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The Hawthorn

The Hawthorn
Winter 2018

Come Celebrate The Winter Wassail Schedule

At Merryspring’s Free Wassail
Saturday, December 15

2:00 – Highland Mary Morris Dancers
Crafts for kids. Chestnuts on an open fire. Holiday singers. Lots of wassail. 2:00 – 5:00 – Children’s crafts and
That’s just some of the fun and goodies in store when Merryspring holds its fourth annual activities
Winter Wassail on Saturday, December 15, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. 2:00 – 5:00 – Camp fires, hot wassail,
This is a free community celebration open to all Merryspring members, friends, first-time light refreshments
visitors, local families, and individu-
2:30 – Chestnut roasting demonstra-
als of all ages.
tion with Eric Evans
As always, the Winter Wassail will
3:00 – Vocal performances by Mill
include a variety of indoor and out-
Street Singers and Children’s Wassail
door activities. The Mill Street
Singers, led by Susan Shaw, will fill
3:30 – Lighting of the Jätkän Kynttilä
the air with song and spirit to cele-
brate the winter solstice, along
with a special performance by the Children’s Wassail Chorus. Merryspring
volunteers will lead hands-on crafts and activities for families. Outdoors,
there will be a chestnut roasting demonstration led by Eric Evans. The event
culminates with the lighting of the Jätkän Kynttilä, a traditional Finnish log-
Watching as the festive Finnish Jätkän kynttilä burns.
ger’s candle.

To keep everybody warm, campfires will burn all day, and plenty of hot wassail (and other refreshments) will be served.
Wassail, for the uninitiated, is a beverage of hot mulled cider. It is traditionally drunk as an integral part of wassailing, a medieval
ritual intended to ensure a good apple cider harvest the following year. It is often associated with the Yuletide celebration, with
participants drinking from a large communal “wassailing” bowl.
In case of bad weather, the Winter Wassail will be held on Sunday the 16th at the same times.

Merryspring-Made Crafts Available
During Christmas by the Sea Fair
The Merryspring Elves have been at it again. You can see what
they’ve been up to — and go home with some of their handi-
work — when you go to the Annual Craft Fair at the First Con-
gregational Church in Camden on Saturday, Dec. 1 from 9:00
a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This will be the third year in a row Merry-
spring has participated in this Christmas-by-the Sea event.
Some of the special items for sale this year at the Merryspring
tables include holiday wreaths, table arrangements, hand-
crafted cards, bows, ornaments, room sprays, bird seed items,
greenery, paperwhites, condiments, coffee mugs, nature
books, framed bird photos, and more. All proceeds from
the Merryspring table benefit the Nature Center. Merryspring Trustees Karin Rector and Sarah Rheault at a previous craft fair.
Page 2 The Hawthorn Winter 2018

Merryspring President’s Message Inside this issue:
Winter Wassail 1
Nature Center Another Good Year Holiday Craft Sale 1
P.O. Box 893, Camden, ME 04843 By Ray Andresen
Tel: (207) 236-2239 President’s Message 2
Fax: (207) 230-0663 It’s been another successful, eventful year at Merryspring. Carla Skinder Joins Board 2
Email: We have lots to be thankful for. Outer Islands Students 3
First, our environmental education programs continued
Mission Statement to be a big draw. Our Tuesday Talks attracted more than Youth Outreach Programs 4
Merryspring’s mission is to practice,
800 people to 34 presentations on everything from Horse- Fairy Festival Recap 4
teach, and advocate sound principles
of ecology, conservation, and horti-
shoe Crabs to Otters and Painting with Beeswax to Grow- Events Calendar 5
culture in order to protect our ing Hops. The weekly series also included talks on Back-
Greenhouse Classes 6
natural environment and to provide yard Herbalism, Tending the Perennial Garden, Preserving
natural landscapes and cultivated Alpine Habitats, and Protecting Maine’s Beaches from Herbalist Gathering 6
areas for public enjoyment. Plastic Pollution. Volunteer Opportunities 7
Hours of Operation We also held 10 Weekend Workshops, including sessions
Snow Shoes Available 7
The park is open free of charge from on Mushroom Identification, Creating Your Own Bonsai,
dawn to dusk every day of the year. and Backyard Maple Sugaring. Our 12 Free Family Pro- Winter Walk 7
Our offices and library are open
grams included the ever-popular Fairy Festival (see page Grants Received 7
Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m.
4), a Bug Safari, and several Worm Bin Harvest Parties.
to 2 p.m., or by appointment. Merryspring Reservations 8
Our two weeks of Summer Ecology Camp, co-sponsored
Membership Levels
with the Knox-Lincoln Soil & Water Conservation District,
Individual $35—49 were close to full enrollment; and our Community Out- Carla Skinder Joins
Family $50—99
reach to local schools, scouts, and other youth organiza- Board of Trustees
tions grew to 520 young people engaged in nature hikes,
Business $50 or more Carla Marie Skinder of Tenant’s
classroom activities, or outdoor learning experiences.
Friend $100– 249 Harbor has been elected to Mer-
Second, our buildings and grounds continued to receive ryspring’s Board of Trustees.
Donor $250—499 much-needed attention. The Ross Center has a new deck
Carla has been a global warrior
Steward $500—999 and stairs; several new wooden benches have been con-
working on behalf of animals all
Conservator $1,000—2,499 structed and placed around the garden area; and a new
her life. During her summer break
Partner $2,500—4,999 Staircase Trail was built to create
from college in 1971, she worked
easier access to a particularly steep
Patron $5,000 or more at an animal hospital in Natick,
section of Merryspring’s trail net-
Keeping in Touch Mass., where she met a baby har-
work. We also made further im-
You can sign up for our eUpdates at bor seal, Serendipity, that had to receive the provements in the Kitty Todd Arbo- been separated from its mom. This
latest news on programs and events. retum and the Forts & Fairy Houses experience prompted her to pur-
Or you can visit Merryspring’s Face- area.
sue work at the New England
book page, where you can check on One particular piece of our 66-acre Aquarium, where she spent the
upcoming events. Please go to property took on surprising signifi- next 10 years caring for all manner
cance this year when local archae- of marine animals. She ran the
ologist Harbour Mitchell started Marine Mammal Stranding Pro-
Board of Trustees excavating a small, nondescript de- gram, rescuing and recovering
Ray Andresen, President pression in an open meadow. His marine animals from Maine to
Sarah Rheault, Vice President digging unearthed some footings Staircase Trail
Barton Wood, Treasurer Florida. She also had the pleasure
and a trove of glass, ceramics, and other relics dating back and privilege of taking care of
Scott Carlson, Secretary
Dennis Milliken
to the days of the American Revolution. Rockport’s own Andre the Seal at
Karin Rector Third, our cultivated gardens continued to attract visitors this aquarium for several years.
Susan Reider from here and away. The gardens were the centerpiece Carla has traveled to every conti-
Susan Shaw for several weddings and parties during the year, as well nent to meet animals on their
Carla Skinder as the Annual Maine Herbalist Gathering (see page 6). home turf, from the Falklands to
Staff Our new raised beds were a big hit with our friends from Morocco, Zimbabwe to Vietnam,
Toni Goodridge, Managing Director Coastal Opportunities. The gardens also served as the all the while studying and photo-
Brett Willard, Program Director backdrop for several classes and workshops as well as a graphing those animals to enable
Denise DeSpirito, Garden Manager
beautiful venue for painters, photographers, and horticul- others to share the joy she sees
©2018—All Rights Reserved
tural enthusiasts. through her lens.
The Hawthorn Winter 2018 Page 3

Day of Discovery and Service
for Outer Islands Students
More than 30 students from island communities in Maine came to
Merryspring this fall to explore and volunteer at the Nature Center.
On November 9, students from Islesford, Great Cranberry, Matinicus,
Monhegan, Cliff, Frenchboro, and Cuttyhunk island communities came
to the mainland to spend their morning learning and serving at
The field trip was organized with the Outer Islands Teaching and Learn-
ing Collaborative (TLC) that is led by the Island Institute. “Outer Islands
TLC creates a lifeline of support for students and teachers in order to
sustain our one- and two-room island schools,” said Ian Collins, Commu-
nity Development Officer for the Island Institute. “During the field trip, Students move leaves raked out of the Hosta Garden.
students from these island schools have the opportunity to deepen their
friendships through collaborative learning and shared social experiences
on the mainland. Once back at their schools, students continue to coop-
erate virtually through opportunities such as book groups and an inter-
island student council.”
The theme for this excursion was conservation. While on the mainland,
the students made a number of stops, including the Farnsworth Art Mu-
seum, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Owls Head State Park,
and Merryspring. While here, the students from grades K through 8 cre-
ated seed paper and native bee homes with Viña Lindley of the Univer-
sity of Maine Cooperative Extension Food Systems & Youth Develop-
ment. They also provided many hands for service work with Merryspring
Program Director Brett Willard, raking leaves in the gardens and doing Viña Lindley shows how to create seed paper.
trail work.
While Merryspring and the Island Institute have collaborated in the past,
this is the first such venture with the TLC program. “We’re always adding
new groups and schools to our community of collaborators in environ-
mental education,” Brett said, “and we hope to see them back again
next year.”

Viña Lindley reads a story about the importance of pollinators. Hard at work raking fall leaves.
The Hawthorn Winter 2018 Page 4

Youth Outreach Programs
Keep Growing Steadily
.Our school and youth outreach programs have steadily grown over
the past few years. In 2018, for instance, more than 520 students took
part in over 40 field trips to the Nature Center or classroom visits in-
volving Merryspring. That total is more than doubled when factoring
in special events like the Maine Envirothon and the Conservation Fair.
School outreach is an important part of Merryspring’s mission. In ad-
dition to providing
space for field trips
with our trails, Studying owl pellets at the Ross Center.
meadows, and forests, we also take our “show on the road” to area class-
rooms, museums, and events. During the course of this year, outreach pro-
grams included subjects as varied as owl pellets and forest mammal identification
to biomimicry, vernal pools, and migration. Many schools and groups, like the
Coastal Children’s Museum, Union Rivers Alternative Middle School, and Youth-
links, have been reliable collaborators in education for years, while others, such
as Sweet Tree Arts and Sundog Expeditions, visited Merryspring for the first time
this year.
Ashwood students help to close Children’s Garden.

Free Fun at Fairy Festival
Our annual Fairy Festival brought smiles to children big and small on Sunday,
September 23.
This yearly event offers a way for children to closely observe nature while let-
ting their imaginations fly. Dozens of kids and families took to the woods to
build fairy houses and forts. Dressed in wings and carrying wands, they gath-
ered sticks, leaves, and pine cones to construct fantastic creations in a very
special part of the Merryspring forest. Back in the garden area, local author
and fairy expert Liza Gardner Walsh led a series of crafts and activities.
The Fairy Festival is one of the most popular Free Family Programs of the cal-
endar year. The morning is led by Merryspring volunteers who have a certain
fondness for mythical creatures, and continues the long tradition of fairy
house-making at Merryspring and around Maine.

A busy fairy making a house.

Little fairy in the corn. Ferrying a fairy through the woods. Face painting fit for a fairy.
The Hawthorn Winter 2018 Page 5

2 0 1 9 Eve n t s C a l e n d a r
January 22 Wildlife of New England: A Photo Safari—Carla Skinder
January 29 Tracking Mammals in Winter—Kirk Gentalen
Worm Bin Harvest Party
February 5 A Journey Along the Appalachian Trail—Hannah Kiermayr
January 16, 6:00 p.m.
February 12 Maine Heron Tracking Project—Danielle D’Auria Jock Robie teaches how to use worm
bins to turn kitchen waste into useful
February 19 The Mysteries of Maine Bats—Sarah Boyden soil amendments. Free program.
February 26 Modeling Tidal Energy —Lauren Ross
March 5 Merryspring’s Hidden History—Harbour Mitchell
March 12 Snakes of Maine—Derek Yorks
March 19 Spiders of Maine—Clay Kirby
March 26 Attracting Beneficial Insects—Kathy Murray
April 2 Farming Algae for Food, Fuel, and Technology—Ike Levine Family Winter Walk
January 26, 10 a.m.
SPRING TUESDAY TALKS Learn about winter ecology on this
guided tour of Merryspring. Some
April 9 Diversity of Maine’s Native Plants—Bryan Peterson snowshoes available. Free to all.

April 16 Adapting Maine Farms for Climate Change—Sonja Birthisel
April 23 Poisonous Plants—Denise DeSpirito
April 30 Shell Middens in Maine—Alice Kelley
May 7 Geological History of Camden and Rockport—Henry Berry
May 14 Skunks in Maine—Shevenell Webb
Nesting Box Workshop
May 21 Lobsters and Ocean Acidification—Heather Hamlin
March 2, 10 a.m.
May 28 Tending the Perennial Garden: Opening the Garden—John Fromer Learn how to build, sight, and cor-
rectly mount nesting boxes for a vari-
All Tuesday Talks begin at 12 noon and generally last about one hour.
ety of native birds. Materials in-
cluded in fee. $25 NM/$20 M.

Spring Migration Birding Family Spring Walk Spring Foraging Seaweed Creation Workshop
May 11, 7 a.m. May 4, 10 a.m. April 27, 10 a.m. March 16, 10 a.m.
Join local birder Kristen Discover the sights and Walk with foraging expert Learn about the variety, ecological
Lindquist on this birding sounds of spring, including Tom Seymour to learn the benefits, and uses of seaweed. Create
tour of Merryspring . BYO ephemeral wildflowers and diversity of local wild edi- your own skin product to take home.
binoculars. Free to all. the vernal pool. Free to all. ble plants. $10 NM/$5 M. Fee TBA.
Page 6 The Hawthorn Winter 2018

Gardening Course Planned
for Greenhouse in 2019
After a long period of restoration, the Aileen Lubin Greenhouse
will reopen in 2019 for a six-session gardening course starting in
March. This springtime series will be taught by John Fromer, a
longtime Merryspring member and volunteer whose summer
perennial gardening series is popular among locals and visitors.
This six-week course will be an intensive introduction to starting
a garden in early spring, and participants will have the opportu-
nity to start a variety of garden plants from seeds and cuttings.
As part of the class, attendees will be responsible for keeping a
regular watering and maintenance schedule. Potting up plants in the greenhouse.

“This hands-on class will incorporate science and best practices in the greenhouse and spring garden,” explained John Fromer.
“Students will learn about seed selection and starting, transplanting, and preparing gardens.” Experiments will be conducted by
the instructor to show alternatives and illustrating other concepts. Students will learn the science necessary to make informed de-
cisions on their own at home while growing and keeping the plants they start in the course.
More information about the schedule and registration fees for this springtime course will be announced at the beginning of 2019.

Herbalists To Return Next Year
More than 150 herbal enthusiasts from all over Maine, and even
Canada, attended the 4th Annual Maine Herbalist Gathering at
Merryspring in October. It was the first year Merryspring hosted the
event, and great feedback was received about the location. In fact,
the 2019 Herbalist Gathering is already booked for October 5 at the
Nature Center.
At this year’s Gathering, classes took place in the Ross Center, the
Hexagon, and under tents. There were plant walks throughout the
gardens. Guests were provided a delicious lunch, herbal teas, and
wholesome snacks catered by Green Eggs and Yam from Thorndike.
A highlight of the day was a keynote speech by Sherri Mitchell
(Weh’na Ha’mu Kwasset), an Indigenous rights activist and author,
who asked guests to rethink our relationship with the land through
the lens of a partnership with the plants and animals that inhabit it.

Colorful herbs and outstanding speakers drew a throng of herbalists to Merryspring.
The Hawthorn Winter 2018 Page 7

Volunteer Opportunities
Merryspring can always use more volunteers. If you have
some free time to help with our gardens, trails, educa-
tional programs, or fundraising events, please call us at
236-2239 or stop by the office to find out how and when
you can help. In particular, we are looking for volunteers
to help with the following:

 Holiday Craft Fair
 Winter Wassail
 Spring Plant Sale
 Summer Kitchen Tour
 Rose Garden
Coastal Opportunities’ volunteers rake leaves in Merryspring’s entry garden.  Herb Garden
 Hosta Garden
Membership Perk — Snowshoes!  Trail Cleanup
Merryspring is a place enjoyed year-round by nature lovers of all ages  Invasives Removal
—and that includes winter! When the snow falls, the Nature Center For more information, please contact Program Director
becomes a haven for cross-country ski- Brett Willard at
ers and snowshoe enthusiasts.
To make it even more enticing, Merry-
spring has six pairs of snowshoes that Winter Walk Set for January 26
members can use for free. The snow- Merryspring will hold a family winter nature walk on
shoes, donated from LL Bean, are avail- Saturday, January 26, at 10:00 am. This event will guide
able in sizes ranging from child to adult. guests through the snowy fields and forests of Merry-
Snowshoes are also available for free spring. Along the way, walkers will look for mammal
by all during winter programs on a first- tracks, identify trees by bark, and see some of Merry-
come, first-served basis. spring’s year-round freshwater springs.
Consider visiting us this season for your
Family nature walks are part of the Free Family Program
next outdoor adventure and see the
series at Merryspring. More walks will come in each sea-
park in a whole new way.
son, exploring different parts of the park during every part
of the year. For this winter program, a limited number of
snowshoes will be available for use.
Merryspring Receives $27,000
in Grants from 6 Organizations
Merryspring has been fortunate this year to receive more than
$27,000 in grants from the following six organizations:
• Davis Conservation Foundation — $7,000 for invasives remedia-
tion planning.
• Ferguson Foundation — $4,000 for free family programming.
• Fisher Charitable Foundation — $5,000 for environmental edu-
cation programming.
• Maine Community Foundation — $3,000 for staircase trail con-
• Maine Forest Service * — $5,922 for arboretum rehabilitation.
• Mattina Proctor Foundation — $2,500 for environmental out-
reach and youth programming.
* First part of a $7,500 commitment for rehabilitating the Kitty Todd
Enjoying a wintry walk at Merryspring.
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 Septem-
ber 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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