The Nature of Phenology: Deer changing coats

by Hazel Stark

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Community mourns loss of ‘compassionate, tireless’ Dr. James Whalen

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

He was born in Illinois, educated in New Jersey, Washington, D.C. and Paris, but for 42 years he made Machias his home. Dr. F. James Whalen, or just “Doc” about town, died at home on October 6. He was 80 years old.

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Wild Blueberry Commission ponders probe into import impact

by Nancy Beal

The 10 members of Maine’s Wild Blueberry Commission (WBC) met for a day-long session in Orono last week — masked and socially distanced with the public listening in via Zoom and telephone. From 8:30 to noon, Jane Haskell, a facilitator formerly with the University of Maine Extension Service, led them through what was billed as a strategic planning session. The session involved examining the wild blueberry industry for strengths and goals and, through interactive break-out sessions, reaching a broad consensus for the industry’s future.

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Families invited to hike and learn along the way

by Natalie Boomer

The Maine Outdoor School and the Milbridge Public Library have come together to host Summits and Stories, a hike up a local mountain along with a story told at the summit.

Two hikes have already taken place in September and another is scheduled on October 17 at Tunk Mountain at 10 a.m.

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Adult Ed opens up umbrella of opportunities, options

by Ruth Leubecker

Lack of funding can close doors, but often opens others, and that’s what happened when Washington County Adult Education and Training debuted on the local scene.

“We opened in 2014 when Machias Adult Ed was going to close due to lack of money to keep going,” said Jane Blackwood, executive director of the small nonprofit. “We started from scratch. I hired new staff, and since then we’ve been expanding. I just want people to understand what we do and what we have to offer.”

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Celebrate World Fish Migration Day by cleaning a local river

by Natalie Boomer

Downeast Salmon Federation will be hosting a river cleanup to celebrate World Fish Migration Day on Sunday, Oct. 25.

World Fish Migration Day is a global-local event made to create awareness on migratory fish and the importance of free-flowing rivers. This simple river cleanup project will consist of cleaning up litter along the Orange River in Whiting. Open to all who are interested, volunteers are asked to meet at the Whiting Store on 136 US Route 1 in Whiting at 1 p.m.

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Leaving the Washington County bubble

Last week saw a quick trip through Southern Maine, coastal New Hampshire and Northern Massachusetts (no that is not the same as Southern Maine) to Logan airport and back. I watched the political signs, heard the results of $90 million dollars spent in the Maine Senate race, saw the pandemic-stricken and struggling airline and hospitality industries and a slice of the health care sector that minimized face-to-face interactions wherever possible.
Monday: Cooper to Scarborough

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Preserve your photo memories at ‘Croptoberfest’

by Jayna Smith

There is a fun group of ladies who meet quite regularly, all sharing the hobby of scrapbooking. Coming up at the end of the month, the group is inviting others to join in on the fun for an annual Croptoberfest.

According to organizer Dawn Smith, this is the biggest event of the year and attendees will create many different projects. “Each person will also get some exclusive gifts for their scrapbooking, and I always have door prizes, product specials, and lots of surprises,” she said.

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Youth explore relationships to nature and community

Amidst the uncertainty about returning to school and after a months-long stint of physical distancing, seven youth gathered this summer at Machias River Preserve with Corrie Hunkler, Youth Engagement Coordinator for Healthy Acadia, and Hazel Stark, Co-Founder of Maine Outdoor School, for a three-day, Restorative Practices in Nature and our Community Program. The program paired Maine Youth Action Network’s Restorative Practices curriculum with fun and engaging activities such as hiking, listening, reflecting, being curious, and responding to our natural surroundings.

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The Nature of Phenology: Poisonous mushrooms

by Hazel Stark

Nature is full of trick or treating opportunities year-round. A patch of ripe blueberries at the top of a mountain or the discovery of a forgotten apple tree? Those are treats. Tripping over loops of hobblebush branches in the ground or getting surprised by the exploding seed capsules of jewelweed? Those are tricks. But there is one kingdom in Maine whose dark door you best avoid on a fanciful trick or treating adventure: the taxonomic kingdom of fungi.

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