From chattering birds, to verdant meadows and bustling waterways, the signs of summer have arrived at Boothbay Region Land Trust. Yet another marker of the season is the return of summer caretakers at Damariscove Island and the start of BRLT’s conservation intern. These supporting staff help ensure that the land trust’s public lands are accessible and well-maintained during the busy summer months.
This year, BRLT is happy to introduce Claire Pellegrini as its conservation intern. Claire will be working from Oak Point Farm and across BRLT’s public preserves, primarily supporting the land trust’s stewardship program. Claire grew up in southern New Hampshire in a family that encouraged her connection with the natural world. “My mother always enjoyed gardening and my father loved walks in the woods,” Claire explains. “I never realized how much that was a part of me until I arrived at college and began exploring courses of study.” Claire soon discovered botany, and quickly developed a passion for plants. “I was fascinated not only with species identification and variety, but even with learning about cell structure and biology.”
As a child, Claire visited her grandparents on Barters Island every summer and has fond memories of walking the trails at Porter Preserve with her family. “This is how I fell in love with the Maine coastline,” she notes. Visitors may see Claire at a variety of preserves over the course of the summer, learning stewardship and conservation techniques. Claire will also be sharing her experiences, observations and work with the public through BRLT’s website and posts on social media.
At Damariscove Island, BRLT is pleased to welcome back Ed Vlcek and Bailey Romaine for their second summer as caretakers. Last year, Ed and Bailey did a remarkable job overseeing the trails on Damariscove, as well as welcoming and supporting visitors throughout the summer. Their considerable expertise in land stewardship and carpentry lent itself to the maintenance of the island’s public lands, as well as the physical structures on the island. During the off-season, Ed and Bailey officially relocated to Midcoast Maine full time, spending the past nine months living and working on the Bristol peninsula. BRLT could not be more thrilled to have them back again. Ed and Bailey look forward to reconnecting with regular visitors and continuing the work they began last season.
Visitors to Damariscove may notice some slight changes this summer in response to the COVID-19 health crisis. In the interest of ensuring the health and safety of the staff on the island, all guests are asked to refrain from approaching or entering the vicinity of the caretakers’ cottage. As usual, BRLT will continue to offer two complimentary moorings for guests that which are clearly labeled, as well as a complimentary dinghy. Caretakers will be on hand to assist visitors and answer questions throughout the summer. As with all BRLT preserves, visitors at Damariscove should adhere to social distancing guidelines, avoid visiting the island when ill, and practice good hygiene habits such as hand sanitizing before, during, and after visits. Guests should continue to be mindful that the life-saving station is private property, and that lobsterman work off of the stone pier. We thank all visitors for their understanding and consideration of these restricted spaces on the island. Thank you for ensuring that the summer is a safe and healthy one for all who enjoy BRLT public lands and islands.