Shell Ice

new ice on the Damariscotta River

This post is part of a series contributed by DRA Trustee Barnaby Porter. Read the previous post here. The hoarse whisper of things to come . . . I was eating breakfast. Out the kitchen window, stillness prevailed in the clear dawn except for the titmice and chickadees at the feeder. The river was placid, a coasting sheet of glass reflecting the far shore in the golden glow of first light. The tide had turned in the last hour, the boat on its mooring now headed upriver. The thermometer read eighteen degrees. Three buffleheads beat around the point and wheeled


sunset clouds reflected in water

This post is part of a series contributed by DRA Trustee Barnaby Porter. Read the previous post here. As the late fall afternoon wore on, it grew chilly and still, and the river settled into its evening mood. As often happens at that time of day, I looked up from what I was doing to see what the sky had to offer in the way of a sunset over the hills on the far shore. And what I saw was utter perfection – a clear, uncluttered horizon of continuous, unbroken silhouettes of dark pines and oaks on the ridges, backlit

The Parade of Boats

lobster boat at sunset

This post is part of a series contributed by DRA Trustee Barnaby Porter. Read the previous post here. Everyone loves a parade, they say, but then it isn’t always so. I watch this same parade each autumn and come to the same conclusion each time, that the long, stretched-out procession of boats making its way upriver these several weeks is a sad and reluctant affair. They’re headed up to the boatyard of course, to be hauled out and cradled and made ready for winter… to hibernate through wind and cold and enveloping snow, frozen hard and still, swinging on their

New preserve and accessible River Trail at Round Top Farm

people walking on the new accessible trail

With a snip of the scissors and an enthusiastic round of applause, a new preserve on the banks of the Damariscotta River was dedicated in memory of longtime DRA mentor and supporter Pete Noyes this past Saturday. Members of the Noyes family as well as DRA members and friends were among those gathered to celebrate the preserve and the construction of the new accessible trail across it. The purchases of the Pete Noyes Preserve and another adjacent property to the south, made possible by donors to DRA’s recent capital campaign, effectively doubled the size of the existing Round Top Farm

Blue Mists

misty shades of blue on the river

This post is part of a series contributed by DRA Trustee Barnaby Porter. Read the previous post here. A blissful swoon of timelessness I never count the days as summer wanes. The living’s too good, too easy, to allow for that way of passing time. No, counting summer days is not something people should do, when it’s much more soothing to forget what day it is altogether, to slip into that blissful swoon of timelessness measured only by sweeping oars and buttered ears of corn. Instead, I count the layered hills that rest behind blue mists, and even then I’m

It Waits for No Man

low tide in Seal Cove

This post is the third in a series contributed by DRA Trustee Barnaby Porter. Read the previous post here. Down on the mudflats at low water, I am prone to contemplate the hugeness of the tide. The muck sucking at my boots squishes and squirms, acre upon acre of it, the primordial soup, loading the air to saturation with the black, organic smells of trillions of little lives beginning and ending in each moment. I am actually standing on the bottom of the river. In six hours, this spot will be under ten feet of water. The black line on

In appreciation for all you do

video thumbnail - boy looking at horseshoe crabs

We couldn’t have done it without you! By way of a thank you to DRA members and supporters, we’ve put together a little slideshow with highlights of the work you’ve made possible during the past year. You’ll see wonderful things happening with land conservation, stewardship, education, marine conservation and water quality, and our partner Twin Villages Foodbank Farm. Enjoy!  

Babe in the Woods

This post is the second in a series contributed by DRA Trustee Barnaby Porter. Read the first post here. A lushness has settled on this river valley, a lushness of filled-out leaves and promising buds, of violets and bluets, and iris wedging forth from the deceptive flatness of their fog-green leaves. Nestsful of three and four eggs incubate under the fluffed breasts of sitting birds, poised under eaves, in thickets and secreted in the hollows of decaying trees. Blackflies and mosquitoes, succulent and swarming, emerge from the black, sphagnum pools of the brook in the woods, and, wherever I look

DRA takes part in Maine Phytoplankton Monitoring Program

volunteers look into a microscope

DRA is now part of the Maine Phytoplankton Monitoring Program, which serves as a first alert system for the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) Shellfish Sanitation Program. The object of the program is to monitor water samples for target species that have the potential to cause harmful algal blooms. The monitoring program relies on DMR staff and a network of trained volunteers to take water samples and analyze them for the presence of certain species of phytoplankton which create toxins as a by-product of their metabolism. If these phytoplankton are present in the estuary, there is a chance they

DRA and Wawenock Golf Club partner in natural pest control project

bird box volunteers in front of wawenock golf club house

Wawenock Golf Club in Walpole and DRA recently collaborated on a project to control insect pests at the golf course using biological instead of chemical means. On a sunny and brisk April morning, a crew of around twenty DRA and Wawenock volunteers, including students from Lincoln Academy’s IDEAL program, installed 18 bluebird boxes in open areas around the greens. The boxes are designed to appeal to both Eastern Bluebirds, a member of the thrush family that eats grubs and insects on the ground, and Tree Swallows, which feed on flying insects. The golf club uses careful integrated pest management practices