Here it is… FOSI’s logo, artfully designed by Robin Tara (Tara Design, Inc.). Soon it will be appearing on letterheads and other interesting places.
At the close of 2011 FOSI wants to thank all of our members and friends who have helped make this a positive and productive year – individuals; area organizations and community groups; trail maintenance volunteers; local teachers, principal, students and parents; naturalists; and more. Each and every one has played an important role.
Here are some of FOSI’s milestones in 2011:
• celebrated the completion of the Natural Resources Inventory with a wonderful power point presentation for the public by Botanist Alison Dibble (Stewards LLC) & Jake Maier (J.M. Forestry);
• established a partnership with Searsport Elementary School, with a snowshoeing track identification trip and several trail maintenance trips; also partnered with groups from Searsport Shores Campground on cleanups and other activities;• developed a Strategic Plan and prioritized goals and objectives through 2015, with some already accomplished; • got a new website up and running, designed by Bonneville Consulting; • drafted a marketing plan to be finalized soon; • improved the appearance of the area around the gate; • restored another trail, the Green Trail west of the paved road, leading to the west shore; • held our first Open House, with a continuous slide show, guitar & vocals by Mark Aubertin, and lots of fabulous food; And, thanks to some innovative members, we now have a nucleus of “Active Volunteers” who are commited to putting their interests and talents to work in ways that best suit their schedules and work loads. Anyone who has experience that might fit a niche to benefit FOSI, please come forward and let us know. Do you have artistic skills, clerical aptitudes? Do you like planning events, taking photos, writing, organizing/leading work groups? Would you like to put into effect a special interest that we may not even have thought of?Many thanks to our outgoing President Jan Flint and Vice President Bob Ramsdell, for the time and energy they have dedicated to FOSI for several years. Thanks, too, to Treasurer Jay Economy who will be continuing in that position, and to Secretary McCormack Economy who has agreed to stay on a little longer. And welcome and best wishes to new President Marietta Ramsdell and Vice President Susan White.Many thanks to Steve Albin for getting this letter out to you and setting up the process for future newsletters.Don’t forget to check the Friends of Sears Island website for meeting announcements.
_____The mission of the Friends of Sears Island (FOSI) is to support permanent protection of Sears Island’s environmental and cultural resources; preserve its marine, shoreland, and forest ecosystems; and encourage educational and low impact recreational uses of the island.
Friends of Sears Island (FOSI) will hold its annual meeting on Tuesday, January 9, from 1:30-3:30 pm, in Union Hall on the second floor of the Searsport Town Office, 1 Union Street in Searsport. The meeting is open to the general public. Light refreshments will be served.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for anyone to learn more about our organization, and to become more involved,” according to board president Susan White. “At our annual meeting, we’ll take a look back at activities over the last year, and also a look ahead at opportunities and challenges in 2018. We are always looking for new members and new ideas to help fulfill our mission.”
The agenda for the annual meeting will include voting on a slate of board members and officers, the treasurer’s report on 2017 and the budget for 2018. Outreach coordinator Ashley Megquier will present highlights from the last year, and an overview of several programs in the works for the coming year. Following the annual meeting, the regular monthly business meeting will be held, with everyone invited to remain and participate.
Friends of Sears Island invites you to join us for a fundraising dinner at Anglers Restaurant in Searsport, Wednesday, November 8th, from 4:00pm-8:00pm. Enjoy a delicious meal, and Anglers Restaurant will graciously donate 10% of your tab to Friends of Sears Island to support conservation and education programs. This is a great opportunity to support both a local business and a local nonprofit! Anglers Restaurant is located at 215 East Main Street in Searsport. More information about the restaurant can be found at http://www.anglersseafoodrestaurant.com/ and reservations can be made for parties of 8 or more by calling (207) 548-2405. To learn more about Friends of Sears Island, visit http://www.friendsofsearsisland.org.
Join Friends of Sears Island for a branch weaving workshop with Sandi Cirillo on Sunday, October 1st, from 9am-12pm. She will lead program attendees on an exploration of Sears Island while gathering natural materials to create a weaving, suitable for display in your home or a child’s room. We’ll look for a small but sturdy branch and then learn how to weave on found items. Everyone on this outing will learn more about the environment on Sears Island and how important it is to protect it. Registration is required for this event- please call 207-975-3878 to sign-up, as space is limited. This program is free and open to ages 7 and up. Children must attend with an adult who will be responsible for their supervision.
Sandi has been a fiber/mixed media artist for over 25 years and is a retired art educator who gives many different fiber workshops in the Northeast, North Carolina, locally at her home studio in Searsport, and through Bucksport Adult Education. Visit her website, www.especially-for-ewe.com to see examples of Sandi’s work and a list of available workshops.
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 9:00am. Please bring a beach blanket to sit on while weaving and a pair of sturdy scissors. Also wear sturdy shoes, suitable clothing for hiking, and bring a snack, water, and bug spray if desired. Please no pets for this event. For more information and updates in the event of inclement weather, visit www.friendsofsearsisland.org, www.facebook.com/friendsofsearsisland, or call Ashley at 207-975-3878.
Friends of Sears Island will be hosting a mushroom walk led by David Porter on September 13th, from 10am-12pm. David is a graduate of Yale and the University of Washington, and worked as a professor in the Plant Biology Department at the University of Georgia. His specialty is mycology, the study of mushrooms and other fungi. Program attendees will observe numerous fall mushrooms, learn the basics of mushroom identification, and become aware of commonly overlooked signs of the hidden underground activities of mushrooms and other fungi and how they contribute to the ecology of the Maine forest.
This event is free and open to the public, and questions and curiosity are welcomed. 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 10am. Wear footwear appropriate for walking in the woods, and clothing to protect against ticks and the weather. Bring water, a snack, and insect repellent. Please no pets on guided walks. In the event of steady rain, the program will be cancelled. For more information and updates, visit www.friendsofsearsisland.org, facebook.com/friendsofsearsisland or call Ashley at 207-975-3878.
Friends of Sears Island will be hosting a free after-school program on monarch butterflies with Serena Cole for children ages 5-10 on September 12th, from 4:15-5:30pm. Serena has been a biology and environmental educator for 30 years. She has led student science groups to Costa Rica, and been involved with citizen science projects at Schoodic Point Educational Research Center. Children will learn about monarch life cycles and hike to a large milkweed field where they will have the opportunity to look for butterflies and carefully net and assist with tagging them as part of the Monarch Watch program, which tracks the annual butterfly migration. The milkweed field on Sears Island also just received certification as a “Monarch Waystation” through Monarch Watch, designating it as an important habitat for the butterflies. Program attendees will help install the new waystation sign in the field as well. This is an exciting way for children to get involved in citizen science. To ensure a quality experience and enough materials for each child, space for this program is limited and you must register by calling 207-975-3878.
Taking care of Sears Island has continued to be a hands-on venture this year, our second year of implementing our new Stewardship Management Plan. As always, invasive plant control is at the forefront of our efforts. We also completed more biological monitoring on long term study plots and sensitive areas (see photos). We were ably assisted by Unity College students and the Waldo County Soil and Water Conservation District’s Conservation Corps interns. Students learned about scientific data collection by assisting biologist Aleta McKeage in collecting data on plants growing in permanent plots, which are sampled every 5 years. This study will allow us to track changes in the natural community over time. The interns and other volunteers are also actively involved in our major drive to control invasive plants on the island, and have removed stands of oriental bittersweet, purple loosestrife, garden valerian and Japanese barberry. A complete assessment of invasive plants, including mapping of all known plants was completed last year, and now our push is to remove them, with a goal to eradicate many species entirely. Sears Island, in fact, is one of the few locations in Midcoast Maine that is relatively free of invasives and has the potential to be a healthy refuge for native plants and wildlife.