Friday, August 7, 2009

A Vital Partnership:
Laudholm Trust and the Wells Reserve

By Jim Kanak
Staff Columnist
During the past school year, it was common to see students from the Wells Ogunquit Community School District gathering at the Wells Reserve for after school programs. If Laudholm Trust President Diana Joyner has her way, that trend is likely to continue in the future. Involving the Trust and the Wells Reserve more deeply in the surrounding communities is one of Joyner’s principal goals.
“We need to begin to build a new group of stewards who will be passionate about taking care of the world around us,” Joyner said. “We want to teach young people and young adults what it means to protect the natural resources of coastal Maine, about clean water, vistas, and agricultural uses, abut things that are happening in the estuary, storms and runoff and their impact.”
One of the first steps in doing that was to reach out to the Wells Ogunquit Community School District. Joyner and Suzanne Eder, the Reserve’s Education Director, did that last fall.
“We got together with (Wells Junior High Principal) Chris Chessie and (WOCSD Assistant Superintendent) Ira Waltz,” Joyner said. “They were as excited as I am about the possibilities. Now we have a curricula here in the summer geared from first grade to high school. Chris is the head of science in the entire district. We hosted (the district’s science team) here. Now we have an idea from teachers in each grade for next year.”
The collaboration started with a pilot project for seventh and eighth graders. “We did five different weekly programs,” said Eder. “We looked at things like bird banding, bee keeping, soil and composting. It’s been wonderful Next year we’ll continue it. We’ve also worked with the school on wellness and suggested ways to integrate wellness activities and the Reserve into the curriculum.”
Joyner’s strategy is not limited to the school district, but to the entire surrounding communities. She said the goal is to make Laudholm Farm more visible. “A key strategy of the board is to heighten visibility of Laudholm Farm,” said Joyner. “It’s been a well kept secret for 26 years.”
Part of that visibility is educating the public on the relationship between the Trust and the Wells Reserve, as well as the variety of programs and activities that the Reserve conducts routinely.
“Laudholm Trust was formed first to raise money for maintaining this place and doing programming at the Wells Reserve,” said Joyner. “The Reserve relies on the Trust to raise matching dollars. The Trust is the only one of 27 reserves across the country that is not part of state government. We’re a 501-c-3; the Reserve is a quasi-state agency. We’re the most unique partnership.”
It’s also important to make people aware of the Reserve’s operation and how it benefits the community. “Behind the scenes, the staff at the Reserve is collecting real data about the environment,” Joyner said. “We help the state, town and community planners understand the resources in their community. The Reserve helped Sanford put together a program to understand its resources. We have GIS to create maps to assist in planning for economic development. I’m trying to advocate about the tools we have here.”
Joyner noted that the music festival at Laudholm Farm on Aug. 2 was another example of outreach to younger members of the community. “I realized quickly that I needed to understand better how to communicate with younger people,” she said. “We formed a committee of younger adults. It’s called Next Gen. The music festival was their idea. I’m getting great direction from this group.”
Joyner has barely been on the job for a year but also has plans for expanding the programming offered into the winter months, to benefit people that live in the area year round. There are also a couple of road races coming up. It’s all targeted at getting out the word about Laudholm Farm as a community resource. “For me it’s important to get back to our roots - the Kennebunks, Wells, Ogunquit, York, and the Berwicks,” she said. “And re-engage with them.”
Photo caption: From left to right are Wells Reserve Education Director Suzanne Eder, WOCSD Assistant Superintendent Ira Waltz, Laudholm Trust President Diana Joyner and Wells Junior High School Principal Chris Chessie. Behind them is a portion of the historic barn at Laudholm. (Reg Bennett photo)

Miles for Max,
Cycling for a Good Cause

Max Palmer is a handsome 4 year old boy and the grandson of Janet and Jim Bither of Kennebunk. At 18 months he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer that strikes the central nervous system and the adrenal gland. Max has received extensive treatment for the past 33 months at Children’s Hospital Boston and the Jimmy Fund Clinic.
Since Kennebunk is one of Max’s favorite places, it was decided to hold a bike ride here on August 29th. The idea for the ride came from Mike and Janet Weston, friends of Max’s grandparents.
It is a beautiful ride throughout the Kennebunks and its glorious coast. Enjoy beautiful Goose Rocks Beach, Cape Porpoise, the back roads of Kennebunkport, Kennebunk Beach and Walker’s Point as you ride for this worthy cause. The ride begins and ends at the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust. The ride will include 10, 20 and 40-mile segments. All proceeds from the ride will go to pediatric cancer research at Children’s Hospital Boston.
We would like riders of all abilities and ages. Everyone who rides receives a free Miles for Max tee shirt and a post ride cookout lunch. Check out our website, register to ride, meet Max, be a sponsor, and take a look at our silent auction items.
Photo caption: Miles for Max, a charity bike ride to benefit the Jimmy Fund Clinic in Boston, is on Aug. 29 in Kennebunk. Pictured is Max, four years old. (Courtesy photo)

Public Safety Day for Seniors at Kittery Estates

By Devin Beliveau
Staff Columnist
When it comes to safety preparedness, many senior citizens in the Kittery area are now a well-informed group. This is due in large part to the Senior Citizens’ Public Safety Day that was held on Aug. 1st at Kittery Estates independent living retirement community.
Senior citizens from Kittery and several surrounding towns were invited to visit Kittery Estates for a day of safety tips, booths run by public safety officials, and even a full-fledged pig roast. The goal of the day was “to make seniors aware of what’s available to them in Kittery, and to help them become familiar with different services, such as the police and paramedics,” said Kittery Estates Manager Susan Rydza.
Safety organizations present on Saturday included the Kittery Police Department (KPD), Kittery Fire Department (KFD), York County Emergency Services, and the York County Elder Abuse Task Force. Civic organizations such as the Kittery Rotary Club and the Kittery Lions also set up booths to talk to local seniors.
Swing and jazz music played outside as seniors mulled about the various booths, with a pig roasting on a spit in the background. Kittery Estates Executive Chef Todd Sweet had been up since 3a.m. preparing for this large luncheon, which was free for all area seniors.
Also hosting a table was the Kittery Police Benevolent Association (KPBA). “I’m a big proponent of community partnerships,” said Officer Brian Cummer, President of the KPBA. “Kittery Estates has been excellent. The Kittery Police Department has had meetings over here, and we’ve even had a spaghetti dinner.”
The KPD wanted to “reach out to the elderly because they’re victimized a lot more than the average person. Computer crimes and frauds are especially tricky and complicated, so what we’re going to do here is provide them with some information and pamphlets,” Cummer explained.
Tickets were sold throughout the event for a 50/50 raffle to benefit the KPBA. “What we do with the money is turn it around and give it back to the community,” said Cummer. “Just last week the Kittery Recreation Department came up a little short for one of their events, and we’re going to provide them with money to help out.”
KFD volunteer firefighter Toby Bowden saw the day as “a chance for us to get out when it’s not an emergency, and let people see what we do, interact with us and get to know us. It helps when we’re actually at an emergency if someone can see friendly faces that they remember.” Standing next to a KFD fire truck, Bowden commented “we also have some fire safety brochures and stickers for the kids.”
In addition to the free lunch, coffee, and ice cream, Susan Ryzda added, “we’re also handing out these “File of Life” magnets. When services come to help seniors, this should be posted on their refrigerator. It has their medications, their wishes, what they need, surgeries they’ve had, allergies, etc. Paramedics know to look for this. It’s an important piece of equipment that can help save lives.”
Kittery Estates residents and non-residents alike turned out on this sunny day to see what the event was all about. “We heard about this and decided we better go down and see what’s going on,” said Alan Brackett, a local senior who does not live at Kittery Estates. “It sounded like something special, and I wanted to see what was going on,” said Kittery Estates resident Helen Miedema. “Plus, they have wonderful meals.”
For more information, contact Kittery Estates at 438-9111.
Photo caption: Senior citizens talk with Kittery Police Officers at the Kittery Police Benevolent Association booth at Kittery Estates’ Senior Citizens Public Safety Day. (Devin Beliveau photo)