Friends of Sears Island will be hosting a winter ecology walk on Sunday, March 12th from 1:30 pm- 3:30 pm. Enjoy a late winter walk on Sears Island with Maine Master Naturalists Sally Jones and Donne Sinderson, while searching for animal tracks in the snow, signs of spring, and observing the ever changing beauty of the island. Families with children are welcome and encouraged to attend.
This event is free and open to the public. Sears Island is on Sears Island Road off Route 1 just east of Searsport. Participants should park along the causeway at the end of the road and meet at the kiosk near the island gate by 1:30 pm. Snowshoes and walking sticks are encouraged but not necessary. Please wear footwear and outdoor gear appropriate for winter hiking. Bring binoculars if desired, as well as water and a snack. Please no pets on guided walks. For more information and updates about cancellations in the event of extreme weather, visit facebook.com/friendsofsearsisland or call Ashley at 975-3878.
Last summer, Friends of Sears Island (FOSI) developed and implemented a comprehensive stewardship plan for the 601-acre Conservation Area on Sears Island, thanks to grants from the Maine Community Foundation, the Davis Conservation Foundation, and the Town of Searsport. Aleta McKeage and Cloe Chunn of GreenWays Center and Consulting Group led this ambitious effort, with help from college interns, Belfast High School and Unity College students, and FOSI volunteers, logging over 120 hours in the field.
Field managers surveyed the island for invasive plants and with the help of students and volunteers, removed a significant portion of the established plants, eradicating most purple loosestrife and oriental bittersweet from the area, and also eliminating many single bushes and patches of Japanese barberry. Garden valerian and purple loosestrife were completely removed from the sensitive coastal dune grassland area, which is a rare plant community in Maine. Biological and sensitive features monitoring, mapping, and the developing of resources and tools for “citizen scientists” were also components of this project.
The observations made this summer and other data formed the basis for creating guides to birds, wildlife and plants on the island, which include checklists, printable picture guides and field journals, now accessible on the Friends of Sears Island website. Tools for reporting observations and submitting photos are also available on the website, as well as an Inaturalist project that can be used to submit observations using a Smartphone. As people visit the island and report noteworthy sightings of flora and fauna, FOSI hopes to accumulate a thorough record of changes on the island over time.
This intensive monitoring and management program will continue to provide many opportunities in the coming years for those who care about Sears Island to help protect the island and the plants and animals that reside there.
Friends of Sears Island invites you to join us for a fundraising dinner at Nautilus Seafood & Grill in Belfast, Wednesday, February 22nd from 4:00pm-9:00pm. Enjoy a delicious meal, and Nautilus will graciously donate 10% of your tab to Friends of Sears Island to support conservation and education programs. Please note, when you arrive at the restaurant, you must tell your server you are there to support Friends of Sears Island. This is a great opportunity to support a local business and a local nonprofit!
Nautilus Seafood & Grill is located at 3 Main Street in Belfast. A menu and more information about the restaurant can be found at www.nautilusseafoodandgrill.com, and reservations can be made by calling 207-218-4218. FMI: contact Ashley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-975-3878.