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The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Every Little Bit, Every Little Drip

Posted by | March 3, 2019 | Filed under: Culture

We were recently cc:'d on a letter from a local resident to our Maine Congressional delegates. The writer and his family are regulars at the Wells Reserve. We're honored to be so appreciated. If you'd like to share your thoughts with Maine District 1's representatives, find their contact information at the bottom of this post. Thank you again for your support. In today's world, we're proud to be your reserve.

Dear Congressional representative,

The nine-year-old, my older son, looked at me quizzically as I dumped the remnants from the lawnmower bag — the scraps of grass and leaves that would much prefer to remain caked on the mower's innards — onto the driveway. This ritual, the culmination of each weekend’s march around the yard, usually meant I had given up trying to put any more grass into trash bags, which ultimately ended up on a relative's mulch pile.

"Dad," he said, the tone of his voice indicating his mental wheels turning, "every little drip, every little bit." And he left it at that, hanging.

We live in Wells, a town that depends on sandy beaches for its economic lifeblood. Those beaches are just one part of a complex and dynamic ecosystem. Adjacent estuaries—where rivers meet the sea, where fresh water mixes with salt water—provide essential habitat for plant and animal life, shelter human communities from flooding, and remove pollutants from water passing through the watershed.

In Wells, we are fortunate to host a National Estuarine Research Reserve, one of 29 in the country. These reserves advance our knowledge of coasts and estuaries, and promote their conservation and sustainability for tens of thousands of visitors annually.

The Wells Reserve at Laudholm is where my son has hiked on boardwalks through the woodlands, shown his little cousin (visiting from Philadelphia) where the frogs jump in the river, and is constantly on the lookout (occasionally while armed with a lightsaber) for a porcupine in a tree. It's the place where he's helped carve a giant pumpkin, watched border collies herd sheep, hopped in a sack race, danced to fiddlers, and built a scarecrow out of straw at the annual Punkinfiddle festival on National Estuaries Day. For him, the Wells Reserve has cemented an understanding of his connection to the outdoors, to the earth, and to our community’s past and future. It's also simply a great place to get outdoors for a family walk or to barrel down a sledding hill when it snows.

I wonder about the future of our community every day, as the valuable real estate that pumps tax revenue into our great schools sits on a spit of sand destined to wind up under water in our lifetimes. It is a similar future for many communities in Maine where coastal environments and climate change are intertwined. For tourism-dependent communities like ours, the loss of visitors, the warming waters of the Gulf of Maine driving lobster further north, and losing red spruces and balsam firs to a hotter, drier, and stormier world, are the bleaker outcomes.

Through its conservation and research, community engagement, and especially its youth education efforts, the Wells Reserve is at the forefront of an effort to protect coastal environments. (As a solar-power professional, I couldn't help but notice the rooftop-mounted panels that power their buildings 100%.)

I was pleased to be lectured by my son. It was on an elementary school class trip to the Wells Reserve that an enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteer showed a rambunctious third grade class a display about how everything, "every little drip, every little bit," we put into our environment ends up in our waterways.

Back on the driveway, I reassured my son that the little bit of grass falling on the pavement would be OK, but his hesitation around a single choice I made reminded me how the Wells Reserve had instilled in him the notion that each individual action is magnified when it comes to protecting these special places.

The Wells Reserve is a special place. It's one that embodies our connection to nature even as it highlights how fragile that connection can be. For me and my family, it's a place for outdoor recreation and, in both concrete and indirect ways, it affects how my children value that connection. The Wells Reserve is an organization that places that value, that connectivity, at the forefront of everything it does.

I hope you will support the Wells Reserve and the entire National Estuarine Research Reserve System in the coming federal budget. The system of 29 reserves is requesting $30 million to support resiliency planning, environmental education, and protection against coastal storms. This is money well spent. Every little bit counts.


P.C., Wells

You can join the chorus on behalf of estuaries too this year. What do you think? What's been your experience at the Wells Reserve? Would you be willing to send your thoughts to our elected officials who are, this spring, considering their support for NOAA's National Estuarine Research Reserve System?

Please keep us in the loop if you do! Mention Wells Reserve at Laudholm in your Facebook posts, include @wellsreserve in your tweets and Instagram photos, or let us know you've made a call, sent a card, or written a letter.

Mainers in District 1, These People Represent You in Congress:

The Honorable Susan Collins
160 Main Street
Biddeford ME 04005
Tweet @SenatorCollins

The Honorable Angus King
227 Main Street
Biddeford ME 04005
Tweet @SenAngusKing

The Honorable Chellie Pingree
2 Portland Fish Pier, Suite 304
Portland ME 04101
Tweet @chelliepingree

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