Falmouth trust offers parent-child nature trail workshop

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FALMOUTH — A partnership between the Falmouth Land Trust and other local organizations on programs to better connect residents to town-owned conservation land has led to a parent-child nature workshop.

The workshop, which costs $15 per person, or $40 for a family, consists of walking the trail system at the Trails at Falmouth Corners off Ridgewood Drive, collecting inspiring objects along the way and then journaling about individual or collective observations.

It takes place Saturday, April 28, with the help of Unwritten Roads, Jennifer Grimm, executive director at the Falmouth Land Trust, said.

Two hours will be spent on the trails, followed by an hour of creating journals at the Falmouth Public Library. Pre-registration, which is required, is open until Friday. Email info@falmouthlandtrust.org to make reservations.

Grimm said by partnering with organizations like Portland-based Unwritten Roads and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, the land trust hopes to offer a diversity of programs that will appeal to many different groups of people.

For instance, she said the upcoming event is the result of a conversation with “a parent in our community who was interested in having her kids participate in the type of writing workshop that is being offered.”

“We are piloting it as a test program to see if people enjoy it,” Grimm added.

Other offerings over the next three months include a mindfulness hike at the Blackstrap Hill Preserve for adults, a Mamas on the Trail event designed specifically for pregnant women and a movie in the park combined with a twilight walk at Underwood Park for families.

Providing a wide assortment of options for people to engage with nature and each other is “important in helping (the land trust) achieve its mission of land conservation,” Grimm said. “When people connect with their local landscape, they are more apt to protect and care for it in the future and having (positive) experiences out on the land is a key component of that connection.”

“We’re looking for opportunities (to help) people understand how valuable open space resources are to the health and well-being of our community. Maybe not everyone is an avid hunter or fisher or snowshoer, (but) our open spaces are important for many reasons beyond physical recreation.”

Conserved lands are also “critical for habitat (preservation), are important for our physical and mental health and are important places where we can build community and get to know our neighbors across Falmouth,” Grimm said.

“Many people are unfamiliar with the places that have been conserved and the extensive trail systems (available),” she said. Through specially tailored programming, the land trust is “happy to help people get to know our (lands)” better.

With this weekend’s Unwritten Roads workshop, Grimm said participants can “gain a better sense of place, a time for reflection and have a (great) family experience. I also hope they will recognize that protected natural lands are a valuable component of our community landscape.”

Kate Nicoll, co-founder of Unwritten Roads, a nonprofit dedicated to providing multi-genre creative writing opportunities for kids, called Saturday’s workshop a “family-friendly mindfulness walk” combined with an opportunity to create field notebooks that include original poems or stories and watercolor illustrations.

“Everyone will take their field notebooks home with them and (will be) encouraged to keep using them throughout the spring and summer,” she said.

“Our goal is to have participants connect with nature and focus on the present through artistic exercises, collecting specimens, and journaling about their naturalistic findings. Our walk will focus on mindfulness and also touch on trail maintenance and conservation,” Nicoll added.

“Even if you’re unable to join us on Saturday, we encourage everyone to visit the Falmouth Land Trust trails and take time to reflect on nature and see the growth and changes this spring,” she said.

Going forward, Grimm said, “We are very eager to hear from our community about the types of programming” they’re interested in. “We are very happy to explore new ideas and ways to provide programming that advances our mission.”

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or kcollins@theforecaster.net. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KIrishCollins.

Giving parents and children a chance to get up close and personal with nature and then write about their experience is the goal behind a special Falmouth Land Trust event being held on Saturday at the Trails at Falmouth Corners property.

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