Category Archives: Natural Resources

Pine Pollen on the Ponds!


Living on a lake shore is living on “the edge” between the forest and the lake ecosystems.

The sharp contrasts while observing from “the edge” amplifies our perceptions of the seasonal changes in nature.

This time each year New Gloucester’s Sabbathday Lake (a “Maine great pond) gets nature’s pollen treatment. 

The north sure of Sabbathday Lake on June 19th
Photo: Tom Driscoll
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Why Did so Many Helicoptors Land in New Gloucester Recently?

Photo: Tom Driscoll

You may have noticed a superabundance of “helicopters” that landed around your house in the last week or so.  These are most likely winged seeds from red maple trees and they are all over your driveway, your lawn, and in your rain gutters.  Polynose is another slang name, and “samara” is the official term.

As a helicopter pilot, I have always been fascinated by the maple samaras.

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The Original “Ice Out” Before Sabbathday was the Lake

Ice!  Only 16,000 years ago, Maine and New England were covered by a huge glacier which extended all the way offshore to the coastal shelf! Cape Cod and Long Island are the furthest obvious extent in the northeast; think of how a plow pushes snow at the end of your driveway.

At that time the ice over “Sabbathday Lake” and all of Maine was about one mile thick (5000’ +/-). Glaciers grow, and then they retreat.  The climate warmed up and the glacier started melting (retreating).  About 12,500 years ago it had receded to the northwest and the area around Sabbathday Lake was free of ice.

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GNG Community Service Club works with Environmental Resources Committee at the NG Fairgrounds

On Saturday May 4, seven students from the Gray-New Gloucester High School Community Service Club worked with members of the New Gloucester Environmental Resources Committee to clear invasive plants and plant two trees at the fairgrounds. The photo pictures the students posing with volunteer Joanne McKee.

Dick Allen, Environmental Resources Committee

From left to right: Hannah Purdy, Cordelia Lambert, Izzy Castrucci, Mia Millet, Joanne McKee, Sydney Lefebvre, Ellyce Kline, and Allison Kimball.

Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week

In 2018, emerald ash borer, a tiny wood-boring beetle from Asia, was found in northern Aroostook and York counties in Maine. Emerald ash borer (EAB) is a threat to all ash trees in North America, and has already done considerable damage to ash in forests and residential properties across the eastern US. In addition to comprising an important part of our forest ecosystem, the wood from ash trees is valuable for flooring, cabinetry, hockey sticks and baseball bats. Many streets in many Maine towns are lined with ash trees and ash trees have been planted in residential landscapes for shade and to increase property values. In Maine, brown ash is an important part of the Wabanaki creation story and culture, and has been used for generations for basket weaving. Keep reading on the Cumberland County Soul and Water District’s website.

May Display at the Library about Invasive Plants and Alternates

Now that the planting season is finally here, if you want to know what to plant that is not invasive to Maine, visit the New Gloucester Library to
look at the display set up by the Environmental Resources Committee.  
Invasive plants are identified and alternates to use for these are in a
handout.

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WATCH FOR THESE DESTRUCTIVE INSECTS AND PROTECT YOUR TREES

 

WATCH FOR THESE DESTRUCTIVE INSECTS AND PROTECT

YOUR TREES

During the month of November the Environmental Resource Committee of New Gloucester has a display in the library about four insects that damage and sometimes kill your trees.

Information and photos of these killers are available .

Winter Moth : Actively laying eggs NOW at the base of trees until a hard frost.

Brown tail moth : This one that causes intense irritation from Spring  until   fall

Emerald ash borer: This one  is destroying ash trees across the midwest and other regions in the northeast and has recently been seen in Maine.

Asian Longhorned beetle : Destroys many variety of trees

Many of these may look similar to other insects so try to note their identifying features.
The following websites have photos that can help with identification.

https://www.maine.gov/dacf/php/caps/EAB/EABid.shtml

https://www.maine.gov/dacf/mfs/forest_health/invasive_threats/index.htm

IF YOU SEE ANY OF THESE, PLEASE REPORT YOUR SIGHTING TO THE MAINE FOREST SERVICE BY COMPLETING THE ON LINE FORM THAT IS ON THE SECOND WEBSITE OR BY CALLING 207-287-2431

Environmental Resource Committee
11/8/2018

PAINTCARE

PAINTCARE

Have you heard of a program called Paintcare?

Now you can get rid of all that paint that you no longer want or need and do so environmentally. This will also reduce the tonnage of the compacter at the transfer station thus saving the town money and help reduce your taxes.

Have you purchased paint in the last few years? If so, you are helping to pay for this program. A fee is added to each can of paint you purchase: 35 cents for less than a gallon, 75 cents for a gallon. This fee is NOT refundable but is used to support the program.

The purpose of the program is to conserve resources, reduce waste and to recycle as much paint as possible. To date 9 states are participating in the program.

Paint is collected and sent to a facility that processes it so it can be reused. Latex, acrylic, oil based paints, primers, stains, metal coating paints plus others are accepted. Cans have to have labels on them and cans cannot be rusty, leaking or paint dried out. It does not matter how old, moldy or dirty the paint is.

To check what is accepted, go to this web site:
PAINTCARE.ORG
All you have to do is take the paint to a drop off site. Please check with the site for drop off times and hours or days as sometimes their bins are filled waiting for pickup of paint ready to be recycled. Sites available in this immediate area are:
Sherwin Williams Auburn 753-7373
Sherwin Williams Lewiston 784-2939
Environmental Projects Inc. 664 N. Washington ST Auburn
8-1pm M-F 786-7390

Environmental Resource Comm. of New Gloucester
7/23/18

How to Get Rid Of Brown Tail Moth Nests

How to Get Rid of Brown Tail Moth Caterpillar Nests

This is the time of the year to check your yards and surrounding areas for brown tail moth webs. Destroy the webs now. At this stage, they do not cause an allergic reaction as they will later in the season.
A video on how to destroy the nests at this time of the year may be viewed on the internet at the Maine Forest Service web site. Enter Brown tail moth in the search box.

Environmental Resources Committee of New Gloucester 4/28/2018

BROWNTAIL MOTH
Euproctis chrysorrhoea (L.)

The browntail moth is an insect of forest and human health concern which was accidently introduced into Somerville, Massachusetts from Europe in 1897.  By 1913, the insect had spread to all of the New England states and New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.  Since that time, populations of this pest slowly decreased due to natural controls until the 1960’s, when browntail moth was limited to Cape Cod and a few islands off the Maine coast in Casco Bay. Browntail moth populations persist on islands and in coastal areas in southern Maine, extending up the river valleys.
Browntail Moth Risk Map (pdf | 2MB) The larval stage (caterpillar) of this insect feeds on the foliage of hardwood trees and shrubs including:  oak, shadbush, apple, cherry, beach plum, and rugosa rose.  Larval feeding causes reduction of growth and occasional mortality of valued trees and shrubs.  While feeding damage may cause some concern, the primary concern is the impact on humans from the browntail moth is the result of contact with poisonous hairs found on the caterpillars.  Contact of these hairs with human skin causes a rash similar to poison ivy that can be severe on some individuals.

An Exhibit about Composting is on display at the New Gloucester Library for the month of February

 

Do you know how to compost?

Learn how easy it is to do and save money as well as enrich your garden soils.

Composting can also save the town money by reducing the amount of tonnage that goes in the hopper. To transport the material in the hopper costs the town over $41 per ton.

30% t0 40 % of material that goes into the hopper is organic matter that could be composted.

For the year of 2017, 30% of the tonnage in New Gloucester’s hopper equals 410 tons. At $41 per ton for disposal of just organic matter, the cost to the town was $16.810!

Learn more about how easy it is to compost by visiting the display during February at the New Gloucester Library.

There is material to take home as well as a drawing for a compost bucket with liners for those that fill out a very short survey about composting.

New Gloucester Environmental Resource Committee
February 2018