January 23rd, 2016
Warmth and Cocoa at the Ecology Center on Sundays
After a relatively balmy December, January arrived with snow and seasonably cold temperatures. For the first time, the Ecology Center is being opened during the winter months on Sundays from 12-2. Volunteers from Highland Green and from the CREA Board are ready to welcome hikers as they pass by.
On January 3, the pellet stove was blazing, adding to the ongoing heat provided by the solar blanket mounted on the outside of the building. Visitors could take off their coats and enjoy a cup of cocoa as they looked around at the animals and skulls on display. Adults and children alike enjoyed the samples of various types of animal fur, admiring the softness of the beaver, the coyote, and even the skunk pelts.
Nearby, snowshoes of all sizes were organized, ready to be borrowed. The nature library was available for perusal. Animals puppets connected children and their adults. People lingered, enjoying the respite from the colder weather outside.
As part of its role as one of the three partners of the Cathance River Preserve, Highland Green is plowing the parking area and the road into the Ecology Center. People not on snowshoes or skis will be able to walk to the building with greater ease.
Those who would like to volunteer for the Ecology Center Sunday Open Houses should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Lisa Durrell, CREA Board Member
January 23rd, 2016
Trail Crossing Rebuilt
Hikers on the west end of the Cathance River Trail will be happy to see the new crossing over a very wet, stream gully. Drizzle and 36 degree weather didn’t deter Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (BTLT) Associate Director and stewardship program coordinator Caroline Eliot, Highland Green volunteer Joe Feely, and BTLT Trail Worker Cheri Brunault from building the needed replacement bridge in December.
Heavy (100-pound) planks of hemlock and base logs of solid cedar were carried to the work site over the trails before construction could be started. Hemlock and cedar are chosen for their needed rot-resistant qualities.
The trails of the Cathance River Preserve were constructed in 2004 and after ten years, they require ongoing maintenance. The partners in managing the Preserve--Cathance River Education Alliance (CREA), BTLT, and Highland Green--are working on a long-term maintenance plan. Work on the Heath Trail and other areas will continue in 2016.
Trail maintenance is dependent on funds, as well as the availability of strong volunteers who can help move heavy materials along the trails to areas needing work. Donations targeted for this ongoing trail work can be made to CREA or BTLT.
-Lisa Durrell, CREA Board Member
December 31st, 2015
2015 was a great year for CREA and we thought we'd share a few highlights.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year!
Our school programming grew to include more classrooms than ever before. In 2015, we led 132 programs that reached 1,957 students and teachers from grades K through 12. We've also piloted a slate of new programming that aligns with the new Next Generation Science Standards.
New community programs, such as our Reading Nature series, drew enthusiastic crowds. Our community programs reached a total of 837 people this year.
CREA offered a record 7 weeks of camp this year, with programs that served campers from 1st to 8th grade and a Naturalist-in-Training program for high school students.
With funding from the Maine Community Foundation, CREA has started to design a Sustainable Energy Lab curriculum that will use the Ecology Center as a real world lab for students to explore energy choices using authentic data. As part of that process, we've installed a new battery bank for our solar energy system.
We've focused on opening the Ecology Center for the public more often, with weekly open hours on Sunday afternoons throughout the year. Our new cohort of volunteer hosts leapt in to help make that possible.
Thanks to all of our members, volunteers, community partners, and participants who made 2015 a great year! We're looking forward to 2016.
November 24th, 2015
Got 3 minutes to help us improve our programs? Take our Adult Programs Survey! Click here and share your hopes and wishes for CREA's adult programming. Thanks!
September 8th, 2015
COMMUNITY NATURE PROGRAMS
Reading Nature Field Walk
Sunday, October 11
1-2:30 p.m. at the Cathance River Ecology Center & Preserve
Ever wonder why certain plants seem to grow together or why certain birds always show up in particular places? Ever discover a stand of dead trees or a perplexing set of tracks and wonder what happened to leave these clues? With a little help, anyone can learn to read nature and decipher the stories written in the landscape. Join CREA Director Matt Dubel for this interactive field walk! Designed to be a companion program to the October 8 presentation at the Topsham Public Library, though you don't need to attend the presentation to participate in this field walk.
Meet at the Ecology Center. Directions available here
To see the list of all Community Nature Programs, click here.
For more information, contact email@example.com.
August 4th, 2015
CREA Intern Presentations
Come see Cathance River Education Alliance interns present the results of their summer research projects!
Wednesday, August 5, from 4:30 to 6:30 PM in the Highland Green Community Center, 7 Evergreen Circle, Topsham
Cameron McPherson, McGill University, "Solar Electricity in Maine: Investigating the Progress, Potential, and Prospects of Solar Energy in our Community"
Colleen Thrasher, McGill University, "An Introduction to Ecological Economics"
May 26th, 2015
CREA & The Topsham Public Library present:
Wildlife in Spring (Live Animals)!
Tuesday, May 26, 6:30-8 p.m. at Topsham Public Library
Early spring is a busy time for wildlife. The Center for Wildlife from Cape Neddick will be on hand to present an interactive family program featuring seasonal adaptations and several of their live non-releasable wild animal ambassadors. Using hands-on displays, educators will share great tips for spotting spring wildlife in your own backyard.
Bring your whole family to this live animal interactive program! FREE and open to the public.