk about how wildlife use our forests, the basics of firewood harvesting and use, and whatever other questions you have about trees and forest management in your backyard or woodlot. Video Recording: Backyard Forest Management
FEBRUARY: “Winter Smelt Fishing” with Brett Ciccotelli, Downeast Salmon Federation
Description: Join us for a Q and A to ask Brett and Sarah Madronal from Downeast Salmon Federation your questions about all things SMELT! Natural history, climate change resilience, fishing tips, citizen science opportunities and more! Video Recording
MARCH: “Caring for the Wild Blueberries” with Nicolas Lindholm and Ruthie Fiske, Blue Hill Berries
Description: Ruth Fiske and Nicolas Lindholm will share their knowledge about maintaining blueberry fields for cultivation whether this is a small patch in your backyard or a large field. They will present on the importance and significance of the ecosystem within a healthy wild blueberry field, including plant species identification, creating native pollinator habitat, and the philosophical perspective of organic wild blueberry growing. Organic management techniques will also be highlighted during this workshop, including regular pruning (mowing or burning), cutting or pulling “weeds” (and what plants are troublesome and which plants can be tolerated or even welcome), using sulfur to keep soil pH low (acidic), and more. They have been growing organic wild blueberries since 1996, starting with their own farm in Penobscot. They now manage Blue Hill Berry Co., which leases and owns about 50 acres of certified organic wild blueberry land across seven fields in four towns in the Blue Hill area. In 2020, Nicolas was appointed to serve as the first-ever organic grower on Maine’s Wild Blueberry Commission.
APRIL: “Composting for Community” with Kate Tompkins and Matthew Carter, Chickadee Compost
Description: Chickadee Compost is a new community composting company based on the Blue Hill peninsula and Deer Isle. Located currently operating a solar-powered aerated static pile compost system at the Stonington Transfer Station, they will be sharing their experience building this system, and their plans for expansion. Issues around food waste and the potential for compost to improve local soils, reduce local methane and carbon emissions, and the potential to divert up to 30% of “waste” from the local solid waste stream will be discussed. Please wear boots!
Kate Tomkins grew up in Brooksville, spent 15 years working overseas in humanitarian relief and then on hunger relief in the US, and returned to the area with her family in 2018. She is passionate about community climate action, and is a member of Blue Hill Heritage Trust’s board of directors.
Matthew Carter grew up in the California desert and after a decade in restaurants, came to intern at Yellow Birch Farm in Deer Isle in 2017. He enjoys working with food throughout its lifecycle, from seedling to dinner and back into soil. He is now a Community Compost Coordinator!
MAY: “Strategies for Improving your Soil” with Cathy Rees and Avy Claire, Native Gardens of Blue Hill
Description: We will cover topics related to using readily available materials on your site to restore or improve your soils. We will demonstrate strategies such as managing brush and leaves, creating habitat berms, using soil building plants, and applying compost tea. Participants will understand more deeply the way that nature recycles nutrients, and be equipped to improve soils at home.
Cathy Rees has worked for more than 25 years creating and maintaining gardens. She has also been doing ecological consulting for parks, forests, land trusts, and private individuals during that time. Her familiarization with the native flora has inspired the creative use of natives in the garden and led her to cofound Native Gardens of Blue Hill in 2015.
Avy Claire has been designing and maintaining garden landscapes for the past 30 years. Her practice is built upon an understanding that gardening is a collaboration with nature, an understanding she shares with her clients and the many young gardeners she has employed and trained. In 2015 she co-founded Native Gardens of Blue Hill to promote the use of native plants and ecological garden practices in designed landscapes.
JUNE: “From Plants to Medicine” with Linda Tisdale, Alchemilla Herbal Apothecary
Description: The outdoor places we frequent can be a good resource to locate common wild and cultivated plants that offer healing benefit. Learn to identify some of these plants, respectfully gather the medicinal parts at the optimal time, and ways to use them as medicine. Participants will learn the process for making a simple maceration tincture using freshly collected plants. Also, how to strain and store the tincture, and suggested ways to use it as medicine when needed. Always being mindful of the amazing gifts from the plants and caretaking our wild places.
Linda Tisdale has been making plant medicines for over 25 years having created “Alchemilla Herbal Apothecary” in 1995. Recently moved to Surry after living many years in Dexter cultivating and gathering wild plants for medicine. Working with plants and trees in the garden or wild places is where she finds inner peace.
JULY: “Intertidal Creatures as Food and Habitat” with Jessica Muhlin and Sarah O’Malley from Maine Maritime Academy
Description: This immersive workshop will explore the natural history of intertidal creatures, seen and unseen, as well as physical and chemical influences to this dynamic ecosystem. We’ll look at intertidal organisms people have used for millennia and discuss the modern day issues around harvesting safely.
AUGUST: “Planting a Food Forest” with Hannah and Colby from Way of the Earth School
SEPTEMBER: “Seed Saving Basics” with Betsy Samuelson, Community Seed Network
OCTOBER: “Make your Property into a Bird Sanctuary” with Leslie Clapp
Description: Join Blue Hill Heritage Trust and Leslie Clapp from Downeast Audubon for a Caring for the Land event Oct 3rd 3-4pm. Explore Leslie’s “certified wildlife habitat,” a 10-acre oasis in the middle of town. The gardens and landscaping are extensive with special attention given to native plants. Along with countless pollinators, 147 bird species have been recorded here—come and learn what plants and other creative ideas have drawn them in.
NOVEMBER: “Creating Wildlife Habitat in Your Backyard” with Joe Roy from Inland Fisheries and Wildife
Description: Please join Blue Hill Heritage Trust and Joseph Roy, Private Lands Wildlife Biologist, from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (and Maine’s Beginning with Habitat program- an award-winning, first-in-the-nation effort that has been recommended as a model in all 50 states) to learn about managing your property for wildlife. This site walk and education program will cover topics related to the principles of wildlife habitat and techniques to create or improve wildlife habitat.
DECEMBER: “Pollarding and Coppicing Your Winter Trees” with Hannah and Colby from Way of the Earth School
Description: Pollarding and coppicing is a sustainable method of caretaking trees that has been practiced for tens of thousands of years. We will learn the history of this technique, how to create and maintain them from different tree species, how pollarding benefits the trees, and explore the ways that pollarding can benefit you and the animals of the land.