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August 2012 eNewsletter
Dear Friends,

As we appreciate the gifts of summer and enjoy wild places across the region, take a moment to read an update on our projects, and consider a contribution to the Northeast Wilderness Trust to help us succeed in our conservation work. We can't do it without your help!

Southwestern Maine: Earthrest Preserve


About an hour's drive northwest from Portland and less than an hour from the White Mountains is the town of Hiram, Maine. This small community is home to Pat Foley, a retired retreat center owner who

Earthrest Preserve view
Earthrest Preserve view

has lived on her land for about 20 years--and has come to love its wild character. Pat has observed grey and red fox, bobcat, coyote, fisher, bear, weasel, deer, moose, bald and golden eagle, woodcock, flying squirrel, and many other animals, including turtles, snakes, frogs, small mammals, and all kinds of birds, on her property. Because she recognizes its importance as wildlife habitat and feels a responsibility to protect this land from the threat of development, Pat has generously offered to donate 265 acres to Northeast Wilderness Trust and to make a donation to our stewardship fund to ensure the land's long-term care.


The property, known as Earthrest Preserve, is part of a large block of undeveloped forest within the Sebago-Ossipee Hills region and includes a mostly forested rocky hill over 1000' in elevation. Earthrest Preserve has high value for rare plants, including at least one endangered breeding population.


When asked about her reasons for choosing to donate her property, Pat says, "The Earth's undeveloped wild land is our capital. If we maintain enough of it intact, it will provide us with interest, both now and in future years. The interest includes clean water, fresh air, sequestered carbon, a safe place for forest plants, fish, and wildlife to regenerate, a place where we humans can go to find peace and restoration. I would like to do my part to be sure these things, tangible and intangible, are available to future generations."


We are delighted to help Pat protect this extraordinary property for all to enjoy, and to see that it remains wild and natural--forever.




American Chestnut Research

Once a key species in eastern forests, the American chestnut was decimated by blight in the early 1900s. American chestnut now survives only in pockets, with the healthiest stands outside of its natural range. Within the Trust's Alder Stream Preserve, the "Atkinson Grove" of American chestnuts represents one of the largest sites of naturally regenerating chestnuts nearest the native range of the species.


Scientists from Purdue University, The American Chestnut Foundation, and other institutions are launching a three-year study at the Atkinson Grove to better understand how the chestnut disperses its seeds and naturally regenerates. The long-term goal of the research is to understand the early life stage ecology of American chestnut in natural forest settings in order to aid in restoration efforts.

Chestnut burr
Chestnut burr with the typical 3 seeds (courtesy TACF) 


The American Chestnut Foundation is working to restore the American chestnut tree to our eastern woodlands, and recently kicked off a multi-year project to plant approximately 12,000 potentially blight-resistant seedlings to reforest former mine sites in five states. The Northeast Wilderness Trust hopes the Atkinson Grove study will help inform such restoration plantings and will contribute to the reestablishment of this foundation species across its former range.  




Central Maine: Alder Stream Preserve

Lands owned by Northeast Wilderness Trust in the Alder Stream Preserve are about to increase by 1700 acres--almost three square miles--thanks to the generosity and far-sighted vision of the Sweet Water Trust, a Massachusetts-based foundation committed to wilderness conservation.


"We are delighted to be able to transfer ownership of these beautiful lands in Maine to the Northeast Wilderness Trust," said Eve Endicott, executive director of Sweet Water Trust. "Before doing so, we'll transfer an easement on the property to the Forest Society of Maine, thereby ensuring that the lands will be well cared for and will remain wild forever," she said.


In addition to donating the property, Sweet Water Trust has agreed to make a substantial financial contribution to the Northeast Wilderness Trust's stewardship fund to help cover the costs of annual property taxes, management, and long-term care of the lands. We are deeply grateful for the generosity, leadership, and inspiration that Sweet Water has shown us on this and other projects over the years.


Once the transfer is completed later this summer, the Northeast Wilderness Trust will own more than 4,500 acres of wilderness waterways, wetlands, and forests in the Alder Stream Preserve, and we will continue working vigorously to add to this legacy for future generations to enjoy, and for wildlife to call home.


Many thanks to all of our supporters who received our recent letter and made a gift to support our work. We currently have more than a dozen conservation projects on the roster, and they all cost money to complete. Every dime we receive from you in donations makes a difference and enables us to succeed. Please help if you can, and let us know if you have any questions or suggestions.
Happy summer!



Jennifer Esser, Communications Director 

Welcome Marisa!


We are excited to welcome Marisa Riggi, NWT's new Conservation Coordinator. Marisa will be coordinating stewardship efforts and managing the Bristol, VT office. Marisa recently completed her degree requirements for a Masters in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont and is now finalizing her thesis project on environmental policies in the Adirondack Park. A native of Buffalo, NY, Marisa visited Vermont often as a child and has always been drawn to the state's natural beauty. We are grateful for Marisa's organizational skills, work ethic, positive energy, and enthusiasm for wilderness conservation.


We also say goodbye to Rose Graves, who brought a keen mind, strong knowledge of natural history, and passion for science to her position as Conservation Director. We miss her, but wish her the best of luck as she pursues a PhD in Landscape Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Conservation Coordinator Marisa Riggi
New Conservation Coordinator Marisa Riggi

Citizen Scientists Form Teams   


Keeping Track volunteers in New York's Champlain Valley are preparing to begin their real work as citizen scientists. Northeast Wilderness Trust has sponsored two year-long Keeping Track programs--which train volunteers to detect and interpret the tracks and other signs of animals such as bobcat, black bear, fisher, and moose--in the Split Rock Wildway region. Volunteers recently gathered to form teams and choose the locations they will be monitoring for wildlife sign. Teams will head out over the next two months to begin walking transects and reporting data that will be used to better understand wildlife presence and movement in the region, and to set conservation priorities for the Trust.

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Northeast Wilderness Trust



PO Box 405

21 Prince Lane, Suite 2

Bristol, VT 05443

Alder Stream
Alder Stream

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