Tri-Town Notes: May 25

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FMS eighth-graders fan out to volunteer in community

On Thursday, May 4, all eight grade students at Freeport Middle School went out into the community to volunteer at local organizations and schools. Students did a lot of helping out – everything from baking for a fundraiser at the community center to feeding animals at the Animal Refuge League. Students were thrilled to see their efforts meet many different needs in the community, learning about the needs that exist and finding out that they can be of help. Students and staff are hoping to make this a recurring event for Freeport Middle School.

Yard sale to benefit freeport chorus and players

The Greater Freeport Community Chorus and Freeport Players will hold a joint yard sale fundraiser Saturday, May 27, offering 25 tables of household and vintage items, tools, furniture, antiques, toys, skis, clothing and more. The sale will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the yard and barn at 181 Main St., Freeport, next to the Freeport Community Library. The rain date is Sunday, May 28.

Both groups are nonprofit organizations. The community chorus is an adult, mixed-voice group that does not require auditions or past choral experience. For more information on the choir, go to gfccsings.org. Freeport Players provides opportunities to learn theater arts both on and behind the stage. For more information on the theater group, visit fcponline.org.

All-you-can-eat bean supper

Harraseeket Grange #9 will hold the first baked bean supper of the 2017 season on Saturday, May 27, 5-6 p.m., at 13 Elm St. in Freeport. The all-you-can-eat menu includes three kinds of homemade beans, hot dogs, pickles, biscuits, brown bread, potato salad, coleslaw, pasta salad, homemade pies and beverages. The cost is $9, $4 for kids 6-12 and free for kids under 6.

World traveler to take listeners along 

Bruce Barlow traveled the country in 2013, living in a Chevy Express cargo van, his belongings and a mattress in the back. He called it “The Bucket Trip,” since it was first on his bucket list, he likened it to being “adrift,” with no schedule or route. “A destination gets in the way of freedom,” he said, “And being lost is underrated.” He studiously avoided Interstate highways, and kept to the little back roads. “Even two-lane U.S. highways lose character,” he observes. To get to know an area, he recommends, “Stick to the state and county roads.”

Almost 40,000 miles and 42 states later, Barlow had taken 14,000 photographs, which he edited down to 3,000. The best of these will be on exhibit at the Freeport Community Library during working hours through the month of June. “In case you haven’t noticed,” Barlow said, “America is a special place.”

Barlow, who has been seriously interested in photography since 1984, has taught photography and published two how-to books on the subject. Today he works with digital cameras as well as cameras that use film. He believes “selfies” are inspired by Satan, and a smartphone is not a camera. Barlow cheerfully admits to being a Luddite.

Travel Around the Word with Ray Ramage

Join professional traveler Ray Ramage at South Freeport Congregational Church Wednesday, May 31, when he will take the audience on a tour of the world, food, and wine. Ramage has been to 34 countries, sailed with 14 different cruise lines, served as senior vice president of one of South Carolina’s largest travel agencies, and written many articles for travel publications. He also has stories from owning his own travel company with his wife in Freeport since moving to Maine.

Come for an informal gathering with light refreshments at 6:30 p.m. The talk will begin at 7 p.m. at 98 South Freeport Road, South Freeport. A $5 donation at the door will help support the church’s operations and programs. FMI, visit http://bit.ly/2qTfQ2w.

‘Saving Seabirds: New Lessons from Puffins’

Stephen Kress, vice president for bird conservation at the National Audubon Society and director of the Audubon Seabird Restoration Program and Hog Island Audubon Camp, will speak at an Audubon fundraiser at the L.L. Bean Camping Atrium on Thursday, May 25, at 7 p.m. Admission is $10 for Maine Audubon members and $15 for nonmembers; attendees must register at maineaudubon.org.events.

Worldwide, about one-third of all seabird species are now globally threatened because of invasive predatory mammals, marine pollution, coastal development and the effects of global warming. A recent study has shown that 60 percent of all seabirds have vanished in the last 60 years. Against this grim background, Kress offers hope and inspiration that people also have the capacity to bring seabirds back to some of their historic nesting places. This presentation also includes success stories about people around the world that are working to save seabirds.

Kress will also discuss insights into the changing marine climate of the Gulf of Maine as revealed by Maine seabirds such as puffins and terns. His research has shown the connections between warm water, increased rainfall and the plankton blooms that nourish forage fish, seabirds and all other coastal life. These drivers of the marine ecosystem affect every stage of the seabird life cycle. He will also share the recent discovery of the previously unknown winter home for puffins and explain how this discovery helped to establish the new Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Marine Monument.

Kress is the co-author with Derrick Jackson of the new book “Project Puffin: the Improbable Quest to Bring a Beloved Seabird Back to Egg Rock.” A book signing will precede the lecture beginning at 6:30 pm.

The bird’s the word during Songbird Saturday, Seabird Sunday

Many events have been planned for this weekend to encourage residents to get outdoors and learn about the birds that frequent this part of Maine during the Spring Birding Festival.

Get an intimate and detailed look at Chewonki’s live, captive barred, great horned, and screech or saw-whet owls during Friday Night Birding, presented by L.L.Bean and Maine Audubon on May 26.

The interactive program begins with slides and sounds to learn the different appearances and calls of each owl, all of which are native to Maine and New England. Then, using talons, wings, and skulls, explore the adaptations of these silent nocturnal hunters. Owls of Maine provides the opportunity to handle these unique specimens and is sure to engage participants of all ages. The presentation will be at the L.L.Bean Camping Atrium 6-7 p.m. 

The Chewonki Foundation is a nonprofit educational institution located in Wiscasset. Chewonki is dedicated to helping people grow individually and in community with others by providing educational experiences that foster an understanding and appreciation of the natural world.

After the live owl presentation, join in a special evening Owl Prowl at Mast Landing Sanctuary from 7:30-9:30 p.m. with Maine Audubon staff naturalist Doug Hitchcox. He will lead an exploration of Maine Audubon’s 140-acre sanctuary to look and listen for ovenbirds, barred owls, hermit thrush and more. In addition, Hitchcox will discuss the fascinating nocturnal migration of birds. Visit http://bit.ly/2qTKOaU or http://bit.ly/2rew7Cg for directions.

Florida Lake in Freeport is an amazing destination for birdwatchers. On May 27, 7-9 a.m., explore the town park with local birding experts during Songbird Saturday. The large, shallow lake and surrounding wetlands provide an excellent habitat for waterfowl and a wide variety of birds; 158 species of birds have been identified in this area. Birders will be looking for tree swallows, Canada warblers and scarlett tanagers as well as waterfowl. Check http://bit.ly/2qTKOaU for directions.

At the same time as the Florida Lake hike, an outing to Pettengill Farm will be held May 26, 7-9 a.m. Join local birding experts at the 19th-century saltwater farm, located on the estuary of the Harraseeket River and owned by the Freeport Historical Society. The property encompasses 140 acres of fields, woods, antique apple orchards and a salt marsh, as well as four trails that wind through fields and forest, down to the river. Forty-six songbirds and shorebirds were identified there during 2016 outings, including chestnut-sided warbler, indigo bunting and yellow-billed cuckoo. Visit http://bit.ly/2qhHLqM for directions.

A Children’s Bird Walk at Pettengill Farm with special guest Charlotte Wasylik will be offered 9 -10 a.m. This is a shorter, easier bird walk just for younger kids. Youngsters will get a chance to explore beautiful property with an eye for birds and nests with 19-year-old Charlotte Wasylik, who lives and birds on her family’s farm in Alberta, Canada. She is a keen nature photographer and digiscoper. Since 2010, Wasylik has been blogging at prairiebirder.com, where she’s been chronicling her birding in Canada as well as in the Caribbean, Europe, and the United States. On her blog, she also reviews books and equipment; she is president of her local naturalist society. Wasylik attended Bird Studies Canada’s Young Ornithologists’ Workshop and the Young Ornithologists’ Internship. She established the Alberta Birds Facebook group, which now has over 7,500 members.

Between 11 a.m. and noon on the Main Street patio at L.L. Bean, enjoy a live bird demonstration. Experience the wonder of being just a few feet away from a magnificent bird of prey during this fascinating and educational talk. Wind Over Wings will bring its “ambassadors” (birds who are unable to survive in the wild), giving people the chance to see owls, falcons and other raptors up close. Prepare to be inspired by the stories about the courage, adaptability and resilience of these amazing birds.

Join local birding experts from 3-5 p.m. at Wolfe’s Neck Farm near the salt marsh to watch for wading and sea birds and then walk on a path along the river to look for songbirds as well as seabirds. Bobolink are frequently seen in the fields and 114 bird species have been identified. The farm is located along the shores of Casco Bay in Freeport, visit wolfesneckfarm.org for directions.

End your Songbird Saturday with Sunset Birding at Sayles Field. From 6 -8 p.m., birders will be on the lookout for bobolink, night hawk and woodcock during a sunset bird walk on the 70-acre property protected by the Freeport Conservation Trust. The woodcock may be best known for its fascinating springtime courtship, where males perform erratic displays to attract a mate. Visit http://bit.ly/2qTKOaU for directions.

Seabird Sunday

Seabird Sunday on May 28 starts with walks at Florida Lake and Pettengill Farm from 7-9 a.m. A birder’s social will be from 9 – 10:30 a.m. with an informal gathering of fellow birders. Share stories, photos, birding locations and knowledge in a relaxed setting while enjoying snacks and beverages. Staff from Maine Audubon and the renowned Cornell Lab of Ornithology will be on hand as well. Ray’s Talkin’ Birds Show will be live from 9:30-10 a.m. The program is a lively, educational and interactive radio show that appeals to birders and non-birders alike. It includes rich descriptions and recordings of wild birds, commentary on the state of the natural world and interviews with authors and naturalists. Listened to by thousands of people all around the world each week, the show airs on radio stations in the northeast and streams live at talkinbirds.com.

The festival will end with a trip to the town of Freeport’s Winslow Memorial Park from 3-5 p.m. The oceanfront park has both beautiful views and bountiful birding for both seabirds and songbirds. Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists Brad Allen and Adrienne Leppold will join this outing, where participants will look for hawks, bluebirds, sparrows, ducks, egrets, osprey and bald eagles.

The park is at the end of Staples Point Road. For directions, visit freeportmaine.com. There is a day-use entrance fee to the park of $2-3 per person.

Fishing Kids’ Derby

Taking place rain or shine, the annual L.L. Bean Fishing Derby takes place on Saturday, June 3, from 8-11 a.m. at the Durham Rod & Gun Club pond, 59 Pound Road in Durham. The Derby has been part of the community for 48 years and continues to be for all area children ages 3-12. All children must be accompanied by an adult and they must have their own rod outfit and worms. For safety reasons, no casting is allowed. Trophies are awarded in each age group for First Fish, Biggest Fish, and Most Fish (by weight.) Age groups are 3-4, 5-6, 7-9, and 10-12. Raffles will be drawn every half hour, with the grand prize of an L.L.Bean Angler II fly rod outfit.

Freeport man graduates with merit

On May 13, David Jesse Vitali, who graduated from Freeport High School in 2012, graduated cum laude from the University of Maine, Orono with a degree in civil engineering. He was also inducted into the Francis Crow society, which recognizes University of Maine engineering graduates as they accomplish the formidable goal of completing their engineering degrees and to recognize others who have made considerable engineering contributions and honored the profession. The inductees take an oath and a pledge as they enter their chosen profession.

Vitali was an active member of the University of Maine chapter of Chi Epsilon, the national civil engineering honors society. David served first as the secretary and then was chosen to be the president of the organization; he was also involved with the American Society of Civil Engineers. Vitali has joined Gorill Palmer Engineering in South Portland.

Freeport the place for a Girlfriends’ Getaway

Girlfriends’ Getaway is back in Freeport, June 2-4. Stores will be teeming with sales, style tips, custom fittings and more. There are tastings, giveaways, and special events all over town throughout the weekend. Join together with friends and plan your weekend away for shopping, dining, playing and staying. Many hotels and B&Bs have special packages and most are within walking distance to town. The events are scheduled all weekend. For more information check out the FreeportUSA website.

Public Works Department open house

On Saturday, June 3, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Public Works Department will be open for residents of all ages to meet with the people responsible for maintaining the town’s infrastructure. Everyone can see the equipment used regularly, including dump/plow trucks, the excavator, bulldozer, loader, backhoe, sweeper, and sidewalk machine.

This has proved to be a fun, informative event. It is interesting to get up close to all the equipment that keeps the town roads safe. Everyone welcome. If you have any questions about the event, call 865-4461 for more information.

Spring Cleanup 2017

Freeport residents will once again have the whole month of June to bring one free load of waste to the Recycling Center using the cleanup coupon contained in the town mailer that residents will receive in the mail this month. Hours of operation are Wednesday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Residents will also be required to have a 2017 facility sticker which can be purchased for $6 at the Recycling Center the day of disposal or can be purchased ahead of time at the recycling facility or the town hall.

As in years past, fees will be attached to some material, so residents are encouraged to review the flyer for the list of acceptable items and fees.

For the past few years, volunteers helped manage the influx of donations helping to keep the Swap Shop organized. Their help was invaluable and it would be great to repeat again this year. To volunteer a few hours on a Saturday in June, contact Suzanne Duplissis at 865-3740.

N. Pownal church hosts baked bean supper

North Pownal United Methodist Church, 851 Lawrence Road, will present its monthly Baked Bean Supper 4:30-6 p.m. June 3. There will be three types of beans – kidney, yellow eye and pea will be served along with hot dogs, coleslaw, brown bread, biscuits, potato salad, spaghetti with meat sauce, housemade pickles and pickled beets and pies galore. Supper will cost $8 for ages 13 and up; $3 ages 4-12 and kids under 4 eat for free. Volunteers welcome. Contact Kimberly Drew at 837-2938. The hall is handicapped accessible.

Rock the Night Away

Durham Amvets will be hosting a dance at the hall at 1049 Royalsborough Road on May 27, 8 p.m.-midnight. DJ Chaz, Your Maine DJ, will spin the tunes. Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased at the door. Support the fund to maintain the AMVETS Hall as a community resource while having an evening of fun.

Ribbon-cutting at Wolfe’s Neck Farm

The public invited to celebrate improvements at Wolfe’s Neck Farm with a ribbon cutting and open house Thursday, June 1 at 4 p.m. The barn and Little River house will be open to visitors, and staff will be on hand to answer questions. There will be refreshments and families are most welcome. RSVP at wolfesneckfarm.org.

Spring Festival on the Farm

Come celebrate spring at Wolfe Neck Farm during a day of activity and learning Saturday, June 3, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $8 per person, with ages 3 and under are free. Proceeds benefit Wolfe’s Neck Farm educational programming. Meet animals, try farm activities, enjoy music and food. Music, games, demonstrations and learning activities make the Spring Festival a unique event in a country setting. There will be opportunities to explore the trails and gardens, interact with the animals and learn about seeds and plants.

Volunteer tour guides needed

Want to share your love of Freeport’s history with visitors? Want to help raise the visibility of FHS and our community? If you can spare a couple of hours on a regular basis to lead a walking tour of downtown Freeport this summer, the Freeport Historical Society could use your help.

They are planning to reintroduce the practice of offering walking tours to visitors through the summer months. the tours will introduce them to Freeport’s architecture and history. Guides will receive training from FHS staff, and will be equipped with a packet of notes and other useful information to help them.

Tours will likely be offered Tuesday through Saturday – and may change – while the level of demand is gauged. Guides should be able to commit to a regular schedule on a volunteer basis, and a passion for Freeport history, ability to retain information and a friendly demeanor are all welcome assets. Email info@freeporthistoricalsociety.org for more information.

Send community notes from Freeport, Durham and Pownal to tritownnotes@gmail.com.

Freeport Middle School students Aquinnah Van Brugh and Janie Dawson prepare to help students in art class at Mast Landing School.

Stephen Kress, director of the Audubon Seabird Restoration Program and Hog Island Audubon Camp, will speak at an Audubon fundraiser at L.L. Bean on Thursday, May 25, at 7 p.m. Attendees must register at maineaudubon.org.events.

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