The Wrack

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

Posts tagged stewardship

  • Good News for Monarchs!

    | August 16, 2017 | Filed under: News

    Monarch Rescue 2017 saves more monarchs than ever

  • Monarch Rescue 2016

    | August 26, 2016

    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

  • Monarch Rescue 2015

    | September 4, 2015

    The Reserve's annual late summer effort to save monarch eggs, caterpillars, and chrysalises from the mowers that cut our fields happened last week. The mowing is essential in preventing the fields from growing into forests over time, and also as a management strategy for invasive species.

    Monarch rescued

    Thanks so much to the eleven volunteers who spent several hours in the warm sunshine combing the ubiquitous milkweed plants for signs of monarchs! We saved 38 caterpillars of all sizes, removing them from the fields that will be mowed within the coming weeks to fields that will not be mowed this year. The smallest of the caterpillars measured less than one inch in length, whereas the largest were several inches long. A handful of monarch butterflies were spotted fluttering over the fields during the rescue mission, providing hope that some of the rescued caterpillars will also reach adulthood.

  • Creating Habitat for Bats

    | October 22, 2013

    This past Saturday evening, over 20 community members participated in the "Bats: Friends of the Evening Sky" program offered in partnership with the Center for Wildlife. We all learned about the many myths surrounding bats and the real truths (they don't fly into human hair, there are only 3 species of vampire bats among the over 1,200 species of bats worldwide, and vampire bats do not live in the United States—they live in tropical climates and prey primarily on livestock). Brownie

    We were amazed to learn, too, that Maine's insectivorous bats eat 1,000 mosquitoes in a single night! The next time a mosquito bites you, think of all the mosquito control bats provide us!

  • Monarch Rescue 2013

    | September 9, 2013

    Several weeks ago, a dedicated group of volunteers set out into the milkweed fields to rescue monarch eggs and caterpillars, just before the Reserve's annual mowing. This is the third annual Monarch Rescue effort, and this year the results were sobering. After nearly three hours of searching the undersides of milkweed leaves, our team of fourteen only came up with two caterpillars (and one already empty monarch egg case). In 2010, 37 eggs and 25 caterpillars were rescued by our team, and in 2012 we rescued 90 eggs and 22 caterpillars (we didn't have a Rescue in 2011).

    monarch rescue

    Scientists in the monarch's wintering grounds in Mexico documented a 59 percent decrease in butterflies last year. Loss of habitat, drought, the use of pesticides, and climate change are all thought to play a role.

  • TOTE 2013: Climate Stewards in Action!

    Wells Reserve Contributor | August 1, 2013
    "We have the opportunity to re-invent the world." That was a final thought from one participant at the end of last week's Teachers on the Estuary (TOTE) workshop here at the Reserve. After four busy days of guest speakers, hands-on activities, and visits to field research sites, the eight middle and high school educators hailing from states along the east coast from Maine to Florida shared their ideas for i…
  • Mulkey's Call to Action

    | May 28, 2013

    The nearly 40 people who attended Dr. Stephen Mulkey's "Crisis and Opportunity in the Environmental Century" Climate Stewards lecture in mid-May left with a clear message: We are out of time and we must act now.

    Mulkey began his talk with a quote from David Orr, "All education is environmental education… by what is included or excluded we teach the young that they are part of, or apart from, the natural world." Mulkey crowdMulkey spoke of his (incredible) work as President of Unity College, becoming the first college in the country to divest from fossil fuels, as well as recently integrating climate change education across the entire curriculum. Unity's students study the complexity of interactions among the economy, society, and nature--a framework for the future known as "sustainability science."

  • Laudholm Beach Stewards

    | April 19, 2013

    Sending a big thank you to the generous team of children and adults who participated in yesterday's Laudholm Beach clean-up! We found cans, bottles, cigarette butts, fishing/lobster gear, a brush, comb, dock float, rope, ribbon, styrofoam, plastic bits, and some beach stabilization debris.

    Prior to the clean-up, some of us watched the public film screening of "Bag It" in the auditorium. I hope that everyone (we recommend ages 12 and up) on the planet sees this film! It really does a fantastic job of presenting a global picture of the effects that our plastic waste has on the environment...and inspires its viewers to take action!

    Below are photos of the Laudholm Beach stewards doing their part yesterday…

  • Solar Energy for Your Home

    | April 5, 2013

    Jennifer Hatch, Marketing Manager for ReVision Energy, provided an informative introduction to solar energy options for homeowners on Wednesday evening in Mather Auditorium. Over 40 people attended this Climate Stewards evening lecture, and one lucky winner, Mr. Jed Thomas, went home with the solar charger door prize (below)!

  • Bunny and the Dogwood Wattles

    | March 26, 2013

    New England Cottontail in Cape Elizabeth in 2010. Photo by USFWS.On Monday, a 13-ton machine rolled down the reserve's "F field" to make habitat for a 2-pound rabbit. The "Easter Excavator," a Caterpillar 311, was specially modified for working in sensitive areas such as ours. Despite its burly bearing, the excavator exerted less than 5½ pounds of pressure per square inch on the work site. Evidence of its visit is visible along the Muskie Trail for now, but as the grassland greens up this spring the fresh signs should quickly fade away.