A big thank you to all CELT members and friends who came to Turkey Hill Farm for our Fall Gathering and Annual Meeting on October 22nd, and thanks to our community sponsor, Saco Biddeford Savings Institution. The expected rains held off for another Sunday as more than 100 people enjoyed the afternoon at the farm, with presentations about native tree species and the climate benefits of healthy salt marshes. Volunteer Andrea Southworth was recognized for her outstanding service, and five new board members were elected by the membership.
For a second year, we combined our annual meeting with a celebration of the still-new place-based learning program for middle schoolers held at Turkey Hill two days a week during the fall and spring. Twenty-one 7th grade students led walks in the woods to present their projects learning about different tree species.
Dr. Beverly Johnson, Charles A Dana Professor of Earth and Climate Sciences at Bates College, talked with the group about how important healthy salt marshes are to climate resiliency and how restoring marshes can have great benefits. Bev’s research focuses on four marshes in Maine, including Spurwink Marsh in Cape Elizabeth, Jones Creek Marsh in Scarborough. Her presentation generated the usual lively question and answer exchange. You can read more about her studies in this Portland Press Herald article on August 13 of this year.
During the annual meeting, retiring board members Lisa Gent, Bill Luneburg, and Suzanne McGinn were recognized and thanked for their years of service over a transformative period, helping to build the land trust to what it is today. CELT members then elected five new individuals to the Board of Directors: Lynn Bailets, Jill Darling, Whitney Hess, Kevin Jordan, and Rick Rosu-Myles. They each bring a variety of experiences that will serve the organization well into the future. You can read more about them here.
Volunteers continue to be the lifeline of this organization. Last year, CELT benefited from the help of more than 150 community members building trails, helping with office tasks, taking pictures, leading walks and programs, serving guests at Paint for Preservation, and putting up event tents, to name just a few tasks accomplished by volunteers. Each one is important to accomplishing our work.
One person in particular stands out – Andrea Southworth – who was recognized this year for her tireless efforts on CELT’s behalf. Whether leading work parties to remove invasive plants, writing grant applications, building New England Cottontail “rabbitats”, or coordinating the replanting of native species at CELT’s office, she is always willing to pitch in. She also helps lead many educational programs and nature walks for the wider community. Thank you, Andrea!
Thanks to everyone who made the Fall Gathering and Annual Meeting another great community event in celebration of land conservation in Cape Elizabeth!