Register Now for Sep 9th Conservation Bus Tour of Knox & Waldo counties!

August 11, 2022

We are excited to bring back our Conservation Bus Tour traveling through Knox County and expanding into Waldo County. This year we are partnering with Waldo Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) to highlight five residential properties and a public park that earned certification through our Conservation Landscape Certification Program. This program was created by Aleta McKeage of Waldo SWCD, and Rebecca Jacobs of Knox-Lincoln SWCD expanded the program into Knox & Lincoln counties. Featured on our September 9th bus tour, you will see beautiful landscapes enhanced with native plants, meadowscapes, perennial gardens, pollinator gardens and wildlife habitat features. The luxury air-conditioned motor coach ride will be narrated, snacks served, and we will have lunch at The Hoot, a gourmet farm-to-table restaurant in Northport.

The tour starts with a residential property in Rockport where a dedicated Conservation Landscape Certification program participant worked to meet the requirements in the five core criteria areas of: provide wildlife habitat, practice soil and water conservation, control invasive plant species, plan and plant for ecosystem support, and implement organic and integrated pest management practices. With an eye for design, the second destination is a stop of a private residence where owners brought an old downtown Rockland property not only back to life over the past 30 years, but they have also showcased how modern technologies can be retrofitted into older homes and properties while keeping the historic character and charm. This urban oasis boasts a tiny orchard, perennial/shrub borders, a patio and more with sensitivity to all wildlife—not just humans.

On our way to Belfast, we’ll stop for lunch at The Hoot, a farm-to-table restaurant that sources the vast majority of the meat from their family farm, Breludin Farm. The owner/manager will provide a brief introduction of the limited lunch menu exclusive for our event and their philosophy with the farm-to-table approach. After lunch, we will travel to Wales Park in Belfast that has been transformed over the last two years from a little used expanse of grass to a thriving eco-landscape. It now has a beautifully designed community garden that includes a University of Maine Certified Pollinator Garden developed by many expert gardeners and professionals. This gorgeous demonstration garden includes many of the important habitat elements required for beneficial insects and other wildlife, including an abundance of native woody and herbaceous plants that provide food. Ornamental, plants bloom during each month of the growing season and provide shelter and winter habitat for wildlife.

The penultimate stop features the first family to pilot our conservation landscape certification program. They have completed many projects on their several acres of woods and lawn in Belfast. Their property includes gardens with a large variety of native plants as well as forest stewardship for wildlife and demonstrates many things that can be done on a small parcel in a town setting.

The final stop is at the property of most recent award recipient of the Waldo County Conservationist of the Year. The owner has diligently transformed her acres of fields, wetlands and streambanks to a healthy native ecosystem for several years. The land was formerly choked with invasive plants, including multiflora rose, purple loosestrife, Norway maple and exotic honeysuckle. Working with a tractor and hand cutting, the owner has largely rid her landscape of invasive plants with little use of chemicals, allowing for native plants to make a great comeback. She has been working to create a meadowscape in her fields and wetlands that supports pollinators, birds, mammals and wildflowers. Her reward has been many hours of wildlife watching as a variety of creatures returned to the land.

Pre-registration is required by August 30th. Register today as seats fill up quickly! Cost of the tour is only $50 per person (mail-in) / $52 (online) and includes all food and travel. To request more information or to register for the tour, contact Julie at 596-2040, julie@knox-lincoln.org, or register online at https://www.knox-lincoln.org/2022-conservation-bus-tour. Knox-Lincoln SWCD is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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Header Photo: Aidan Kaczynski of AKZ Photography

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