Friends From the Field

A collaborative series with Blue Hill Heritage Trust, featuring local naturalists, professionals from environmentally focused organizations, and outdoor learning experts to share their knowledge, virtually, during a time when we can’t all be out in the field together.

For upcoming webinars, please visit our events calendar and click on the event for information and registration link.

Thank you and enjoy!

BHHT & IHT were pleased to host this fun and interactive webinar, all about caring for your apple trees. Edgar Evenkeel of Stone Pom Farm in Surry joined us to answer all our burning apple-related questions, give pruning tips, and more!
Blue Hill Heritage Trust & Island Heritage Trust present our August 2021edition of Friends From the Field webinar series. We were thrilled to welcome David Porter: a Brooklin resident and retired Biology professor (Univ Georgia), Zachary Holderby: a resident of Penobscot and is currently the Vice President, Conservation and Research Chair, and Webmaster for Downeast Audubon, and Zoe Weil: the President of the Institute for Humane Education as they discussed the wonders of The Blue Hill Falls.

Nancy Olmstead is the Invasive Plant Biologist for the Maine Natural Areas Program in the Maine Dept. of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry; she enjoys exploring the woods and wetlands of Maine and working to remove damaging invasive plants. Invasive plants can over-run natural areas, elbowing out native plants that serve as the best habitat for wildlife like insects, birds, and mammals. This presentation will cover the ecology of invasive plants, review some of the most common invasive plants in Maine, and outline several new and ongoing projects addressing invasive plant management in Maine.

As a retired person Karen Johnson was able to participate in the Maine Master Naturalist Program. Studying the natural world, she met marvelous people and learned remarkable things. What happened during quarantine? Nature walks came to a halt. No more get-togethers in the field to consider moss and goldenrod. She will share with us where she went and what she saw during this time.

Join Michael Good for this Friends From the Field collaborative webinar with Blue Hill Heritage Trust, part of the Wings, Waves, & Woods Festival. Photography has always played an essential role in science to visualize detail. For ornithology, record birds are verified based, in part, on an accurate description, photos, or sound recordings. Photos tell the truth and are used universally as fact. Because of the complexity of bird plumage, it is important to science that the colors or detail are accurate representations of what you claimed to have seen. We will talk about this in the webinar and then put what we learn to practice in the field during a walk for the Wings, Waves, Woods bird festival this year. NOTE: This webinar gets cut off at the end due to tech difficulties but there is lots of great content before that happens so watch on!

This talk will introduce the diversity of wild bees found in Maine. We will explore their biology, plant associations, and conservation. Sara Bushmann is a bee biologist, ecologist, and teacher who lives and works along the coast of Downeast Maine. This is a recording from a live Friends from the Field Webinar that was presented on May 13th, 2021.

Maine’s Native Toads and Frogs are seldom thought of but provide a vital role in the stability of our natural resources as an indicator species. Through this presentation, Maine Master Naturalist Paul Powers explores the life cycles of frogs, fun facts about frogs, their seasonal activities, their State Status in Maine, and what we can do to live in balance with our native frogs. Paul grew up in Pennsylvania and has always been captivated by nature and wildlife. He has been a wildlife photographer for the past 20 years which has taken him to many places and allowed him to become involved in many environmental projects. Paul uses his photography as an educational tool and donates many of his works to centers and institutions to promote the preservation of our wildlife and raise funds for rehabilitation. He has also furthered his education by becoming certified as an Environmental Educator and a Maine Master Naturalist. Paul now resides in Maine with his wife and three dogs and travels the state working with organizations to promote living in harmony with our wildlife.

Join Bagaduce estuary admirer, photographer, and neighbor Ann Flewelling for a scenic virtual trip across the miles and seasons of this unique waterway. Here, in 1996 Ann, a psychologist, and her husband Charles Read, a teacher, purchased the east shore property to celebrate their first wedding anniversary. They named their place FARVIEW FARM; however, how and what they would “farm” or promote as stewards evolved over the years. Join us for a story of people who care for the land, make mistakes though learn from them, and have accepted ecologically wise advice from friends and mentors. They, along with the birds, moths, caterpillars, bees, native pollinator plants, good bugs, and creatures of the soil, thank you!

Citizen science is a way for non-traditional partners to conduct research and monitoring together. We will explore the history and some of the universe of citizen science. Hannah Webber from Schoodic Institute incorporates citizen science in much of her marine ecology work and teaches workshops to help people develop sustainable citizen science projects.

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the passage of the migratory Bird Treaty Act, follow Rich on a year-long journey to see and hear all the birds of Hancock County. This journey that began more than 40 years ago culminated in writing his book, Little Big Year: Chasing Acadia’s Birds, and continues to this day. Rich MacDonald is a lifelong birder, field biologist, guide, father, and husband living in Bar Harbor.

Learn about the Maine Island Trail, a recreational water trail that includes over 240 sites and spans the entire coast of Maine. Maria will provide an overview of the origins of the Trail and the organization’s model of visitor-based stewardship and share ways to get involved and resources for new boaters. Maria Jenness is the midcoast Regional Stewardship Manager for the Maine Island Trail Association (MITA) and works with volunteers and partners to steward islands from Pemaquid Point to Naskeag Point. MITA app: learn more/download from mita.org/app – For upcoming events, folks can check mita.org/events, but the best way is actually to get on their email list (visit mita.org and scroll to the bottom of the page).

For anyone interested in volunteering, fill out the volunteer interest form mita.org/volunteer 

MITA has quite a few videos on Vimeo, including recordings of all the lunch & learns or webinars we’ve held, plus some elegant videos by our Executive Director and some more professional ones. https://vimeo.com/user31311075

Abby is a Stonington resident who has studied microplastic pollution in our oceans and freshwater since 2012. Microplastic pollution is considered an emerging issue of international concern. An estimated 8-10 million tons of plastic make their way into the oceans each year. They have been found in all the world’s oceans, in freshwater environments, tap water, bottled water, beer, honey, salt, and even in our air. Marine research scientist Abby Barrows will discuss the complex problem of plastic pollution and some of the solutions required to address it. Microplastic pollution is considered an emerging issue of international concern. An estimated 8-10 million tons of plastic make their way into the oceans each year. They have been found in all the world’s oceans, freshwater environments, tap water, bottled water, beer, honey, salt, and even in our air. Marine research scientist Abby Barrows will discuss the complex problem of plastic pollution and some of the solutions required to address it. Abby is a Stonington resident who has studied microplastic pollution in our oceans and freshwater since 2012.
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) has many roles in helping to preserve and conserve Maine’s wildlife. There are various jobs and people that work for the Department, wardens, biologists, educators, administrative specialists, cartographers, animal keepers, policy specialists, and so much more. Some work in offices across the state, and some get to spend time in the field. Join us as we meet Steve Dunham, MDIFW Regional Wildlife Biologist of the Downeast Region. Learn about the role regional biologists play and the type of work to preserve, conserve, and promote Maine’s wildlife and wild places. Steve will give us an overview of how different projects help to maintain healthy wildlife populations and habitats. Learn what it takes to be a regional biologist and the vital work they do. We are all in this together to help preserve Maine’s wild places for generations to come.
Do you ever wonder what hides under the ice of a frozen Maine pond? Have you ever witnessed close-up the springtime explosion of amphibian life that follows winter? Join Maine Master Naturalist and photographer Edwin Barkdoll for an evening of exploring life under the ice culminating in the annual amphibian emergence and migration. We will examine many creatures, from nearly microscopic crustaceans to the shy salamanders and boisterous frogs who emerge after an ice breakup. Expect to leave and never look at a frozen pond with quite the same eyes.
Commercial landings of soft-shell clams have declined by nearly 75% in the past 40 years while, at the same time, seawater temperatures have increased steadily. Fishery-independent data from more than 30 yrs of experimental field research and large-scale sampling of flats along the coast have helped to interpret the losses in this iconic fishery. Because many important predators (both native and invasive) of clams are invertebrates, increasing temperatures have resulted in increased predation rates that have contributed to the widespread loss of clams. This seminar will focus on numerous field trials and how results of these may be applied on large scales to effect positive changes in the fishery.
Steve Ressel has been interested in how temperature impacts the lives of animals that lack the capacity to maintain a constant high body temperature (as seen in mammals and birds) since graduate school, eventually leading him into the realm of winter ecology. This webinar will highlight some of the amazing adaptations that year-round animals of Maine possess in response to potentially lethal winter conditions. From frozen frogs to birds that enlarge their brains in winter, Steve’s webinar will draw on numerous field experiences that he has shared with his students while teaching Winter Ecology at COA for the past 26 years.
Mosses and liverworts have been greening our plant for much longer than we humans have been around. Isn’t it time you got acquainted with a few of them? We will show you easy ways to recognize a few of our common ones. Retired ecologist Dr. Ken Crowell and his wife, Marnie, natural history writer, will share their enthusiasm for our mosses and liverworts. This is a recording from a live Friends from the Field Webinar that was presented on Feb 11th, 2021.
Amara Ifeji will speak to her lived experiences as a BIPOC individual, the marginalization she faced in fostering a connection to place with the environment, and how her self-sought passion for water justice led her to not only foster this connection but to also serve as a conduit for other BIPOC and female-identifying students. Amara is a 19-year-old freshman at Northeastern University and the Grassroots Development Coordinator with the Maine Environmental Education Association. This is a recording from a live Friends from the Field Webinar presented on Jan 7th, 2021. The Friends from the Field webinar series is free and open to all. 

The Browntail moth (BTM) is a nonnative moth that is currently expanding it’s range in Maine. Come learn about the biology, history and current situation of browntail moth in Maine. Tom Schmeelk is a forest entomologist with the Maine Forest Service and the program lead on BTM.

Rosemary will discuss the logistics of stranding response in the region Allied Whale covers which is mid-coast Maine (Rockland) to the Canadian border. She will present the usual suspects of marine mammal species we find on and off our shores and what to do if you find a marine mammal in distress. And as seals make up the preponderance of Allied Whale’s stranding response, she will help you understand seal behaviour when viewing them on land or sea keeping in mind that not every seal needs rescuing! Rosemary Seton is a Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator with Allied Whale, the marine mammal lab at the College of the Atlantic and has worked with marine mammals for over 30 years mainly in her native Canada and the USA.

Did you ever wonder where Maine’s Great Blue Herons go in winter? In 2016, five adult Great Blue Herons were outfitted with lightweight GPS tracking devices, then released to allow researchers to follow their movements during nesting, migration, and wintering. Two of the five Maine birds migrated to Florida, one to the Bahamas, one to Cuba, and one flew all the way to Haiti! Hear all about these majestic birds, how over 100 volunteers have been monitoring their colonies for the past 12 years, and how students are integral to tracking their movements within and beyond state lines. Danielle D’Auria is a Wildlife Biologist working in the Research and Assessment Section of Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in Bangor, and focuses on statewide populations of colonial wading birds, secretive marsh birds, black terns, and loons, as well as land management issues affecting wetland habitats.

Behavior Matters: How we can empower non releasable raptors in avian education and deepen our appreciation, sensitivity, and experience with nature. Learn to see what a bird maybe trying to communicate, and what it takes Caretaker of Birdsacre, Grayson Richmond, spends his days and some nights working with and observing the educational vultures, hawks, and owls at the Stanwood Wildlife Sanctuary in Ellsworth.Empowering Avian Ambassadors through Behavior.

It turns out you don’t need to go anywhere or look far to find spiders, but it helps to know a little about them. Learn ways to find and see different kinds right here in Maine! Donne Sinderson is a spider fan from Orrington, Maine. This is the 21st in our webinar Series co-hosted by BHHT and Island Heritage Trust, featuring local naturalists, professionals from environmentally focused organizations, and outdoor learning experts to share their knowledge, virtually, during a time when we can’t all be out in the field together.

Maine Wonders – Zoe Weil shares her beautiful photos of Maine! When she’s not educating about environmental sustainability, animal protection, and human rights, Zoe Weil, co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education, is usually outdoors exploring and taking photographs. This presentation will awaken your wonder and curiosity about the amazing life in Maine so that you’ll be rushing outside to explore. Starting with sex, moving on to metamorphosis and transformation, stopping for a quick taste of Maine’s iconic beauty, and ending with the weird and wild, Zoe will provide a tour of Maine as you haven’t seen it before.

David Porter, retired from the University of Georgia, moved to Brooklin 14 years ago. He enjoys sharing his fascination with the natural history of mushroom fungi, and before the pandemic has led forays and offered classes with BHHT, IHT, CoA and Eagle Hill. In recent years mushroom fungi have garnered increased recognition of their beneficial role in forest ecology. Mushrooms may be decomposers while others cooperate with trees for mutual benefit and communication. Interest in gathering wild foods has popularized foraging for edible mushrooms as well as the importance of recognizing those that may be poisonous. Natural history and edibility aside, mushrooms are organisms of remarkable beauty that are often underappreciated. We will share personal observations and scientific information in this illustrated talk to stimulate your curiosity and lower your gaze during your walk in the woods.

Ann Pollard Ranco’s talk will focus on how her ancestral connectivity to the Penobscot Bay region has influenced her artwork and passion for environmentalism. She will discuss the collective responsibility of Land Trusts to not only ensure this homeland will be protected, but to give voice and access to the Indigenous people who still cherish this land. Ranco has been a professional artist since the age of 13. She began her career as a jeweler, collecting discarded pieces of pottery and glass from the banks of the Penobscot River and watershed, and turning them into wearable pieces of jewelry. Last year, she began painting, and has found that through a mixed media approach, art offers a vehicle to discuss broader topics that are not often bridged. Her work is represented in the Abbe Museum, and at various art shows throughout the state.

More than half the animals that live on this planet are nocturnal and have adapted their senses to succeed living in a world with limited vision. This presentation will look at some of those remarkable adaptations. It will also consider how we can explore our senses of taste, touch, hearing and smell and prepare ourselves to better appreciate them in both the day and the night world. Spoiler: night sounds will be played! Karen O. Zimmermann is a Maine Master Naturalist and author of “Nightwalk, Using All Your Senses To Explore the Natural World.”

Beavers are incredible social creatures who are second only to humans in their ability to manipulate and construct their environment to suit their needs. In this presentation, we will talk a little bit about the history of beavers in North America, as well as take a small peek into their natural history and their “personal lives” within their lodges. Join us to learn a little more about these amazing and endearing animals! Sandra Mitchell is a wildlife rehabilitator and Maine Master Naturalist who holds a special place in her heart for these little construction experts and enjoys sharing a small window into their lives.

In the summer of 2017, Michael & Rebecca Daugherty took the summer off from their jobs as sea kayak guides to live out of their kayaks along the coast of Maine for nearly two months, starting from Deer Isle and twice paddling the stretch of coast between Portland and Canada. Their experience is documented in a new book, a travel narrative written by Michael and illustrated with relief prints by Rebecca. They will share excerpts and images from the book and Rebecca will talk about her process of painting and drawing on islands and turning those ideas into prints. For the Q&A they’re happy to answer everything you ever wanted to know about kayaking but were afraid to ask.

Grace will talk about her Facebook daily nature posts, what the project is, and how it got started. Grace M. Bartlett is a Maine Master Naturalist, who lives in Bangor, Maine with her family. She enjoys exploring forest trails, meadows, rivers banks, or by the ocean. Grace serves on the Bangor Land Trust Board of Directors, Chairs their Program Committee, is a bog guide at Orono Bog Boardwalk, a volunteer naturalist at the AMC Huts in the NH White Mountains, and a trail of scenes guide at Hirundo Wildlife Refuge.

Native Gardens of Blue Hill cofounders, Cathy Rees and Avy Claire, will discuss their motivations for creating a garden of plants native to Maine. The talk will outline the challenges and potential of the site and how to find the right plant for the right place. It will provide strategies that listeners can use to incorporate natives into their home gardens.

Join Barbara Putnam for a Friends from the Field Webinar and learn why this artist/teacher chose to integrate science into her art and how she challenges her students to do the same. Barbara will share her presentation from an International Conference in Spain, including the work of students at St. Mark’s School. She will touch base on what problems Marine mammals face in the Mediterranean and problems faced by the scientists who study them.

Join Deer Isle resident, Dr. Norbert (Bert) E. Yankielun, P.E. former researcher for the U.S Army Cold Regions Laboratory who specialized in sub-surface instrumentation research for a webinar presentation. This is a non-technical, and hopefully enlightening and entertaining presentation that examines the us of readily available, open-source, digital historical maps and imagery of Deer Isle to better visualize the terrain, environment, and cultural transformations that have historically occurred in our community from 1776 to present. After this presentation, you’ll never look at your local surroundings in the same way!

Stone walls are windows through which we can learn about human history and natural history. In this webinar Maine Master Naturalist Cheryl Laz helps us understand why there are so many stones and stone walls in Maine, as well as what the walls and surrounding terrain can tell us about the human settlement and land use. There is also an examination the role of stone walls in the natural landscape as habitat for animals and plants.

Join botanist and Professor Emeritus, Peter Curtis, for an exploration of the fascinating lives of these iconic native wildflowers, from dust seeds and fungal symbionts to their habit of deceiving bumblebees. There is also a tutorial on hand pollination as a way to increase Lady’s-Slipper fruit set and seed production.

Pine barrens and grasslands are unusual habitats in Maine and critical spaces for a number of rare species. One of the strategies land stewards employ to maintain ecological balance for these habitat types is prescribed fire. Join Nancy Sferra, Director of Land Management for The Nature Conservancy in Maine, to learn about the role that fire plays in maintaining these natural communities, the benefits to plants and animals, and how monitoring is used to inform the success of management on these rare sites.

Seaweed: Biology, Natural History, Edibility, and Art! with Hannah Webber, Marine Ecology Program Director for Schoodic Institute and BHHT board member. In this webinar recording Hannah teaches us about identification, natural history, biology, edibility and even how to make art with this amazing local life form!

Bringing Maine’s native freshwater turtles out their shells and into the spotlight! In this presentation for our “Friends from the Field” Webinar Series, Maine Master Naturalist, Paul Powers, explores Maine’s often forgotten but absolutely marvelous native turtles. He will look at their life cycles, seasonal activities, discover some fun facts, go into their state status and walk through ways we can live in harmony with Maine’s freshwater turtles. Watch the recording here!

The intrigue around harvesting wild medicinal plants is ever growing. It is important to know how to harvest wild plants in ways that support their populations. We are currently putting many medicinal and edible wild plants at risk of endangerment from over harvesting and poor wildcrafting techniques. Learn how to tend wild populations of medicinal plants, so future generations may also benefit from their gifts. Learn what plants are safe to harvest from the wild and what plants are endangered. This is information anyone who works with wild plants needs to know.

Hazel shares outdoor learning ideas for families with kids in 5th grade and up. Topics include: seasonally-relevant things to look for in nature, journaling prompts to incorporate language arts and recording of scientific data, and ideas for extending backyard nature observations into other subjects, including math and art.

Chris Devore from Craig Brook Fish Hatchery, Ciona Ulbrich from Maine Coast Heritage Trust, and Alex Drenga, FWS Term Biologist and outdoor educator share educational information about anadromous fish including brookies, eels/elvers, alewife, and atlantic salmon. The presentation is geared to fish on the Blue Hill Peninsula and will provide video clips from some of BHHT’s trails and streams. Watch the recording of the May 14th live stream webinar here!

Seeing Smelt: Monitoring Sea-run Fish in Downeast Maine with Sarah Madronal, Downeast Salmon Federation – Sarah Madronal works for Downeast Salmon Federation and has been working with others in her field over the past year to create a state-wide citizen science Smelt Spawning Survey on GMRI’s Ecosystem Investigation Network. View the recording of this May 7th webinar here!

This is a recording of the first webinar in our NEW series: Friends From the Field, cohosted by BHHT and Island Heritage Trust, featuring local naturalists, professionals from environmentally focused organizations, and outdoor learning experts to share their knowledge, virtually, during a time when we can’t all be out in the field together.