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.

Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.

The votes are in. This year's Laudholm Nature Crafts Festival was the kind of community we should all want to live in. More than 160 volunteers worked together as a tireless, friendly, and welcoming team to make 3,500 visitors and 122 participating artisans feel like there was no better place to be.

Dessert table volunteers. Photo by Heidi Kim.

2015 was a record-breaking year for the Crafts Festival. I didn't think we could get bigger.

2016 blew it away.

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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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Rounding Second

August 21, 2016 By Nik Charov Filed under Article Tags: climate changetwo worlds

The following was published in the Biddeford-Saco Journal Tribune Sunday edition, 8/21/2016, and Making It At Home's 8/24/2016 issue.

August 21st is my 38th birthday. The odometer keeping track of my trips around the Sun just rolled over 22.2 billion miles. There’s still plenty of tread on the tires. I am beginning to notice a few twinges of maturity, though. Joint pains, hair loss, reflexive stubbornness, the irrepressible need to give advice – the signs of creeping codgerdom.

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