Conserving and Caring for the Heart of the Midcoast

Hidden Valley Nature Center | Sat, May 25 - Sat, Jun 1 | All Ages


Time: Sat, May 25 - Sat, Jun 1, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm

Location: Hidden Valley Nature Center


Learning to be an effective conservation steward requires deepening our relationships with place and people. This two day workshop offers an opportunity to experience your region with local experts, each other and with the river and forest.  As a participant, you will:

  • learn about three watersheds and how conservation at the landscape scale works;
  • explore stewardship challenges related to natural and land use history on guided habitat walks;
  • deepen your relationship with the natural world by experiencing the Sheepscot River and Hidden Valley Nature Center Forest through sensory experience
  • visit the Whitefield Salmon Reserve and Coopers Mill Dam to learn about river ecology, the history of dams on the Sheepscot, and the conservation issues involved in both.

Developing your knowledge about the ecological processes and principles that inform your habitats can be made meaningful and personal by developing an emotional attachment to place.  This attachment often results in a sense of care or stewardship towards the life that surrounds us. It is the intention of this two day workshop to expand our knowledge, together, about our region through both heart and mind.

Participants should be at least 16 years old

The group will be limited to 20 participants.

Cost is $40

Register here

Carpooling between sites (we will organize this once the group is formed)

What to Bring

  • Lunch
  • Journal & Something to Draw With
  • Binoculars (if you own them)
  • Wading Boots
  • Sun Screen & Bug Dope
  • Water Bottle
  • Wear long pants and socks you can tuck the pants into (tick prevention)


Program faculty:

Susan Bickford: Susan is a member of the Associate Graduate faculty at the University of Maine, and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maine at Augusta. She studied Video Performance at the Maine College of Art, and graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design. She is a certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide and lives in Newcastle.

Barrie Brusila: Barrie and her husband Mitch Kihn, owners of Mid-Maine Forestry, have provided forestry consulting assistance to landowners in the midcoast area since 1995.  They have been a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified resource manager since 1998.  Forest management planning and timber sale administration are the bulk of their work.  Barrie greatly enjoys being the forester for HVNC, which she has done since 2007.

Susan Davies: Susan Davies is an aquatic biologist with an MS in aquatic entomology from the University of Maine. She led the Biological Monitoring Section, and was Water Quality Standards Coordinator at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for most of her environmental career.  She has also worked extensively with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the European Commission, to provide technical expertise in use of aquatic organisms as water quality indicators. Susan’s years of work experience include lots of field biology, “bug-counting”, and data analysis with lots of great people, and she now loves the connections of playing rhythm and percussion for a big group of great fiddlers around Belfast.

Chuck Dinsmore: Chuck graduated from Bowdoin College (A.B., biology) and Brown University (Ph.D., biological sciences). He was a full professor in the College of Medicine and the Graduate College, and spent two years as a visiting scholar at the University of Chicago. He taught high school biology at Lincoln Academy for eight years; he joined the HVNC Board in 2013 and became its president in 2015. Chuck also completed the Maine Master Naturalist Program and regularly shares his enthusiasm for the outdoors by leading educational tours on the trails and waters of HVNC.

Anna Fiedler: As Director of Conservation at Midcoast Conservancy, Anna oversees land and water conservation priorities and supports staff in landowner and community outreach to identify conservation opportunities and care for the waters of the region. She engages with landowners to identify new potential land preserves and keeps conservation priorities updated and linked to community needs. Anna enjoys bringing together groups to identify and carry out land and water conservation, as well as partnering with others to get more people connected to the outdoors, and to each other.

Robin Huntley: A native to Midcoast Maine, Robin has spent most of her life deeply embedded within the local landscape, community, and culture.  Robin is a graduate of Hampshire College (BA) and Antioch University New England (MEd), where she studied place- and community-based education in rural communities.  Robin has years of experience in a variety of educational contexts including public and private elementary schools, outdoor adventure camps, and enrichment programs, and currently teaches at Juniper Hill School for Place-Based Education.  She is the founder of Dirigo Learning, a community-based education network for midcoast and central Maine.  Robin lives with her husband on the banks of the East Branch of the Sheepscot River in the very same century-old home where she spent her childhood.

Janet McMahon: Janet is an ecologist who works with conservation organizations and private landowners to identify conservation priorities and manage their land. She has a BS from Colby College and an MS from the University of Maine. Janet is a founder of the Medomak Valley Land Trust and served on its board and Lands Committee until the merger with Midcoast Conservancy in January, 2019. She is on the Medomak Council of Midcoast Conservancy.

Maranda Nemeth: At Midcoast Conservancy, Maranda manages the implementation of three fish passage projects in the Sheepscot River at the Coopers Mills Dam, Branch Mill Dam, at the Head Tide Dam, and develop new projects identified as high priorities for fish passage and instream habitat improvements with a broad range of public and private partners. Maranda holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Allegheny College.  Her background includes land development environmental compliance and permitting, urban watershed restoration and monitoring, environmental education, and community engagement.

Glenn Ritch: Glenn was a board member of the Sheepscot Wellspring Land Alliance (SWLA), a Midcoast land trust, for eleven years, serving as President for eight before SWLA merged into Midcoast Conservancy.  He also served on the board of the Appalachian Mountain Club for six years and is still actively engaged on special projects related to energy sustainability for the AMC. Glenn’s professional experience includes 26 years in hospital administration and 10 years as an organizational development consultant.  He engaged in a unique and ambitious effort to create a patient centered healing environment at York Hospital, “The Most Caring Hospital in Maine” (Downeast Magazine, 1998).