A New View Into My Own Backyard

The forest hummed with the lazy drone of cicadas, while the light breeze tickled the bows of towering white pines. Humidity drenched all of the natural surfaces with a watery sheen glistening in the midday light. The hard-packed clay soil trail was cut into the forest floor wrapping around sloping hillsides, winding their way across cedar bridges.

The trail led to the steep slope alongside the Union River—an estuarine ecosystem vital to the well-being of many species. Osprey plunged into the murky tidal waters emerging with their next shimmering meal. Black throated green warblers and red eyed vireos called from their high perches in neighboring trees.

The trail snaked its way along the river while perfectly framed views peeked out at the pungent mudflats. Community members passed this area curiously looking out at the natural scene, absorbing the wild sights and sounds. With a sharp veer to the right, the Union River disappeared replaced by a small rippling stream cutting through the forested slope. The calls of the ospreys faded and were absorbed by the canopies of cedars, spruce, and maples.

The small stream pulled away from the trail as it made its way outside of the preserve. The trail gradually emerged into a grassy field filled with the twittering of tree swallows. With the emergence from the comforting forest along a dirt road, life began to merge back with scamperings of daily life. 

This small refuge, the Jordan Homestead Preserve, is located right outside of the bustling town of Ellsworth and provides the public with a serene respite from the adverse aspects of human development.

Prior to interning with the Frenchman Bay Conservancy, I had little knowledge of the local land trust properties that hold vast amounts of ecological value and recreational opportunities. The preserves encompass diverse landscapes and coastlines, helping to guarantee a brighter future for our planet.

Though I attended high school in Ellsworth, the Jordan Homestead remained unbeknownst to me. I have become attached to this preserve and its ability to transform one’s perspective of the immense benefit that protecting land has for both Earth and local communities. Maine Coast Heritage Trust and the Frenchman Bay Conservancy have granted me a new view into my own backyard. 

Miriam Nelson was one of nine 2020 Maine Coast Heritage Trust Conservation Interns. Miriam worked for Frenchman Bay Conservancy.