It’s hard to believe our time in Grand Lake Stream has come to a close after four unforgettable weeks. We feel fortunate to have been able to spend even this short time in such a spectacular region and welcoming community. I am confident that the memories we forged here will last a lifetime.
In our last two weeks working at Downeast Lakes we continued to immerse ourselves in the remarkable range of events and activities the land trust supports. We braved a slight headwind to kayak the six-mile course of the West Grand Lake Race. It was a beautiful day to be on the water and to enjoy a burger with fellow racers afterward.
We had the opportunity to sit in on two more of the “Explorations and Adventures” education programs facilitated by Downeast Lakes. Local Maine children’s book author, Mary Morton Cowan, spoke about the timber harvest history of the Downeast region, which is the subject of her newest book, “Timberrr.”The kids even got to try their hand at using a few traditional logging tools. Children and parents alike thoroughly enjoyed learning from Rebekah Raye, an illustrator whose books highlight Maine wildlife. After reading from one of her stories, she led the group in creating charcoal drawings inspired by nature.
In our third week, we used aerial maps and a GPS unit to locate and assess abandoned beaver dam sites that may have been built on top of old logging roads. The dams blocked stream channels and in many cases caused warm water to amass in flowages behind the barrier. The warm water build-up is often harmful for brook trout populations that require cold-water habitat. Alongside volunteers, we helped to remove several such dams along Rolfe Brook in the Community Forest, restoring valuable aquatic and riparian habitat.
With Orion Timberlands forester, Kyle Burdick, we toured a timber harvest site outside the Downeast Lakes management area. It was interesting to learn about sustainable harvest practices from both an ecological and an economic perspective. We gained valuable insights into the challenges DLLT encounters in designing forestry practices to cultivate a diverse range of high value, high quality timber stands, while still working toward its habitat management goals.
Our internship with the Downeast Lakes Land Trust has been an incredibly rewarding experience. We were continuously impressed by the organization’s commitment ensuring the long-term integrity of the Grand Lake Stream region’s unique ecosystems, as well as the hunting, fishing and timber activities at the heart of the community’s economy and rich cultural heritage. It was great to see how invested the community is in conserving its remarkable natural resources and how supportive it is ofthe land trust’s activities. We look forward to applying the skills and knowledge we gained during our time with DLLT in our future conservation work and studies.
Fiona Dearth and Katherine Pierce