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The Hawthorn

The Hawthorn
Fall 2016

Come Celebrate Holiday Season
at Merryspring’s Winter Wassail
For the second year in a row, Merryspring will be holding a Winter Wassail party for
friends young and old alike to celebrate the winter solstice and to ring in the holidays.
This free community event will be held on Saturday, Dec. 17, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. It is
open to all in our mid-coast community.
Wassail (from the Old Norse "ves heil” and Old English “was hail”) is a beverage of hot
mulled cider, traditionally drunk as
Old Apple tree, old apple tree;
an integral part of wassailing, a
We've come to wassail thee;
medieval ritual intended to ensure
a good apple cider harvest the folTo bear and to bow apples enow;
lowing year. It is often associated
Hats full, caps full, three bushel bags full;
with the Yuletide celebration, with
Barn floors full and a little heap under the stairs. participants drinking from a large
—from the the Apple Orchard Wassailing at Carhampton.
communal “wassailing” bowl.
Last year’s Winter Wassail was a great success, bringing holiday cheer and good tidings
to all who attended. Many guests were first-time visitors to the park who have come
back to walk the trails, attend a program, or even become a member. We hope to
continue this tradition as an annual community celebration and to promote Merryspring as a place for people to gather, explore, and reflect on nature.
This year’s program will again feature many indoor and outdoor activities. To keep
everybody warm, campfires will burn all day and plenty of hot wassail will be
served. Eric Evans will lead a chestnut roasting demonstration, and local children’s
author Liza Gardner Walsh will do a reading from one of her fairy books. As we
light up the night with a traditional Finnish Jätkän kynttilä, or logger’s candle, singers led by Susan Shaw will fill the winter air with song and spirit to
celebrate the solstice.

Come See Our Holiday
Craft Table on Dec. 3
As part of the Christmas by the Sea Weekend,
Merryspring will have a table filled with holiday
craft items for sale at the annual First Congregational Church Craft Fair in Camden on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Some of the
special items for sale will include hand-crafted
cards, bows, ornaments, sprays, greenery, condiments, and more. All proceeds from the Merryspring table benefit the Nature Center.

Scenes from last
year’s Wassail.

Wassail Schedule
Saturday, December 17
2:00 – 3:30
 Pinecone birdfeeders
 Holly crowns
 Other crafts and games
 Campfires
2:30
 Chestnut roasting demonstration
3:00
 Liza Gardner Walsh reading
3:30
 Lighting of the "Jätkän kynttilä"
 Singers, dancers, other performances
All Day
 Campfires, hot wassail

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The Hawthorn

Merryspring
Nature Center
P.O. Box 893, Camden, ME 04843
Tel: (207) 236-2239
Fax: (207) 230-0663
Email: info@merryspring.org
www.merryspring.org

President’s Message
By Ray Andresen
Another exciting, eventful year at Merryspring is drawing
to a close, and I’d like to mention here a few highlights.

First, as you can see on the facing page, we have begun
restoring the Kitty Todd Arboretum. This large, wooded
Mission Statement
section of the Nature Center is a wonderful educational
Merryspring’s mission is to practice, resource, one that suffered extensive damage in the winteach, and advocate sound principles ter storms two years ago. Our goal: to make it once again
of ecology, conservation, and hortian outstanding example of Maine’s native tree species.
culture in order to protect our
natural environment and to provide
natural landscapes and cultivated
areas for public enjoyment.

Hours of Operation
The park is open free of charge from
dawn to dusk every day of the year.
Our offices and library are open
Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m.
to 2 p.m., or by appointment.

Membership Levels
Individual

$35—49

Family

$50—99

Friend

$100– 249

Donor

$250—499

Steward

$500—999

Conservator

$1,000—2,499

Partner

$2,500—4,999

On page 4 is an article about one of our many successful
Educational Outreach Programs, this one with the Children’s House Montessori School. Merryspring Program
Director Brett Willard has organized and run a variety of
these outreach programs, both on-site and off-site, that
engaged hundreds of young children from our mid-coast
communities in nature-themed activities during 2016.
Another highlight this year was our continuing series of
Tuesday Talks. With subjects like Winter Birding, Sharks
of Maine, Photo Tour of the Galapagos, Backyard Herbalism, and Chasing Maine Butterflies, we drew excellent
crowds to the Ross Center each week.
We continued to build Collaborative Partnerships with
other organizations. We co-sponsored two Owl Prowls
with the Riley School and two volunteer workshops with
Maine Coast Heritage Trust. And, of course, we cosponsored two weeks of Summer Ecology Camps with
Knox-Lincoln Soil & Water conservation District for the
third straight year.

Fall 2016

Inside this issue:
Winter Wassail

1

Holiday Craft Table

1

President’s Message

2

New Trustee

2

Grant Awarded

2

Arboretum Project

3

Flowers for Sale

3

Montessori Learning Days

4

Snowshoes

4

Education Calendar

5

Worm Bin Kit

5

Union RAMS

6

Kitchen Tour Recap

7

Volunteer Party

7

Reservations

8

Merryspring Receives
Grant from UMCC

United Mid-Coast Charities recently awarded a $1,000 grant to
Patron
$5,000 or more
Merryspring Nature Center. The
$1,000 will be dedicated to MerKeeping in Touch
Finally, our biggest fundraiser, the Kitchen Tour, was anYou can sign up for our eUpdates at
ryspring's children's programs,
www.merryspring.org to receive the other resounding success. More than 500 people, many of including two weeks of Summer
latest news on programs and events. them visitors from away, attended this year’s Tour, reEcology Camp designed to introflecting well on Merryspring and our local community.
Or you can visit Merryspring’s Faceduce young children to nature,
book page, where you can check on
ecology and natural resources
upcoming events. Please go to
though hands-on outdoor activiwww.tinyurl.com/merryspringLocal plant expert Dennis Milliken of The Green Thumb
ties, observation nature walks, and
facebook/.
was elected to the Board of Trustees in September, bring- gardening. Shown below at the
Board of Trustees
ing the current number of Merryspring Trustees to 10.
2016 UMCC Grant Awards PresenRay Andresen, President
Dennis was a member of the original Board when Mertation on September 20 are MerSarah Rheault, Vice President
ryspring was established in the early 1970s.
ryspring Vice President Sarah
Richard Ailes, Treasurer
Kathleen Kull, Secretary
A Camden native and member of the first graduating class Rheault (left) and United MidCoast Charities board member
Scott Carlson
from Camden-Rockport High School, Dennis originally
Kristen Lindquist
Joan Phaup (right).
planned to enter the priesthood and has a degree in phiDennis Milliken
losophy and theology from St. Francis College (now the
Karin Rector
University of New England). He switched to horticulture,
Susan Shaw
however. “I always liked plants,” he explained. “My room
Barton Wood
during high school and college was full of them.” Instead
Staff
of taking a teaching position in Hawaii, he took a job at
Toni Goodridge, Managing Director
Merry Gardens with Mary Ellen Ross, who later founded
Brett Willard, Program Director
Denise DeSpirito, Gardens Manager Merryspring. He then moved on to Bob’s Flowers and
Hoboken Gardens before joining The Green Thumb,
©2016—All Rights Reserved
where he is easing into retirement.

Milliken Joins Board of Trustees

Fall 2016

The Hawthorn

Page 3

Maine Conservation Corps Improves Arboretum, More Work to Come
The Kitty Todd Arboretum is getting some much needed improvements. The work started this summer, when a crew of 13 Maine
Conservation Corps volunteers tackled some of the “heavy lifting” of the project.
Led by Senior Field Team Leader Lindsey May, the crew completed over 370 hours of volunteer work in the Arboretum. Armed with
chainsaws, pick axes, hammers, and other tools, they removed more than 80 trees, cleared over a half-mile of overgrown trails,
built three new erosion bars, constructed a stepping-stone stream crossing, and
built a new stone staircase. In addition to this, crew members widened, raked,
and better defined trails throughout the Arboretum.
This work is part of a larger project to restore the Arboretum, part of which is
being funded by a grant from the Maine Forest Service Project Canopy program.
Project Canopy aims to educate the public about trees, to raise awareness of
their benefits, and to connect people in understanding Maine’s forests.
The Arboretum restoration is not yet complete, with much more work needing
to be done by next spring. In addition to making the trails safer and easier to
navigate, the entire Arboretum
will be completely and more
accurately mapped. Trails will
be renamed and marked, reMCC Crew poses at entrance to Arboretum.
placing the old and confusing
system. To better emphasize the education goals of the Arboretum, an entirely
new system of signs will be designed to replace the old ones, many of which have
been lost or damaged over the years.
These new signs will have more complete information on the tree species, including photos and natural histories of each specimen tree. Finally, a new entry kiosk
will be placed at the entrance of the Arboretum, providing a map and tree listings, New stone staircase improves walkability.
and will be consistent with the design of the other kiosks around the park.
There is still a long way to go in completing the total project, but we hope guests enjoy the new infrastructure in the Arboretum.
Some of the Arboretum’s best corners and secrets are now more accessible. We are excited to continue with the next phase of the
project, and look forward to a future where the Arboretum is again a hallmark of dendrology for Merryspring and the Midcoast
community.

Poinsettias for Sale!

Paperwhites, too!

You can beautify your home or office
Paperwhites are easy to grow
while supporting Merryspring Nature
and need nothing more than a
Center's educational programs by
container, water and stones or
purchasing locally-grown, longbeach glass. You can either pot
lasting poinsettias from Merryspring
the bulbs right away or store
this year. Each plant costs $10 (plus
them at room temperature in a
tax) and comes in a 6" pot wrapped
dark place for up to six weeks. They make great hostess gifts
in festive green foil. Care instructions and children enjoy watching them grow.
are included.
Merryspring's paperwhite bulbs are $1.50 each, and preTo place your order, please call 236-2239 or send an email to
potted arrangements are priced from $8 to $20. Every purinfo@merryspring.org. You can also copy and print the mail-in
chase comes with instructions, and members receive a 10%
order form by clicking here. Pre-payment is required. Orders will
discount.
be accepted through Wednesday, Nov. 30.
Stop by the Merryspring office to purchase your paperwhites
Plants will be ready for pick-up at Merryspring on Saturday, Dec.
10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

while supplies last. Office hours are Tuesday through Friday
from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Be sure to place your order today!

Or if you're short on time, you can call 236-2239 or email
info@merryspring.org to reserve your bulbs for pick-up when
it's convenient.

The Hawthorn

Fall 2016

Page 4

Children’s House Montessori Students
Enjoy Outdoor Learning at Merryspring
This autumn, students from the Children’s House Montessori School visited
Merryspring regularly. Every other Wednesday throughout September and
October, lower elementary students came to the park not just for a simple
field trip, but for their entire school day.
Outdoor Learning Days have been a beneficial collaboration for both organizations. The program came out of a mutual desire for both groups to work
together more often. Students and
staff from Children’s House, which is
located right on Elm Street in downBrett teaches the group about bird nesting boxes and
town Camden, have visited Merhabitat.
ryspring multiple times over the past
few years for seasonal field trips. Seeing an opportunity
for greater collaboration ahead of the new school year,
Children’s House Jade Door teacher Leah Trommer
reached out to Merryspring Program Director Brett
Willard this summer.
“Part of the mission in a lower-elementary Montessori
classroom is what we term ‘going out.’” Says Trommer.
“The idea is that students of this age (6 to 9 years old)
benefit tremendously from exploring beyond the boundaries of their classroom. This of course allows them to
deepen their education and expand their understanding
of their community and world.”
Balsam sap is sticky!

Collecting fruits and seeds of fall.

Going out to Merryspring, students enjoyed their entire
class day outdoors. The daily curriculum was adapted for
the setting, with classroom lessons from the week expanded upon in the garden and woodland setting. During
each visit, Brett led the students with interactive natural
science lessons. Subjects included how the seasons
Students explore the gardens makchange, how plants and animals get ready for winter, fall
ing nature observations.
migrations, and habitat. Students were also treated to a
guest visit by Avian Haven to teach about the work they do with wild bird rehabilitation.
We’re very grateful for our partnership with Children’s House, and look forward to continue
working together in 2017. Outdoor learning days will continue in spring 2017, with inclassroom outreach programs occurring throughout the winter.

We Have New Snowshoes!
Thanks to a generous donation from LL Bean, Merryspring now has six
new pairs of snowshoes for use at the park.
Merryspring is a great place to visit in winter, and snowshoeing provides a low-impact, cardio intensive exercise for those who love the
frozen outdoors. The new snowshoes are high-quality, aluminum
shoes with rubber gaskets and cramp-ons. They come in three different sizes, from children’s to adult — perfect for a family outing.
Merryspring members will be able to borrow snowshoes during operating hours by signing them out in the main office. Snowshoes will also
be available during weekend programs and field trips.
See you on the trails this winter!

Snowshoers enjoying a walk
in the park.

The Hawthorn

Fall 2016

Page 5

2 0 1 7 Eve n t s C a l e n d a r
WINTER TUESDAY TALKS
January 24

Making Mead in Maine — Sean Bailey

January 31

Maine’s Coastal Preserves — Betsy Ham

February 7

Winter Houseplant Care & Pest Management — Dennis Milliken

February 14

The Creation of the Katahdin Woods & Waters National
Monument — Lucas St. Clair

February 21

Food Corps in Maine—Michelle Erhard

February 28

Creating Winter Arrangements — Sharon Caron

March 7

Northern Maine’s Wildlife — Ron Joseph

March 14

Indigo Dying — Amelia Poole

March 21

The Spruce Budworm in Maine — Allison Kanoti

April 4

The Wild Seed Project — Heather McCargo

April 11

Allagash Tales — Tim Caverly

Winter Walk
January 21, 10 a.m.
Explore Merryspring’s winter ecology
with Brett Willard. Free program.
Snowshoes recommended but not
required. Some pairs of snowshoes
will be available for use.

Worm Bin Harvest Party

SPRING TUESDAY TALKS
April 18

Sustainable Seafoods — Nichole Price

April 25

Maine’s Mighty Rivers — Landis Hudson

May 2

Acid Rain in Maine — Steve Norton

May 9

To Be Announced

May 16

Gardening for Bees—Amy Campbell

May 23

Wading Shorebirds — Lindsay Tudor

May 30

Tending the Perennial Garden in Late Spring — John Fromer
All Tuesday Talks begin at 12 noon and generally last about one hour.

February 9, 6:00 p.m.
Jock Robie teaches how to use worm
bins to turn kitchen waste into useful
soil amendments. Free program.

Seed-Starting Workshop
March 4, 10 a.m.
Learn how to propagate perennials
and annuals from seed indoors for a
mixed flower and vegetable garden.

Worm Bin Harvest Kit Available at Merryspring
Merryspring now has its own Worm Bin Harvest Kit for rental use. Regular attendees of our triannual Worm Bin Harvest Parties with Jock Robie are familiar with
these systems of large plastic tubs and screens used to separate castings from the
rest of the vermicompost.
Robie has donated a single worm bin harvest kit for willing worm workers to pick up
at Merryspring for use at home. The kit is free to anyone. All that is required is a
signature and a phone number. Worm fans can borrow the harvest kit for up to one
week and it must be taken home for use.
For more information on the worm bin harvest kit, or to get involved in our regular
vermicomposting programs, email Brett at education@merryspring.org.

Page 6

The Hawthorn

Fall 2016

Union RAMS Students Get the Job Done
As seasons change, there is always more work to be done at Merryspring, and we
rely heavily on volunteers to get many of these bigger tasks done. This autumn
we were very fortunate to have the help of one class from Rivers Alternative Middle School in Union.
Rivers Alternative Middle School (RAMS) provides adolescent
“Merryspring is fun. students with another choice to the traditional classroom exGo there.”
perience. At this school, which is based in Union and part of

MSAD #40, students are greeted with a hands-on approach to
learning, which focuses on experiential education and community involvement.
Josh Carpenter’s class first came to Merryspring for a field trip. While exploring
the park and learning about
wildlife identification and invasive species, some students became especially interested in the
American Chestnut Foundation
orchard. Seeing a future service
learning opportunity, Josh inquired if his class would be able to do some
service learning projects at the Nature Center.

“The work we did would have taken
someone 15 hours, but we did it in an
hour and an half.”

“The compost didn’t smell as bad as
I thought it would.”

Since that initial field trip, the class has come to the park twice more. Eight students, along with two teachers, Merryspring trustee Kristen Lindquist, and American Chestnut Foundation breeding coordinator Eric Evans, took to the trees to
harvest chestnuts. While it sounds easy, harvesting chestnuts is tough:
they grow very high on the trees, and they are
“I learned about American
covered with spines.
Chestnut Trees.”

The RAMS students returned again earlier this month, this time putting some
time in the gardens. The kids cleared out the FedCo kale beds and cleaned up the five vegetable beds in the
children’s garden. They even got the rose garden ready for winter, collaring and insulating each rose plant
American Chestnuts
with a supply of compost to
keep them warm and “fed” all winter.
We really appreciate all of the help that Rivers Alternative Middle School has
“Robbie and I tried some hot
peppers from the beds. They provided to Merryspring,
and we are pleased to be
burnt our tongues.”
an outdoor setting for the
students to learn and give back to their community.
The RAMS plan to back next spring to explore the Nature Center and lend a helping hand to Merryspring
again.
“I really liked helping out. It made me feel good to help.”

How to Become a Merryspring Volunteer
Want to become a Merryspring volunteer? Just stop by the office or call 236-2239. We are always
looking for more volunteers. We can use your help in our gardens or fixing up our trails. Looking
for an inside job? How about helping out with our educational programs or fundraising events. We
can even use your help around the office, with our nature library or gift shop. There’s always
something to do.

The Hawthorn

Fall 2016

Page 7

Many Thanks for Making
Kitchen Tour a Big Success
This year’s Kitchen Tour was another tasty triumph for Merryspring. More
than 500 people attended the 2016 Tour, helping to raise more than
$24,000 for the Nature Center in a single day.
This year’s Tour-goers were able to visit eight beautiful homes, six in Camden and two in Rockport, where they had the opportunity to look at the
latest in kitchen designs and sample gourmet treats prepared by local chefs
and caterers.
While it lasts just one day, the Kitchen Tour takes months of preparation
and perseverance to pull it all together, and for that we are truly indebted to our 2016 Tour Committee of Ray Andresen, Toni
Goodridge, Dorothea Graham, Edie Kyle, Carol Ann Rosa, Doris Smart, and Mary Waltz. We are also very grateful to Charlie Graham
and Paula Armentrout for the special assistance they gave us before the Tour, and to the dozens of volunteers who helped park
cars, check tickets, guide guests, and do so many other tasks on Tour Day.
Merryspring would also like to thank everyone who contributed to the success of this year’s tour, especially the local homeowners
who opened their doors and to the local chefs who provided the culinary delights for our tour attendees.
Our deepest gratitude goes to these gracious homeowners, without whom there would have been no tour: Sally and Allen Fernald,
Kate and Alex Cohen, Theola and Dave Gelerman, Theresa and Jeff Davis, Neall and Steve Johnson, Maureen Egan and Tim Seymour, Sheila Davenport, and the owners of 5 Dillingham Point
A round of thanks also to the talented chefs, food purveyors and
staff from Blue Sky Cantina, Café Miranda, Fiore Artisan Olive
Oils & Vinegars, FOG Bar & Café, 40 Paper, Laugh Loud/Smile
Big, Laura Cabot Catering, Maine Street Meats, The Market Basket, Pig + Poet, The Red Barn Baking Company, The Rhumbline,
State of Maine Cheese, and Uncle Willy’s Candy Shoppe, as well
as private chef Katherine White and Susan Boivin of MSAD 28.

Want to Be Part of 2017 Kitchen Tour?
We’re looking for new Committee members to help select the
homes and chefs for next year’s Kitchen Tour. We’re also
starting to look for local homes to be featured on the tour,
which will take place on Wednesday, August 9, 2017.
If you would like to volunteer for the Committee or to nominate a new or remodeled kitchen for the event, whether it’s
your own home or someone else’s, please call the Merryspring
office (236-2239) or send an email to info@merryspring.org.

We would also like to express our deepest appreciation to EBS
Style Solutions for once again being the major sponsor of this
event. Thanks also to Stonewall Kitchen, Francine Bistro, and
Surroundings for providing raffle prizes for the Kitchen Tour; and
additional thanks to Kerry Altiero of Café Miranda for sharing proceeds from the sale of his cookbook and to Maureen Egan for
contributing her International Recipe Cards for sale on the Tour.

Finally, Merryspring would like to thank the many businesses, designers, craftspeople, and friends who contributed financial support for the Tour, including: A. E. Sampson & Son, Ltd, Amy Fischer Design, Inc., Bench Dogs, Inc., Brown Appliance & Mattress, Inc.,
Carol A. Witham , Certified Medical Exercise Specialist, Cayouette Flooring, Inc., Christian H. Fasoldt, Architect, Christopher Glass
Architect, Crestwood Kitchens, David C. Olivas, DDS, Distinctive Tile & Design, EBS Style Solutions, Evergreen Ridge Carpentry, Fixtures Designer Plumbing Showroom, Francine Bistro, Freshwater Stone, Harbor Builders Associates, Hedstrom Electric, PC, Interiors
By Janis Stone, Jack McKenney Studio / Gallery, Jackson Landscape Services, Kelsey's Appliance & Sleep Center, Inc., Lanphere &
Son, LLC, Lee Schneller Fine Gardens, Lighting Concepts, Lorraine Construction, Maine Stone Design Center, Margo Moore Interiors,
Peter T. Gross Architects, P.A., PHI Home Designs, Pierce's Plumbing & Electric, Pine Ridge Carpentry, Rockport Mechanical, Inc.,
Rockport Steel, Scholz & Barclay Architecture, Silverio - Architecture + Design, Smith & May, Inc.- Hearth & Patio Showroom, Steve
Caron Painting, Stonewall Kitchen, Surroundings, The Good Table, The Granite Shop, Inc., The Rockport Co., TREEKEEPERS LLC.

Volunteer Appreciation Party
In what has become an annual ritual, Merryspring held a Volunteer Appreciation Party on
Friday, October 7 to thank all of our wonderful volunteers. There were lots of tasty treats
and beverages, plenty of good raffle prizes, and (thankfully) just a few short speeches. A
special slide presentation of volunteers at work and play provided extra entertainment on
the screen inside the Ross Center throughout the celebration.

P.O. Box 893
Camden, ME 04843

Reserve Merryspring for Your Event
Remember to think of Merryspring when you or your friends
are planning a wedding, memorial service, meeting, or party.
Conveniently located near Route 1 in Camden and Rockport,
Merryspring offers a secluded, quiet location for your event.
Stunning gardens and an outdoor hexagon are perfect for
small ceremonies. A well-tended lawn bordered by flower
beds filled with spectacular color from June through September will accommodate a tent for up to 200 guests. And the
meeting room inside the Ross Center can accommodate up
to 40 people.

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