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.

At Your Service

July 3, 2016 By Nik Charov Filed under Article Tags: birdsservicetwo worldsvolunteer

Mentioned Lynne Benoit-Vachon Nancy Viehmann

Thank you, volunteers

The following was published in the Biddeford-Saco Journal Tribune Sunday edition, 7/3/2016, and Making It At Home's 7/6/2016 issue.

Every morning as I make my coffee, I watch the birds at the bird feeder outside my kitchen window. The other day I noticed, perched on the deck railing near the feeder, a brownish-greyish bird throwing a temper tantrum.

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What's Blooming? Elderberry!

June 20, 2016 By Ginger Laurits Filed under Article Tags: gardenmaster gardenersnative plants


Elderberry is a pioneer species that is found in disturbed and open areas. As with all pioneer species, if habitat is left untouched, the shrub will eventually succumb to forest as tree seedlings grow.  Elderberry is blooming now along roadsides and meadow edges and is easily identified by its opposite branching, deeply cut green leaves, and creamy, flat-topped blossoms. Berries produced later in the season are an important food source for birds and other animals (including us), all of which like them best when they are fermented. Elderberry has long been heralded for its medicinal and healing properties with accounts dating back to Hippocrates in 400 BCE who referred to the elderberry shrub as his “medicine chest.”  Although elderberry prefers wetland habitat, it will grow easily in dryer areas.

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What Fathers Do

June 19, 2016 By Nik Charov Filed under Article Tags: two worlds

Fatherhood is a long haul

The following was published in the Biddeford-Saco Journal Tribune Sunday edition, 6/19/2016, and Making It At Home's 6/22/2016 issue.

The week before Father’s Day, my sons gave me a great gift: they went to California for seven days with their grandmother, leaving me and my wife alone for the longest stretch of time we’ve had together in eight years.

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Dam on the Mousam RiverFor the past 2 weeks, I've been doing my Kennebunk High School senior project with the Wells Reserve, examining the type and frequency of comments submitted to the Kennebunk Light and Power District (KLPD) regarding the possibility of dam removal on the Mousam River. I also reviewed information  addressing the concerns of commenters, to help people understand the probable effects dam removal would have on the river.

The most common concern, noted in 15% of 232 total comments, was the loss of the river’s aesthetic. This encompasses the fear of a drawdown-like future, bad smells, and more visible mud. Approximately 55% of comments discussed either this, decreased river recreation, harm to the wetlands, or a possible reduction in property values.

Information provided by the KLPD through a contractor's report (Wright-Pierce report), and a researcher at Bates College addressed these primary public concerns, as summarized here.

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Bird-banding session by Biodiversity Research Institute, May 31, 2016.

Yesterday, the picnic table under the copper beech was covered with clipboards, bird books, and banding supplies for the first time since last summer. Around the table, a bird-banding team kept busy with catbirds, veeries, waxwings, and other species brought up from the nets. This long-term monitoring and research project has entered its 29th year (28th on the Laudholm campus) — but it's got a new look for 2016.

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