Birth of a New Era at Aldermere Farm and Erickson Fields
A local school bus pulls up to Aldermere Farm, hisses to a stop, and a handful of kids race down to the barnyard. These kids know: if they see Heidi Baker, general manager, waving her hands, putting a finger to her lips, and pointing to a ladder, it’s going to be a special day. One by one, they climb up a wooden ladder to the second floor of one of the cattle paddocks in the old barnyard, make their way across the floor worn slippery by hay bales, and belly up to the edge of the loft to watch a miracle take place—to watch a calf being born.
Over the past several years, Heidi and others at Maine Coast Heritage Trust have been grappling with the fact the old barnyard at Aldermere Farm has come to the end of its useful life. We began to conceive of a design that would allow staff to work “smarter, not harder” to provide quality care for the cattle and run programming for kids and local farmers. But we also wanted more people to experience these intimate and powerful moments—not only lucky program participants. That’s how the idea for combination barn and visitor center was born, with an accessible vestibule overlooking daily operations—and these kinds of everyday miracles—at the farm.
Earlier this year, Maine Coast Heritage Trust kicked off the public phase of a campaign to raise at least $3 million for this unique barn and visitor center and additional new structures, equipment, and improvements at Aldermere Farm and nearby MCHT preserve Erickson Fields. All of these updates are critical to making the public preserves safer, more efficient, and more inclusive for the decades to come.
These preserves already host thousands of people a year through programming, special events, trails, and community gardens. They also generate thousands of pounds of food for food pantries, schools, and annually, and serve as educational resources for area farmers and gardeners. But insufficient and outdated infrastructure and equipment are holding Aldermere Farm and Erickson Fields back from making an even greater community impact.
“Over the years, we’ve done as much as possible with what we have, but it’s time to make a significant and meaningful investment in these preserves,” says Heidi. “I just know the impact of this campaign, when successful, will be tremendous for everyone in our community.”
Thanks to early and generous donors, we’re over two-thirds of the way towards raising at least $3 million, and this transformational campaign continues to gain support and momentum. “I know that these preserves mean a lot to so many people, but it’s moving to see the outpouring of generosity,” says David Warren.
More Stories from the Coast
By 2023 MCHT Richard G. Rockefeller Conservation Intern Sadie Woodruff My name is Sadie Woodruff, and I am a rising sophomore at Wesleyan University, studying environmental science and biology. I graduated from Camden Hills in 2022 and have lived in Camden for the last eight years. I applied to many internships for this summer, not…
A writer and her young daughter explore a city park near their home.
In a changing climate, protecting connected woods and waters becomes increasingly important to help plants and animals survive.
“I immediately fell in love with the people and the land and now I want to do whatever I can to help out.”
2023 MCHT Richard G. Rockefeller Conservation Intern Daniel Snider recounts his summer spent on MDI monitoring trails up and down the coast.