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Portsmouth Herald encourages "Vote Yes on 2"

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Norton at Night 

by Gary Mitchell

I've been going out to Norton at night, and it has been interesting to hear and occasionally see what goes on. I've heard woodcock and been reminded of the pleasure of watching the male woodcock mating ritual.

 From the ground the male will give his nasally "peent" call, which goes on for several minutes before he bursts into flight. He then ascends rapidly, flying in a wide circle while making a twittering sound. Once the circle is completed, he free falls straight out of the sky until just above the ground where he spreads his wings and glides to a landing where his mating flight began. After watching several of these flights, I realized that his flight path was always the same from one flight to the next, so while he was high up in the sky, I would quickly move to where he would fall from the sky. Eventually I got close enough that if I reached out my hand, I could have caught him. It was quite a thrill.  

When I was banding birds at Plum Island, I had the pleasure of retrieving a woodcock from the nets. It was a very strange looking bird with its large side mounted eyes, long rubbery bill and large feet.  I was surprised at how big it was.  I barely was able to get it in the banders grip.  I was also surprised that he smelled of musk since most of the birds we banded had little if any odor.

Bird watching is only one of the delights that places like Norton Preserve offer.


On the heals of Rustlewood Farm effort, KLT tackles Brave Boat

By Deborah McDermott
August 31, 2013 2:00 AM

KITTERY, Maine — The Kittery Land Trust, fresh from its first major fund-raising effort at Rustlewood Farm, has now embarked on an equally significant challenge — raising money to purchase a 60-acre Brave Boat Harbor Road parcel.
The KLT announced Thursday night that it had signed a purchase and sale agreement with Stone Meadow LLC, owned by developer Joseph Falzone of Stratham, N.H.
Falzone has plans to build a 27-lot subdivision that would front Brave Boat Harbor Road near the York town line. These plans would continue if the land trust is unsuccessful in its bid to purchase the property by Sept. 30. A closing is set for Dec. 2.
On Friday, KLT Director Christine Bennett provided a few more details about the plans, although she said she is precluded by agreement with Falzone from divulging the cost.
She said Falzone's offer was "fair," adding "we both agreed on a price and we agreed on a quick purchase because that affected the price."
She said the process the land trust will go through in the next 30 days is similar to an individual securing a mortgage. The group will need to find "up-front capital and initial pledges" for the down payment. It then anticipates borrowing the remainder from a conservation financing foundation.
She said such foundations act, in essence, as banks, loaning money at a fixed interest rate.
"We've had some commitments" of initial funding already, "and we've had some indications that lenders would look favorably on this."
A big reason is because of where the land is located. According to Bennett, the property is in the middle of 850 unfragmented acres, the largest area of undeveloped land in Kittery.
It is also situated next to the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge and is at Brave Boat Harbor.
She said because the KLT would be loaned the money for the purchase, it anticipates a quick, one-year fund-raising effort to pay back the money and own the property outright.
She said there are hopeful signs that much of the cost of the purchase could be covered through grants. The Land for Maine's Future is expected to receive as much as $15 million in bonds by the first of the year. Moreover, the Kittery, York and Great Works Regional land trusts are waiting to hear if they have jointly received a $1 million state wetlands grant.
The Stone Meadows purchase will be lead by the KLT in conjunction with the Mount Agamenticus to the Sea Coalition of local, state and federal agencies that work to preserve land in the Mt. A region.
"We'll be the ones executing the purchase, but we will all work together" to help raising the funds, Bennett said.
Still, she admits the next months are going to be challenging. The final purchase of the agricultural easement on Rustlewood Farm on Wilson Road is set to occur in November. Federal, state, local, nonprofit and individual funds were used for that purchase.
"In some ways, Rustlewood Farm gave us confidence that we can tackle large and complicated projects," she said. "In other ways, (the Stone Meadow deal) gave us pause because it came so quickly on the heels of the earlier project."
She said, however, "my sincerest hope is that this is going to go forward."
Correction of information in highlighted segment above: Moreover, the Kittery and York land trusts and Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) are waiting to hear if they have jointly received a federal grant for wetlands and waterfowl conservation.

Guide to Seacoast Maine's Nature Preserves

The fold-out guide features:
17 preserves in Southern York County
Beautiful photos
Useful summaries of trail conditions
Noteworthy facts
Simple driving directions

Now Available
Members will receive a complementary copy with this year's membership renewal. If you would like more than one copy or are not a KLT member, maps are available at the new KLT Office (in the East Wing of Kittery's The  Community Center) for $3.95. We can also mail you a map for $5, which includes shipping and handling.

The guide was created thanks to The Gateway to Maine Outside collaborative: Great Works Regional Land Trust, Kittery Land Trust, York Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy, The Center for Wildlife, White Pine Programs, Mount Agamenticus Conservation Initiative, and the Choose to Be Healthy Partnership, and The Youth Enrichment Center at Hilton-Winn Farm.

Over the last 25 years, these members-supported non-profits, through their grass roots conservation efforts, have created preserves, trails, watershed protection efforts, and wildlife awareness.

“Keeping nature close to home is what we are all about. Aren't we lucky to have such a diversity of places permanently protected and open to all, just minutes from our doorsteps?” says KLT’s Executive Director, Christine Bennett. The guide "demonstrates to our generous supporters the progress we are making in the greater Mt. Agamenticus region."

Mt A to Sea Conservation Initiative
For the past decade, KLT, along with York Land Trust and Great Works Regional Land Trust and in cooperation with seven other local, statewide and national agencies, has collaborated on regional environmental efforts through the Mt. Agamenticus to the Sea Conservation Initiative.

Did you know that Mt A to Sea Conservation Initiative (MTA2C), as it is known, has conserved over 14,000 acres of natural, cultural and recreational resources within the six-towns surrounding Mt. Agamenticus (Kittery, York, Eliot, South and North Berwick, Wells, and Ogunquit)? The MTA2C Initiative is celebrating it's 10th anniversary this year.

Additional sponsors of the Guide to Nature Preserves and Water Access Points of Southern Coastal Maine include Kennebunk Savings, Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s L. L. Bean Grant Program. Kittery Trading Post is an annual Outdoor Adventure program sponsor. Support for these programs also comes from local organizations and individuals.

KLT Active Partner in Gateway to Maine: Outside


Gateway to Maine Outside

The Gateway to Maine: Outside: effort encourages people to enjoy the natural beauty and health benefits of connecting with nature in southern Maine.  The Adventures in Nature Series and Gateway to Maine: Outside web site are cooperatively sponsored by: Great Works Regional Land Trust (GWRLT), Kittery Land Trust (KLT), York Land Trust (YLT), The Center For Wildlife (CFW), White Pine Programs (WPP), Mount Agamenticus Conservation Program (Mt.A.) and Choose to Be Healthy (CTBH).  Support for these programs also comes from local organizations and individuals.  To plan your next outdoor adventure, visit