March 2017

Paint for Preservation Artists' Application 
Deadline  is March 24th

Artists who would like to be considered for our  Paint For Preservation  benefit auction this July 9th
must apply by March 24th.    In celebration of our 10th Annual Paint for Preservation event, and with appreciation for the artists who make this auction possible, CELT will not be charging an entry fee this year. 

Participation is open to all mediums and will be juried by Kelley Lehr and John Danos, new owners of Greenhut Galleries, along with gallery founder Peggy Greenhut Golden.  Artists interested in participating can find application details on our website  

Our 'Wet Paint' auction will be hosted this year by Tilly Hagen, at her home on Breakwater Farm Road,
Photo courtesy of Martha Agan
overlooking Richmond Island.  Artists will paint en plein air Friday, Saturday and Sunday, capturing some of Cape's most scenic vistas. Community members can visit artists as they paint throughout the weekend. Sunday afternoon the artwork will be auctioned at a catered outdoor reception. 

Proceeds from this very special event benefit CELT's conservation of the shorelands and marshes, farmlands and woodlands that provide scenic beauty, recreational opportunities and important wildlife habitat in Cape Elizabeth.

We look forward to celebrating 10 years of preservation through art!

Meet Our New  Membership and Development Manager!
Please join us in  welcoming our new Membership and Development Manager, Patty Renaud. 

Patty is excited to be rejoining the land trust community, having previously built membership support for both Maine Coast Heritage Trust and the Natural Resources Council of Maine, as well as other nonprofits in Maine and Washington, D.C.  She's eager to share her fundraising and event management skills to engage more people in Cape in helping to conserve the town's natural places and special character. 

Patty explains, "I grew up creating my own trails through the woods and fields around my home and spending vacations on my cousins' farm, so helping to protect the very special lands and family farms of Cape Elizabeth has a special meaning for me. I've already enjoyed meeting many of CELT's members and volunteers and look forward to getting to know many more of you. Please stop by the office to introduce yourself!" And contact her at,

Patty is a graduate of the Leadership Intensive program offered by the Institute for Civic Leadership (now called, Lift360), and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New Hampshire. She lives in South Portland and loves to dance, to walk the many trails around Cape (especially Robinson Woods), hike, kayak and snowshoe. This summer she's hoping to explore a new pastime she was introduced to last year, paddle boarding! 

Upcoming Events for April

Cottontail Rabbits, with Andrew Johnson 
April 6th, 6:30 p.m.
This is part of the Thomas Memorial Library's ongoing Maine Wildlife Lecture Series.  The program 
gets underway at 6:30 p.m., in the library's Community Room. There is no charge to attend and all are welcome. See a listing of all lectures in this series on the  library's website .

Sprague Land Walk: Winter Tree ID and Cottontail Habitat
April 8th, 9 - 11 a.m.
Join Ram Island Farm Property Managers John Greene and Todd Robbins on this CELT-sponsored lesson in winter tree identification. You'll also learn how to improve New England cottontail habitat during the program. This unique opportunity to visit one of Cape Elizabeth's most beautiful pieces of property, while learning about nature in Maine is not to be missed!  Meet at Sprague Hall and be prepared to walk, rain or shine. Participants are encouraged to register early, as spots are limited to 12 people. Read more details  here.

We have more events coming up this spring; check our website

CELT Board Profile: Nick Owens 

Although he's new to our board, Nick Owens is a Cape native and has a long history of working with the Land Trust. Nick has volunteered at our triathlons and with stewardship, including trail and bridge work in Robinson Woods, and his parents, Beth and Tony Owens, are long-time, devoted CELT supporters.

Nick and his wife Maya live, "in an awesome neighborhood near Two Lights."  They both love Cape's open spaces, Nick says, noting, "They're part of what makes our town special." 

Monday through Friday Nick is a consultant at The NorthBridge Group, working with clients in the electricity industry. But most weekends you'll find him on our trails or on his bike. "I love Cape roads and the Cape 
biking community."

When weather permits, he's also cruising over to Richmond Island, via his paddle board. "Richmond Island is my favorite spot. I like to go there late on Sunday afternoons to reset before the work week begins.  Standing there on the beach, it's easy to be grateful. It's good for the soul!"

Nick looks forward to working with CELT on its membership activities, including expanding the support base to include more young families who appreciate how land conservation contributes to the beauty, serenity and community we enjoy in Cape Elizabeth.

Can You Help Monitor Cape's  Alewife Population?

CELT is looking for volunteers to help with alewife monitoring in Alewife Brook again this year. We will monitor from mid-April to mid-May, in the early morning.

Please contact Patty at if you're interested in assisting. It's a rare opportunity to spend time in this important little waterway.

Naturalist's Corner:  
Spending the Winter as a Painted Turtle

Painted turtles (Chrysemys picta) are one of the first reptiles to emerge from their winter dormancy. Thanks to their tolerance of human activity, and their love of social basking, these turtles are usually a sight you can depend upon for a spring, summer or fall walk. We don't see them in winter because they are buried underground - holding their breath all winter long. 

Ok, that's a slight exaggeration for dramatic effect, but only slight! The ability of painted turtles to survive anoxic environments, or places with low oxygen, has been well-studied. This ability comes from a number of neat adaptations, both behavioral and physiological. First, turtles choose their over-wintering site wisely. They dig down into the bottom mud of a shallow (less than 7 feet deep) water body, usually about 3 feet deep. They will also dig under land, where snow (if present) serves to insulate them from the cold air temperatures. 

Once burrowed, painted turtles begin to slow down their body functions, until their hearts beat only once every 2-3 minutes. They then begin to respire anaerobically, or create energy without oxygen. We humans do this when exercising to the very limit of our physical ability, and our bodies use oxygen faster than we can breathe it in. This creates lactic acid, which causes the cramps that result from aggressive exercise. Painted turtles must also deal with a build-up of lactic acid. Their shell and bone help to buffer these effects by, 1). absorbing lactic acid for the duration of winter and, 2). releasing alkalizing ions into the body, which lessen the acidic effect that high amounts of lactic acid would otherwise be producing. 

The relationship of adaptations on the macro and micro scale never fail to remind me how wonderfully different wildlife are suited to their environment.    - Linden Rayton, CELT Education Coordinator 

1. Jackson, D.C. "Hibernating without oxygen: physiological adaptations of the painted turtle." Journal of Physiology, Sep. 2002.
2. "Maine Amphibians and Reptiles." Edited by Malcom Hunter et al. University of Maine Press, Orono, Maine. 1999.
3. Gervais, J., D. Rosenberg et al. "Conservation Assessment for the Western Painted Turtle in Oregon." Sep. 2009.
4. Wikipedia. "Painted Turtle." Last modified Jan. 26, 2017.
 T apping Sugar Maples in Cape Elizabeth

As March days warm up while nights remain cold, New Englanders know it's time to tap sugar maple trees! Sap buckets hooked to trees are becoming a more common sight in Cape Elizabeth. This year, one of CELT's Board Members, Elizabeth Goodspeed, is giving sapping a try. 

"I have fond memories of helping my grandfather sap," says Goodspeed, who decided to start small
Bubbles and Jimmy keep watch over Elizabeth Goodspeed's first tap
and tap just one tree in her yard. 
Another Cape family, Jingping Xie and Gavin Welch on Mitchell Rd, have been tapping trees in their yard for four years; they tap five of their trees each year. 

Over at Ram Island Farm, John Green and Todd Robbins, have a much larger operation, with 32 taps on 28 trees. Thus far this year they have made three gallons of syrup and are anticipating another sap flow this coming week as temperatures warm up again.

A large tree can produce up to 10 gallons of sap in one year. However, it takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup, once it's boiled down and the water is evaporated. Although sugar maples tend to be preferred sapping trees for their higher sugar percentage, other species of trees can be tapped, including red, black and silver maples; even some birch trees. 

Humans can't take full credit for discovering maple syrup; red squirrels have been observed using their sharp teeth to penetrate the bark of trees to access the sap. (Source: Winter World, by Bernd Heinrich.)
To learn more about the production of maple syrup, and enjoy some sweet tastings,  check out the family-friendly Maine Maple Sunday, March 26th.

Did you lose this in Robinson Woods? Stop into the CELT office to claim it.
News from Robinson Woods

With the arrival of spring, salamanders and frogs will begin to lay eggs in the ponds and vernal pools in Robinson Woods. Help us protect the new generation of these beautiful amphibians by keeping dogs out of all water features and leashing dogs on the sensitive Wild Flower Trail.

Also, all dog walkers, please remember that off-leash hours in Robinson Woods changed with Daylight Savings Time. Dogs are allowed off-leash on the Robinson Woods II Pond Trail before 10 a.m. daily. Dogs are allowed off-leash on the Robinson Woods I Outer Loop Trail after 4 p.m. daily. In order that we may all enjoy this incredible property to its fullest, please remove all dog waste.  

Trail maps and more information on the Robinson Woods preserve and all of our trails can be found on our website

From Our  Executive  Director...

Robinson Woods is such a treasure for our community and an excellent example of how land conservation takes place. The Robinson family, due to their commitment to conservation of their historical property, generously offered the property to the land trust. Then, after CELT purchased the preserve, the Pond family provided an easement on the back of their land to connect the trail from Robinson Woods to the Methodist Church property on Route 77. Public access to the woodlands, fields and pond is a true gift!

As I walk daily at Robinson Woods with my dog, I appreciate this preserve with so many beautiful vistas and hidden germs like this wooden sculpture against the snow (at left). The ice on the trails, packed down from heavy use, is continually changing as we approach spring - on some days melting away, while others covered with new snow. The waterfall too, is solid ice one day and a flowing stream the next (at right).

At CELT, we have recently been preparing a more detailed management plan for this property to replace the original plan. One of our board members has complied a history of the property, and this will soon be made available on our website;  it's filled with fascinating information. 

It's my hope that you too are enjoying this preserve. We always welcome your stories, and your photographs, to share in our newsletter and on the CELT Facebook page!

Cindy Krum
CELT Executive Director
Cape Elizabeth Land Trust

Cape Elizabeth Land Trust | 330 Ocean House Road | Cape Elizabeth | ME | 04107