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Habitat Fall 2021

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HABITAT Fall 2021 The Challenges of Solar Siting ALSO New Faces at Maine Audubon Legislative and Advocacy Update Fall Programs Species Spotlight Woodchuck 1

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Michelle Duffy Fields Pond Audubon Center Program Assistant Michelle is a program assistant at the Fields Pond Audubon Sanctuary where she runs programs for people of all ages She recently graduated from UMaine with a Master s in Wildlife Conservation Maria Felski Development Program Services Coordinator Originally from Charlottesville VA Maria attended Bates College where she received a Bachelor s Degree in Classical Medieval Studies and Spanish in 2018 After graduating she taught English in Madrid then returned to Maine and worked as a Study Abroad Advisor at the Council on International Educational Exchange She got her first taste for the field of development while volunteering in the Development Special Events office at the Children s Museum and Theatre of Maine 2 Julia Finkle Staff Accountant Julia is a born and bred Mainer who loves to hike swim and eat every delicious meal the Greater Portland area has to offer She enjoys singing and playing guitar as well as exploring as much of Maine as she can She says Maine Audubon has been her dream place to work for years Annette Kraus Grants Manager After a varied corporate career and a 2005 move to Portland Annette turned to the nonprofit sector co founding an arts education organization working with public schools She has been providing strategic and operational support to small nonprofits and writing grants ever since Annette holds tandem Bachelor s Degrees in Finance and Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania Mary Raimondo Gilsland Farm Nature Store Associate Nature lover and longtime Maine Audubon member and patron Mary has worked most recently as a Visitor and Member Experience Ambassador at the Portland Museum of Art and Store welcoming and assisting visitors from around the globe Colleen Spivey Leadership Legacy Giving Manager Colleen brings more than a decade of fundraising experience to Maine Audubon having most recently worked with the Island Institute and The Trust for Public Land A native of Washington DC Colleen received her B A from Colgate University NY and worked for several public interest and environmental nonprofits before landing in Maine in 2015 She enjoys exploring the Maine outdoors from her home base in South Portland where she lives with her husband and rescue pup Abbey Jill Valley Orlando Nature Store Manager Volunteer Coordinator Jill is excited to join Maine Audubon as the new retail store manager and volunteer coordinator Jill has spent 25 plus years in sales marketing public relations and retail operations and is eager to devote her time and energy into growing the volunteer and docent program as well as bringing unique Maine products to our members and guests Bird Seed SALE October 15 25 It s our annual bird seed sale with the lowest prices of the year on all in stock bird seed n or New Faces at Maine Audubon Meet these new staff members who rose to the challenge of joining either just before or during the pandemic Also members get 20 off all other store items except bird seed and optics tore s e r natu Order at eaudubon org n i a m Schedule a pick up between October 15 and 25 at Gilsland Farm Audubon Center Nature Store in Falmouth 3

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and NEWS NOTES Shop Early Chapters Western Maine western maineaudubon org Penobscot Valley pvc maineaudubon org Fundy fundy maineaudubon org Downeast downeastaudubon org Mid Coast midcoast maineaudubon org Merrymeeting merrymeeting maineaudubon org York County yorkcountyaudubon org DOWNEAST CHAPTER downeastaudubon org Maine Wonders with Zoe Weil Moore Community Center Ellsworth September 8 7 pm Journey into the natural world where you ll discover mind boggling animals and fungi This program will cover Sex and Reproduction Metamorphosis and Transformation Iconic Maine Beauty and the Weird and the Wild 4 for the Holidays MID COAST CHAPTER midcoast maineaudubon org Fall Talks hosted by the Camden Public Library Online via Zoom 6 7pm A Maine Audubon membership is the perfect gift for friends family coworkers anyone who loves nature and wildlife September 16 Ancient Trees of North America Take a photographic journey with David Govatski across North America to see the oldest trees including Bristlecone Pines Whitebark and Foxtail Pines Bald Cypress Northern White Cedar and the Black Gum October 21 Nocturnal Flight Calls Author conservationist and bird migration enthusiast Eric Masterson will share what he has learned operating a nocturnal flight call station recording and analyzing the calls of migrating birds as they pass unseen overhead November 18 A Year in the Lives of North American Owls Join Paul Bannick for a program featuring video sound stories from the field and several dozen new images from his award winning book Owl A Year in the Lives of North American Owls Bird Feeder Station Project Grows Mid Coast Audubon awarded six bird feeder stations this spring to five schools and a library in Knox Lincoln and Waldo counties We had an outstanding response to our call for applications and we plan to continue this project and support additional sites in the future We led seven field trips this spring with increased interest and attendance Our slate of programs in partnership with the Camden Public Library will resume on September 16 Purchase a gift membership at maineaudubon org members and receive a card to send your recipient telling them a gift membership is on its way Allow three weeks for the recipient s membership packet to arrive Contact Membership Manager Maureen Duggan 207 781 2330 ext 230 mduggan maineaudubon org 55

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and NEWS NOTES Conservation Forests for Maine Fish Maine s forests fish and wildlife go hand in hand and when properly managed forests can provide abundant clean water and quality fish and wildlife habitat That s why Maine is the last U S stronghold for Brook Trout and Atlantic Salmon That s also why Maine Audubon has teamed up with several other partners to develop a new Forests for Maine Fish program As a complement to our Forestry for Maine Birds program it guides foresters loggers and shoreland owners on what they can do to help protect these precious habitats Forests managed for fish help reduce runoff and pollutants like phosphorus provide shade that keeps waters cool provide leaves that form the basis of the aquatic food chain help stabilize banks and provide feeding spawning and nursery areas They also contribute trees that fall into the water and help create pools where insects circulate and if deep enough provide oxygen rich cold water refuges Our guides are scheduled to be completed by winter Partners include Forest Stewards Guild Maine Forest Service Maine Lakes and Maine Lakes Association with input from Maine Dept of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Trout Unlimited and Sustainable Forestry Initiative 6 Moosehead Regional Planning If you ve ever visited Greenville and the Moosehead Lake region you know how special it is Some years ago the Land Use Planning Commission LUPC approved a plan for the region that allowed numerous subdivisions two large resorts and a few commercial activities to be developed in exchange for a permanent conservation easement on 359 000 acres around Moosehead Lake That plan was discontinued last year and now it s time to develop a new plan for the region The LUPC has developed four different scenarios that you can review online or in person and let them know what you like what you don t like and what you d like to see changed Maine Audubon submitted preliminary comments that were used to develop the four scenarios and will be reviewing and commenting on the draft maps this fall Look for the Moosehead Region Planning Project here maine gov dac lupc Photo Somes Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary Loon Restoration Grant In 2003 98 000 gallons of oil spilled from a tank barge off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island and an estimated 531 Common Loons died from direct or indirect impacts Now a natural resources damage settlement from this spill has led to funding for restoration of loons on their breeding grounds and Maine Audubon is pleased to be one of the funding recipients Maine Audubon s proposal a collaboration with Maine Lakes Lakes Environmental Association and the Penobscot Indian Nation was awarded 825 445 We re excited to partner with lake associations loon counters and other community scientists throughout the state to enhance breeding success and reduce mortality to benefit the state s loon population said Maine Audubon Wildlife Ecologist Tracy Hart The project will include the use of artificial nests and signs where appropriate an expanded Fish Lead Free Program and the expansion of a volunteer Loon Ranger program Maine is fortunate to house the largest Common Loon population in the Northeast and this grant will allow biologists and community scientists to expand efforts to recover loon losses from the oil spill and safeguard the future of this population A loon raft on Echo Lake in Mount Desert Island This summer the partners started training sessions on how to find and select the best spots for placing rafts and how to monitor nests and families after eggs hatch 7

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and NEWS NOTES Education Photo courtesy of Amber Roth Raise High the Roof Visitors to Gilsland Farm Audubon Center in Falmouth this spring and summer were able to watch every phase of the creation of a new outdoor classroom Even the local Snapping Turtles approved laying eggs right near the foundation Thanks to a generous grant last fall from Jane s Trust Maine Audubon has replaced the Instructional Tent at Gilsland Farm with a new post and beam structure designed and built by Maine Barn Company It will serve as an outdoor classroom providing safe outdoor learning in most weather for small groups and hosting numerous Maine Audubon and community programs and events 8 EDUCATION IN ACTION Don t Forget Native Plants Sale It s been another wonderful season of Bringing Nature Home in Maine and we are grateful for everyone who bought plants attended a program or supported a habitat restoration project in their community But the growing season ain t over yet Stay tuned for emails and social media about fall specials member discounts and tips for closing out the growing season and getting started on next year in style Tagging and Tracking Bobolinks at Fields Pond In the last issue of Habitat we reported on Dr Amber Roth of the University of Maine and her project to put nanotag transmitters on Bobolinks and Monarch Butterflies at Fields Pond Audubon Center in Holden This summer she and her students began by catching Bobolinks in mist nets putting the nanotags on the birds and releasing them They will then compare their migration patterns to Bobolink populations in other states While connected to the broader Motus Wildlife Tracking Network used by professional researchers the Fields Pond Motus tower and tagging project which is funded by the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund is focused primarily on providing educational access and exposure to these real world STEM and conservation practices Roth will use Fields Pond to introduce her students as well as local schoolchildren to these skills tools and careers Urban Spaces Members of Portland Youth Corps a program planned and created by Portland Parks and Recreation Portland Parks Conservancy and Maine Audubon Take Center Stage for Environmental Action Maine Audubon s mission and work has always emphasized engaging people and their communities That focus combined with our ongoing commitment to diversity equity and inclusion has meant that Maine s urban centers have heightened strategic importance in expanding and sustaining our reach and relevance To be more inclusive as an organization means inviting and incorporating new participation new perspective and new leadership It also means meeting new partners where they are finding shared values and making Maine Audubon resources more accessible This summer we hunkered down in the middle of Maine s three largest cities with these goals in mind Portland Maine Audubon is honored to have been a founding partner for Portland Youth Corps a new work development and stewardship program for Portland teens Twenty four incredible youth joined Maine Audubon and others restoring habitat improving trails cleaning up parks and public spaces and getting to know the many community organizations excited about their futures We also worked with Portland Schools on their annual Summer Language Academy for English language learners in middle and high schools More than 60 students studied the habitats around them learned about Rachel Carson and visited her namesake National Wildlife Refuge in Wells The program concluded with local landscape stewardship projects Lewiston Auburn Maine Audubon is thrilled to have contributed to a growing interest in habitat restoration in downtown Lewiston and Auburn and some transformational projects started coming to fruition this summer Our friends at the Center for Women s Wisdom have anchored our work in the Tree Streets area at Sophia s House from which programmatic tentacles extend to new funding collaboration with Bates College an interpretive installation at Range Pond State Park and new youth programs for Maine s second largest population center Bangor We ve reported before on our River In My Backyard watershed education program funded by North American Association for Environmental Education in partnership with Bangor s 21st Century Community Learning Center school enrichment program This summer our staff jumped at the opportunity to take over managing the 21CCLC site at Fairmount School an elementary school in Bangor Maine Audubon helped the school district keep the site open and the grant even helped us hire a lifeguard so that participating youth could still use the pool across the street In all 40 Bangor students enjoyed at least a week of free STEM enrichment camp 9 9

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The Challenges of Solar Siting By Nicholas Lund 10 10 In late 2020 the planning board for the town of Blue Hill was considering a controversial new development proposal Residents had questions and concerns about the project s more than 18 acre footprint Would clearcutting the site increase runoff into East Blue Hill Bay Would this project fit with existing infrastructure Would any habitat for Bald Eagles or other wildlife be lost After months of debate in town planning board meetings in February 2021 the citizens of Blue Hill voted 114 30 to establish a moratorium on solar development while they developed solar provisions for their Land Use Ordinance and human lives at risk There is an urgent need to move to clean renewable energy in order to stave off the worst impacts of climate change The state of Maine has recognized this need and is committed to procuring 80 of retail electricity sales from renewable energy sources by 2030 and 100 by 2050 Solar energy is already playing a major role in our conversion to renewable energy and its role will continue to grow the state is committed to creating 375 megawatts of solar energy by 2024 more than double the 174 MW installed as of April 2021 Heartburn about the impacts of solar siting isn t unique to Maine our neighbors to the south are experiencing the same issues Many of Maine s existing municipal solar regulations where there are any at all are geared toward the kind of private rooftop panels that became popular in the 1970s These were all normal concerns for a large and 80s Today s projects are often quite development project in a rural area only this different large arrays consisting of hunproject wasn t a shopping mall or warehouse dreds of ground mounted panels taking up it was a solar farm clean many acres While locally produced renewable undoubtedly producDecades of fossil energy Blue Hill was one of ing clean energy these many Maine towns suddenly fuel use continues projects have a much faced with proposals for large larger environmental to fundamentally solar developments spurred footprint than rooftop in part by state incentives change our planet installations Of greatbut without experience or putting wildlife est concern is where guidance on how to evaluate areas which their impacts and benefits habitat and human forested provide wildlife habitat lives at risk and act as carbon sinks Decades of fossil fuel use are being cleared to continues to fundamentally build solar farms change our planet putting wildlife habitat These ambitious and important state goals have led to a rush of proposals in front of planning boards in towns like Blue Hill According to Mass Audubon s 2020 Losing Ground report roughly 7 000 acres of land conversion between 2012 and 2017 or one quarter of all development was for ground mounted solar arrays We ve known for a number of years observed anecdotally that these big projects were happening says Heidi Ricci Mass Audubon s Director of Policy and Advocacy and that large areas of forest or farmland were being converted to solar arrays but we didn t know it was this much 11

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Part of the problem she said was that towns were unprepared Lots of the people in these smaller communities who were left to deal with these issues were volunteers or had very few staff and all of a sudden they were inundated by businesses saying they were going to undertake these huge projects in their towns The pace of development coupled with a Massachusetts law that exempted solar installations from local development law meant that thousands of acres of forest or farmland were being converted to solar Municipalities and states around the Northeast including in Maine are increasingly taking action to ensure that solar is sited in such a way as to avoid or minimize environmental impacts Massachusetts finalized emergency regulations in July 2020 to protect what the state defines as critical natural landscape core habitat and priority habitat Long Island New York created a solar energy road map to find low conflict areas to develop Other states from Maryland to Hawaii are dealing with similar issues Examples of solar panels placed on already developed land include the Fore Street Parking Garage in Portland top the transfer station in St George middle and a capped municipal landfill in South Portland bottom Photos courtesy ReVision Energy 12 One potential solution is to make sure solar is prioritized in areas of low environmental impact Panels placed on residential or commercial rooftops sit entirely on already developed land and thanks to Maine s net energy billing rules may actually benefit homeowners when energy is put back into the grid Solar arrays may also be placed on parking lots brownfields gravel pits landfills and other unused or underutilized areas giving municipalities a break on energy costs and boosting Maine s clean energy bottom line Lots of projects have already been sited in these low impact areas About 90 of the energy needs of the town of St George have been met by solar panels on top of their transfer station The town of Bucksport installed solar systems at their public works department and wastewater treatment facility saving the town an estimated 1 5 million over the life of the projects according to ReVision Energy Capped municipal landfills are generating energy for Portland South Portland Cumberland and others seemingly fulfilling the utopian promise of renewable energy But not all solar development can fit onto a landfill or be placed on a roof and larger projects are being proposed or built across the state which are causing some to ask difficult questions about environmental benefits Working with Clarissa Paz a contractor who worked on a similar tool for the National Audubon Society Maine Audubon Conservation Biologist and GIS Specialist Sarah Haggerty has developed the Renewable Energy Siting Tool maineaudubon org renewable energy siting This new tool is an interactive online GIS map with dozens of layers designed to help towns developers landowners and regulators reduce potential impacts to high value plant and wildlife habitats soils and other natural resources by steering development toward more compatible areas early on in the process Maine Audubon is helping to get ahead of the issue in Maine where the state s relatively large amounts of undeveloped land mean that siting issues are felt primarily on the local level As for the town of Blue Hill In 2020 Maine Audubon planners worked quickly partnered with municipal to update their commercial planners solar developsite plan review ordinance ers and agricultural and to deal with solar projects environmental advocates Their update finalized in to develop a kit including March had the effect of a model ordinance a best excluding the kinds of large practices document and projects proposed nearother information that was by due to environmental mailed to more than 300 concerns and a lack of Find Maine Audubon s solar siting Maine towns with the help substation infrastructure to toolkit at maineaudubon org solar of the Maine Municipal accommodate for a sizeable Association Some towns amount of new energy put into the grid Hugh including Freeport and China have developed Nazor the Chair of the Blue Hill Planning and passed ordinances based on this model Board said that the town is reasonably happy Maine Audubon has made a series of recommendations for solar siting in order to reduce its environmental footprint These Best Practices include preferential use of brownfields or other degraded lands the avoidance of intact forested landscapes locating solar near existing infrastructure to minimize additional clearing and disturbance and maintenance of solar farms with native vegetation to support local pollinators Maine Audubon is working with towns developers the state and the state legislature to spur the widespread adoption of these recommendations or turn them into requirements with the updates and is proud of how his town handled this new situation But Nazor who lives in a passive solar home doesn t want the state or town to give up on local renewable energy believing that e verybody should be trying to find a place to make solar work Nicholas Lund is Advocacy and Outreach Manager at Maine Audubon He writes about birds and nature for the Portland Phoenix Slate com The National Audubon Society and for his own site TheBirdist com 13

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SPECIAL SECTION First Session of the 130th Maine Legislature ADVOCACY IN ACTION Building Bird Safe Local Architects Incorporate New Technologies into Eco conscious Homes An unsettling thought crept into Danielle Foisy s mind during the lecture What have we done Have we made a death trap for birds An architect at Kaplan Thompson Foisy was in the middle of a major rebuild in place project on the coast of Maine The clients were ecoconscious the building would be all electric and Net Zero Energy incorporate native plantings and a green roof and use local lumber but bird safety wasn t on their radar or the design team s Now as she watched the 2019 guest lecture on Birds and Buildings by architect Nick Liadis hosted at the Maine College of Art she knew she had to do something Large windows taking advantage of ocean views were a design priority so she focused there She researched solutions and identified windows in the existing design that were at greatest risk of bird strikes corner windows those that reflected vegetation large picture windows and those without large exterior screens She worked with glass supplier Marvin Windows to specify windows with UV glazing meaning they were visible to birds but didn t impact views for humans 14 But using windows with UV glass meant additional costs and Foisy wasn t sure how the clients would react Thankfully once aware of the issues at hand they felt it was the right thing to do even revealing problems with bird collisions at their current house As a bonus Foisy discovered that the UV glass reduced solar heat gain potential in the home and helped keep the airy home cool in summer A total of 16 cutting edge UV glazed windows will be installed along with fully shaded exterior lighting to minimize attracting migrating birds at night Foisy told her story at a webinar hosted this summer by the Portland Society for Architecture one of Maine Audubon s partners in bird safe work while other architects on the panel shared their stories of waking up to the use of bird safe technologies in their buildings Awareness is growing among Maine architects and bird safe technology is poised to become the next big thing in sustainable design Legislative and Advocacy 2021 Update The attribute that characterized the first session of Maine s 130th Legislature was determination Determination not to let the pandemic stand in the way of getting work done Determination to make progress on climate action and other environmental priorities Determination to take advantage of opportunities to do the right thing And it worked Legislators hit the ground running this session picking up on progress made during the second session of the 129th Legislature last year and taking advantage of an administration in Washington that is now willing to support progress on climate change renewable energy and other environmental priorities Maine Audubon members helped us achieve some incredible wins this session Our records show that Maine Audubon members and supporters sent more than 4 500 messages to their representatives in 2021 nearly double what they sent in 2020 Our voices were heard and as a result many of our priority bills passed including some that had been stymied for years Make sure you re part of the success by joining our Action Network to stay up to date on all policy issues impacting Maine s wildlife and habitat Go to maineaudubon org act to sign up Yours in conservation Eliza Donoghue Esq Director of Advocacy and Staff Attorney 15

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SPECIAL SECTION Progress Maine s Climate Action Plan The Climate Action Plan CAP finalized in December 2020 was a major priority this session A number of legislative issues we worked on focused on taking recommendations of the Climate Action Plan and making them a reality WIN WIN WIN Climate Action Plan Goal Conserve Natural and Working Lands by Securing Essential Land Conservation Funding This was identified as a CAP priority as natural lands store large amounts of carbon Maine Audubon has long advocated for the Land for Maine s Future LMF program a popular and successful program that had not received new funding since 2012 That all changed at the very end of the session when LMF funds were included in the state budget giving this vital program 40M over four years This is a major win for climate resilience wildlife and outdoor recreation Climate Action Plan Goal Increase Renewable Energy Production and Guide Thoughtful Renewable Energy Siting A challenging but critical goal in the battle against climate change is to increase the state s renewable energy portfolio while protecting wildlife and habitat We supported two bills related to offshore wind energy and were pleased that they both passed LD 336 and LD 1619 help the state get started on a grouping of floating turbines some 40 miles off the Maine coast in federal waters which are critical for researching potential impacts to wildlife We also supported the passage of LD 802 which establishes standards for the decommissioning of solar projects when they reach the end of their lives and LD 820 which will convene a stakeholder group to make policy recommendations on responsibly sited solar Climate Action Plan Goal Build Climate Resilient Communities by Improving Land Use Planning and Smart Growth Climate change will continue to cause sea levels to rise along the Maine coast threatening critical wildlife habitat and coastal towns Maine Audubon was a leading supporter of LD 1572 which required Maine state agencies to update their rules and regulations to incorporate the latest science and projections on sea level rise helping Maine better prepare for and manage a changing coast We were pleased to see the bill pass through the legislature and receive the governor s signature in mid June More Climate Work to Come Maine Audubon continues to provide input as a member of the Natural and Working Lands Working Group and help push processes to install properly sited renewable energy engage with Maine communities and students on climate education and support weatherization electric vehicles green infrastructure and much more 16 Other Legislative Victories Neonicotinoid Pesticide Ban Neonicotinoid pesticides are known to harm bees eventually leading to colony collapse with ripple effects on plants birds and other systems Maine Audubon was proud to support LD 155 which banned the use of neonics in many parts of the state and was pleased to help the bill pass the legislature It received the governor s signature in June Cracking Down on Plastic Pollution Seabird biologists know discarded balloons to be one of the most common causes of mortality for seabirds and sea turtles Balloons however were not widely recognized as litter until LD 1023 with strong support from Maine Audubon was signed into law this session The bill sets up fines for the intentional release of large numbers of balloons What s more Maine became the first state in the nation to establish an Extended Producer Responsibility program which makes manufacturers responsible for the recycling of their products rather than putting the burden on towns and taxpayers Defending Plastic Bag Ban Several bills attempted to reverse Maine s progress in banning single use plastic bags one of the most insidious forms of plastic pollution Maine Audubon worked hard to oppose the rollback of our important progress and was pleased to see that none of these harmful bills gained traction Work to do Next Session It was a banner session for many of our priority bills but we didn t get everything we wanted There s important work to do regarding lead ammunition which can remain in deer wild turkey and other game carcasses often scavenged by Bald Eagles and other species Maine Audubon is working with the state on increased educational opportunities for hunters in Maine and considering what legislative fixes might be warranted Additionally a Maine Audubon supported bill to give sovereignty to Maine s indigenous tribes was pushed to the legislature s second session hopefully giving advocates more time to make their case for this overdue legislation 17

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M Q UIN O X NE 5pm V SPECIAL E More information at maineaudubon org events NOTE If in person events cannot be held we will offer online options when possible 18 Gilsland Farm Fields Pond Family Fun Ages 2 5 Weekly on Wednesdays September 15 November 10 9 30 10 30 am or 10 45 11 45 am Talks by David Spahr author of Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms of New England and Eastern Canada Audubon Center Falmouth T S ept EN Fall Programs AU T l er ecia drais A sp on fun Real ub de Aud Portsi e band e n i v y i Ma ted b p A l ren s hos e Grou child rages t ks ve Esta d truc ult be more o d fo es a nd i n a t i o i v t i 2 act e auc er 2 b v i l a em U Young children and their grown ups explore nature together through stories art and play Rewilding A Three Part Series An instructive series about planting natives to support bees butterflies birds and other wildlife in order to make positive environmental change in the community Event co sponsored by Wild Seed Project September 29 7 pm Transform Your Lawn to Layers October 27 7 pm Adopt Mindful Landscape Practices November 17 7 pm Plant Native Trees Support Local Food Webs Uncommon Encounters with the Great Northern Diver September 30 6 30 pm James Paruk Professor of Biology at St Joseph s College will talk about his new book on the natural history of loons Loon Lessons Uncommon Encounters with the Great Northern Diver Fall Frolic October 2 10 am 2 pm Celebrate the change of seasons with an outdoor family festival with a giant leaf pile autumnal artmaking and more Event made possible by L L Bean Stream Smart Training Phase 2 October 6 and 7 8 30 am 4 30 pm A two day hands on introduction to stream survey techniques and concepts for developing ecologically sound road stream crossings Ferns of New England October 13 6 8 pm Arthur Haines forager human ecologist Senior Research Botanist for Native Plant Trust and author of Flora Novae Angliae will give a talk about the ferns of New England Audubon Center Holden September 18 11 30 am 2 pm Foraging Finding Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants October 2 11 30 am 2 pm Mushrooms of Maine Pre registration required Family Fun Weekly on Wednesdays September 15 November 10 9 30 10 30 am Young children and their grown ups are invited to spend an hour exploring nature together through stories songs art and play Advanced registration is encouraged Drop ins are welcome if space available Contemplative Hiking with William Bigelow David Lamon October 2 9 11 am Slow down and fully engage with whatever lessons nature offers during this walk through Fields Pond Bring notebook to write in Wildlife Migration in the Classroom Using MOTUS Technology with Your Students October 5 3 5 30 pm Teachers grades 4 5 6 and administrators are invited to this Professional Development workshop to introduce activities and resources related to wildlife migration that will engage your students with real time data collection and analysis Workshop is free and food is provided Reserve your space today Annual Fall Foliage 5K Trail Run October 9 10 am In partnership with Holden Land Trust we are able to offer a new course this year that will take runners and walkers entirely on trails Volunteer Opportunity Fall Stewardship Day October 16 9 am 12 pm Help us improve our trails and public spaces Bring work gloves and sturdy footwear Snacks provided 19

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Species Spotlight Woodchuck Marmota monax Torch Pompeii Athos these could be names from literature or from an atlas but they are also names that Dr Chris Maher has given to some of the woodchucks that make their home at Gilsland Farm Audubon Center in Falmouth Since 1998 Dr Chris Maher a biologist from the University of Southern Maine has worked on a long term study of woodchuck social behavior exploring factors that influence how social they are and whether it s better to compete or cooperate with kin Over the years she has learned that some woodchucks never leave home just like people she says They settle near the place where they re born Thus they live near kin and interact with relatives They tend to be nicer toward kin although mothers will chase their older daughters if they try to share a territory For her research she collects DNA samples marks the Gilsland Farm woodchucks with metal ear tags and paints identifying symbols created with blonde or black hair dye on their backs Woodchucks here come in three different varieties light brown dark brown and all black melanistic Woodchucks also called groundhogs or whistle pigs are herbivores that will eat legumes vegetables berries and other fruit and fresh produce to the frustration of many gardeners They will also chew on trees to sharpen teeth and mark territories 20 Woodchucks are one of the few true hibernating species in Maine As soon as the breeding season is over the males start to put on weight in preparation for hibernation females wait until after their young are weaned Over the summer their metabolic rate declines Adults start to hibernate in September juveniles need time to gain more weight so their hibernation doesn t start until October They drop their body temperatures and wait out the cold in the safety and warmth of their underground burrows where they ll stay until February or March Adults mate in spring pups are born in April or May and after about four to six weeks are weaned and ready to leave the burrow under their mother s supervision Fully grown adults can grow to be about 20 inches long with tails of up to six inches They have powerful legs and heavy claws that help them dig their burrows which can be anywhere from two to six feet deep and as long and extensive as 40 feet Dr Maher has followed the lineages of many families at Gilsland Farm and yes she names them and says that as the habitat has changed a gradual shift to more woody plants and fewer of their favorite foods like clover and dandelion the population has declined Disease predation and cars have taken their toll too She says The good news is that we had four litters this year compared to just two last year Currently on the property I estimate there s just one adult male that s Royce four adult females a few yearlings and this year s crop of pups However we ll need to see if some of those pups stick around and settle into permanent territories on the property It ll be interesting to see what happens next year One thing you can count on Dr Maher will be there to watch Dr Maher weighs marks and examines woodchucks at Gilsland Farm 21 21

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Maine Bird Atlas Team takes Home the Trophy This summer we wrapped up the fourth of five years for the Maine Bird Atlas a project by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife that will provide a comprehensive understanding of the distribution and use of resources by Maine s breeding and wintering birds I ve written about the goals and need for volunteers in this column before but now I want to share a fun result from a friendly interstate competition this year Maine isn t the only state doing a bird atlas right now so we teamed up with New York Maryland DC and North Carolina to create the inaugural Big Atlas Weekend BAW The purpose of the BAW was to engage our volunteers by giving them a variety of intrastate challenges ranging from submitting an observation for the first time for new volunteers to visiting a remote priority block and documenting as many confirmed species as possible which takes quite the effort We held a very entertaining kickoff event featuring a presentation by Purbita Saha and Stephanie Bielke of the Galbatross Project focusing on female bird identification you can watch it here maineaudubon org BAW To make things really fun a few of the intrastate challenges were used for an interstate competition and there would be only one winner 22 More than 1000 atlasers participated across all four states They spent a total of 3276 hours making 6169 confirmations Despite being outnumbered by more populous states for example New York had 2 4 times as many volunteers as Maine we managed to come in first place This was largely thanks to our very knowledgeable and efficient volunteers While most of the other states are in their first or second year of their respective atlases Maine s volunteers have more experience and were able to put in a higher degree of quality and effort that allowed the trophy to land in Maine for the first year of the BAW With one year left for the Maine Bird Atlas project we ll need more help to get the last bunch of priority blocks completed Stay tuned for an exciting year ahead I hope you ll at least join us next year for the second BAW and help us keep our title as Big Atlas Weekend Champions SEPTEMBER 6 Today is World Shorebirds Day Get out to the beach count migrating shorebirds and join the celebration at worldshorebirdsday org 22 Happy Autumnal Equinox to all our members in the Northern Hemisphere 25 Even if Woolly Bear Caterpillars aren t reliable predictors of winter they are still fun to watch while they are on the move looking for safe places to spend the cold months 30 Leave the leaves this fall Many plants and insects benefit from leaf litter in the winter Less work for you and better for the environment Photo Doug Hitchcox Doug Hitchcox Staff Naturalist Fall Almanac Photo USFWS Midwest Naturalist HQ The Naturalist s OCTOBER 1 Northern Flicker migration is peaking These woodpeckers are ant specialists so they have to migrate unlike our other generalist woodpeckers 5 Watch for White crowned Sparrows under your bird feeders the only sparrow we see regularly in Maine that neither nests nor spends the winter here NOVEMBER 1 Be safe in the Maine woods and wear blaze orange through the deer hunting season 4 Bald faced Hornet nests are becoming visible as trees become bare You ll be amazed to see where they were hiding all summer 7 Most Garter Snakes have found a place to hibernate for the winter but you ll occasionally see them still active on warmer November days 25 Happy Turkey Day The reintroduction of Wild Turkeys in Maine is one of the most successful conservation stories in the state 8 Piping Plovers are settling into their wintering grounds in southern coastal states and the Bahamas See you in March 15 Common Witchhazel is in bloom right now a yellow burst that is pollinated by our late flying moths 23

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Penmor Indicia 20 Gilsland Farm Road Falmouth ME 04105 PCW or FSC logo Habitat Volume 37 Issue 3 The journal of Maine Audubon ISSN 0739 2052 is published quarterly habitat maineaudubon org Magazine Staff Melissa Kim Editor Nick Lund Assistant Editor Jenn Schmitt Events Editor Brandi Sladek Designer Layout Editor Visit Maine Audubon s Centers and Sanctuaries which are free and open to the public from dawn to dusk Borestone Elliotsville Staff Directors Andy Beahm Executive Director Peter Baecher Properties Eliza Donoghue Advocacy Melissa Kim Communications Kate Lewis Development Erin MacGregor Forbes Finance Sally Stockwell Conservation Eric Topper Education Officers Board of Trustees David Littell Chair John R Dolloff Vice Chair Alyssa Hemingway Treasurer Sean Trahan Secretary Maine Audubon Headquarters 20 Gilsland Farm Road Falmouth ME 04105 207 781 2330 maineaudubon org 24 Cover Gilsland Farm Solar Installation courtesy of ReVision Energy Fields Pond Holden Josephine Newman Georgetown Hamilton West Bath Mast Landing Freeport Gilsland Farm Falmouth Scarborough Marsh Scarborough East Point Biddeford Pool

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