2022 Secretary’s Report

Our first event of 2022 was held in conjunction with the Parson’s Memorial Library in Alfred. The land trust and the library shared the costs of providing an activity bag for kids containing a snowflake craft and a winter-themed book. Families were invited to join us at Ricker Field for sledding at the “Globe” hill and hot cocoa. Unfortunately, Mother Nature did not choose to grace us with snow that weekend, but we still had a good time and were happy to meet the folks who stopped by.

Our staff members Cheri Dunning and Ruth Gutman worked together early in the year to brainstorm the next round of fundraising for the Goat Hill Trail, which underwent a major renovation throughout the summer and fall. We received a $50,000 grant from the Recreational Trails Program, and in November, Cheri, Ruth, and Board Vice President Carl Davis visited the trail with Maine-based outdoor adventurer and wheelchair user Enock Glidden for an assessment. Enock was able to highlight some further improvements that were needed, and overall gave the trail his seal of approval for meeting the US Forest Service’s standards for accessible trails.

2022 was the year of the volunteer! Board members and Cheri planned a year-long schedule of needed improvements at our public trails. We kicked off the year with over 20 volunteers on a rainy day at Walnut Hill Preserve in Shapleigh. It was a great time to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. We were thrilled with the outpouring of support, and the first event set the tone for the rest of the year. Goat Hill (Acton), Hansen Pond Preserve (Acton), Gruber Forest (Shapleigh), Pump Box Brook (Shapleigh), and Sousa Family Forest (Alfred), and Sanford Community Forest (Springvale) all benefited from a visit by our core group of volunteers who cleared brush, removed invasive plant species, opened trails, and did a variety of other important tasks for us.

In place of our summer Farm Breakfast event, we decided to throw a party at McDougal Orchards that featured an art and Maine-themed experiences auction, live music (thank you Keith Fletcher and Kathy King!), and delicious, locally sourced, hors d’oeuvres from Chef Ole at Back Road Bakery in Alfred. We were grateful to all who contributed items to the auction, and all proceeds and donations from the evening went to support the Goat Hill Trail.

The autumn brought our annual kite flying event at Romac Orchard in Acton, which is now held in memory of land trust member Philip Yakubec. The Nor’Easters kite club from South Portland joined us, along with Librarian Elise Miller from the Acton Public Library, who graced our littlest visitors with story time. We offered tours of the Goat Hill Trail, gave away a lot of kites, and shared some pizza and cider. A kite raffle in the days leading up to the event helped contribute more funds to the Goat Hill Trail.

The Forest Feast has become another fun annual event, and this year it was held as a thank you for our many volunteers. We gathered at the Hobbs Farm in Acton for a potluck and socializing.
We rounded out the year with another collaboration with Parson’s Memorial Library – a Story Walk™ at Ricker Field. The book, “Thanks to the Animals” by Allen Sockabasin, features many Maine animals and tells the story of a Passamaquoddy family moving from the coast to the forest for the winter. Our volunteers showed up for us once again to help paint story boards. We are grateful to the library for helping us promote the walk.

Throughout the year, a subsection of the board met to discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion, culminating in a retreat for the full board in the fall. We continue to discuss and explore ways in which our organization can grow and be welcoming to new members of our community.
In addition, the board completed all monitoring visits and met monthly, mostly by Zoom, but punctuated by a few in-person meetings.

Respectfully submitted,

Madge Baker
Board Secretary