An “Office” on the Ocean

As the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust’s Stewardship intern this summer, I have had the opportunity to spend dozens of hours outside. Much of this time I have gotten to spend doing solo trail work and invasive species removal. This time alone outdoors has been almost meditative for me. It has offered me a refreshing break from the chaos of the COVID-19 world and allowed me to connect with beautiful natural landscapes I had no idea were just minutes away from me in my home of Portland. 

One of my favorite aspects of this internship has been getting to explore new areas of Cape Elizabeth. Despite having been working for CELT for more than seven weeks at this point and having spent time walking through hundreds of acres of land in Cape, I still find myself discovering new gems almost every week. 

Some of CELT’s properties include small rocky beaches with paths winding along the shores. At these locations I have had some of my most enjoyable workdays of the summer. The first week that I was interning at CELT I spent many hours trimming down invasive honeysuckle at Pond Cove in Cape. Each morning I would arrive by 8am to the rocky shore in order to beat the heat and would be greeted by a thick fog blanketing the small cove and dozens of ducklings swimming in the water on the edge of the beach. This scene reaffirmed why I wanted to work in conservation, and I felt beyond lucky to have that place be my “office” for the first few weeks of the summer. 

A view from Pond Cove

The “lucky” feeling that I had in my first week of work at Pond Cove has stuck with me as the summer has progressed. In addition to getting to spend time doing solo outdoor work for CELT at numerous beautiful locations, I have also had the opportunity to meet and work with many wonderful volunteers who are all extremely knowledgeable about the land. While physical distancing and other CDC recommendations have shifted the way that work with volunteers looks this summer, these changes certainly have not dampened CELT volunteers’ enthusiasm about the work that we are doing.  

Through working with these volunteers, I have been able to learn so much about Maine’s native and invasive plants and about the wildlife that is local to Southern Maine. I now find that I cannot go out on a walk anywhere without taking note of the invasive plants around me. 

While I have always had an immense appreciation for nature and found myself most at ease when spending time outdoors, I have found the work that I have gotten to do for the land trust this summer has been especially grounding. And I have been pleasantly surprised to learn that this sort of work does not get any less interesting when a global pandemic hits, nor does it have to lose its close connection with the community it serves.

Lucy Tabb was one of nine 2020 Maine Coast Heritage Trust Conservation Interns. Lucy worked with Cape Elizabeth Land Trust.