Dear FBC Supporters,
As 2016 comes to an end, I wanted to take a moment to reflect upon an outstanding year with all of you. Thinking back to January, we started off on a high note and rang in the new year with a new preserve, Bean Island, donated to FBC on January 7! As equally exciting, Maine Coast Heritage Trust and FBC received a $1 million North American Wetland Conservation Act grant to acquire fee title and easement properties in the Schoodic Mountain to Schoodic Peninsula area.
March brought us a new office manager, Carly Talbott, who has been an outstanding addition to the FBC team. At the end of March came even more exciting news – we expanded our flagship Tidal Falls property to eight acres. There are many exciting improvements and changes to come at Tidal Falls in 2017!
By April, we were off and running into the busy stewardship and event season. In collaboration with the City of Ellsworth, we held a clean-up at Card Brook in celebration of Earth Day. May brought warmer days, black flies, preserve clean-ups, a bird hike and a children’s program at the Ellsworth Library.
In June, we celebrated National Trails Day at the Branch Lake clean-up with the City of Ellsworth, enjoyed a plant hike at Corea Heath led by Jill Weber, welcomed our Maine Conservation Corps steward, Jake Manning, began our new weekly volunteer work days, held the grand opening of the beautiful Taft Point Preserve, and closed on a new property, Lower West Bay Pond (stay tuned for more details)! Phew! June was busy.
Summer in Maine truly begins in July and it wouldn’t be summer without FBC’s Monday Music series at Tidal Falls which was enjoyed by hundreds of community members. On July 8 we held the grand opening of the Schoodic Connector Trail, which connects 6.5 miles of trail from Route 1 to the summit of Schoodic Mountain! Our annual Lobster Dinner on July 22 was enjoyed by over 120 of our supporters, overlooking the reversing falls just before low tide at Tidal Falls Preserve.
In addition to the Music Series, Friends of Taunton Bay and FBC offered a weekly Friday night science lecture series during July and August held at Gordon’s Wharf. On August 7, the annual meeting was combined with the third and final grand opening celebration at Bean Island. We welcomed three new board members at this meeting: Mary Brennan, Steve Gurin, and Henry Sharpe. More than 100 of you joined us on an idyllic summer day for a picnic and hike around the island! With the last major summer event completed, my husband and I welcomed a baby girl, Eleanor Mae, on August 13.
During September and October, FBC offered a fall hike series in collaboration with the Downeast Senior College and in celebration of Great Maine Outdoor Weekend, which held special month-long programming in the Acadia & Downeast region in celebration of the National Park’s Centennial. Meanwhile, Jake Manning continued plowing through trail and preserve improvement work with all of you who volunteered throughout the season.
By the end of October, all 25 miles of FBC trails had been cleared, groomed, and blazed. Additionally, Jake and volunteers built and installed 5 new trail head kiosks and hiker log boxes at all FBC preserves! We said goodbye to Jake mid-November and wished him well at his new full-time position with the USDA Farm Service Agency in Ohio. Jake will be missed, but we are very grateful for the tremendous amount of stewardship work he and volunteers accomplished this year.
Finally, FBC’s Autumn Trail Race, which is part of the Downeast Double Trouble Trail Race Series co-hosted with Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust, was held on November 6. This year’s trail race featured a new 8-mile route traversing the new Schoodic Connector Trail!
And with that, 2016 comes to an end. It has been an impressive year for the Conservancy. Thank you for volunteering with us, celebrating community with us, hiking trails & enjoying the outdoors with us, and most of all, for supporting our mission to conserve distinctive ecosystems and landscapes for the benefit of all. We are already hard at work planning events, activities, and preserve improvements for next year.
In 2017, after three decades in operation, Frenchman Bay Conservancy looks forward to celebrating our 30th anniversary with all of you!
Warm winter wishes,
Eileen (Bader) Hall
Community Outreach Coordinator