The Wrack

 blog of the wells reserve at laudholm

The Wrack is our collective logbook on the web. Here you will find hundreds of articles on myriad topics, all tied to these two thousand acres of protected coastal land and the yesteryear cluster that lends them identity.

Why "The Wrack"? In its cycles of ebb and flow, the sea transports a melange of weed, shell, bone, feather, wood, rope, and trash from place to place, then deposits it at the furthest reach of spent surf. This former flotsam is full of interesting stuff for anybody who cares to kneel and take a look. Now and then, the line of wrack reveals a treasure.

Cover image for Public Shoreline Access in MaineThroughout much of my professional life, I have been involved in various issues related to coastal conservation and public access. My activities have included:

  • The Practical — acquisition of lands along the coast that provide direct access for residents and visitors, and that protect wildlife habitat
  • The Educational — organizing forums, lectures, and workshops that explore legal and policy issues relating to coastal ownership, use, and access
  • Writing and Publishing — most recently, co-editing the 3-volume Maine Coastal Public Access Guide

So it was only natural that the Wells Reserve (and yours truly) would team up with University of Maine Sea Grant and the Maine Coastal Program to revise and publish Public Shoreline Access in Maine: A Citizen’s Guide to Ocean and Coastal Law.

This concise, full color guide, just released, is a summary and analysis of the laws, policies, and court decisions that have helped define ownership of, and public access to, Maine’s coast.

Download Public Shoreline Access in Maine: A Citizen's Guide to Ocean and Coastal Law (6 MB)

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Roadmap CoverThe Wells Reserve has released a resource document for using Unmanned Aerial System technology (commonly known as drones) within the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. This roadmap helps Reserves across the country navigate the complex issues surrounding civilian UAS technology and helps them determine how this technology can help achieve the system's vision of healthy coastal ecosystems and thriving coastal communities.

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Watermark, Summer 2016

September 1, 2016 By Scott Richardson Filed under Article Tags: peoplewatermark

Cover of the Summer 2016 issue of Watermark, showing a staff photo with Goat Island LightIn the summer 2016 issue of Watermark:

  • More Than the Sum of Its Parts
  • Nik's Notebook
  • Teachers Collect Ideas for New Student Projects
  • June Ficker, Ever Enlightening
  • A New Era
  • After Many Years, Joining the Volunteers
  • Serendipity and a Good Sense of Direction
  • Now's the Time: Investing in Education's Potential
  • Lobster Expert Lands at Wells Reserve

Download the Summer 2016 Watermark (5.6 MB)

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Monarch Rescue 2016

August 26, 2016 By Suzanne Kahn Filed under Article Tags: citizen sciencemonarchsstewardship

The Reserve held its sixth annual Monarch Rescue yesterday! Two education staff and seventeen wonderfully enthusiastic volunteers of all ages set out in search of monarch butterfly eggs and caterpillars in fields that will be mowed within the next couple of weeks. Select Reserve fields are mowed each year in an effort to maintain this vital habitat, rather than allow it to eventually grow into forest. The mowing also serves to keep invasive plant species in check.

Monarch caterpillars

Each year since 2010 (with the exception of 2011, when no rescue was conducted), the Monarch Rescue teams were tasked with combing the fields while inspecting individual milkweed plants to look for signs of monarchs. Any found eggs and caterpillars were then brought to a field not slated for mowing that year. Milkweed leaves with eggs on the underside were stapled to secure milkweed leaf undersides. Caterpillars were moved to secure milkweed plants. The graph below shows the number of eggs and caterpillars found during each of the six rescues.

Monarch Rescue Data

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When I heard that the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge would be celebrating its 50th anniversary this summer, I thought "Cool, and I was there at the beginning."

I remember my family taking a jaunt down Route 9 from my grandparents' house in Kennebunk after a ho-hum conversation about some Rachel Carson land that had just opened up. After a short drive, we piled out of grandpa's Bonneville and walked into the woods.

A summer 1970 visit to Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge.

The day was bright, but the sun was muted by a closed canopy most of the way. We strolled along in single file, following a path softened by pine needles, until we reached an opening where sunlight burst through to the forest floor. The effect was profound: Beaming light, a scent of pine and sea air, and an enveloping quiet that belied the presence of my brothers and me. I've no idea how long that moment lingered or how the spell was broken, but I recall that glade as a cathedral, that instant a locus. I was in awe. In Nature.

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