LEWISTON – Hikers can once again enjoy the views of Mt. Washington as their reward for reaching the top of the Thorncrag Nature Sanctuary, the highest point in Lewiston.

Thanks to a new partnership with KeyBank, 10 employees of Lewiston’s Key Center volunteered their time to the Stanton Bird Club by working at Thorncrag Nature Sanctuary during KeyBank’s Neighbors Make the Difference Day on Sept. 14.

Not only did the Stanton Bird Club benefit from the work completed at Thorncrag, but the volunteers had a special guided tour on their “way to work.”

After meeting at the main gate, the KeyBank employees hiked to the top of Thorncrag with naturalist and Stanton Bird Club President Susan Hayward. Along the trail, the volunteers learned about the 100-year history of the property, natural history information about wildflowers, birds and trees, as well as plans for the future nature center.

Upon reaching the top, Gary Maurer, co-chairman of the Stanton Bird Club Stewardship Committee, set the crew to work on the viewing corridor, where young trees had begun to block the views.

Equipped with saws and loppers, KeyBank employees took on the task of pruning the overgrowth. The cut branches were stacked in the woods along the edge to create wildlife brush piles that will be used by many small creatures as shelter this winter.

Nonprofit organizations such as Stanton Bird Club cannot depend on the membership dues alone to further their mission. While they are getting ready to launch a capital campaign to fund their new nature center, the club also depends on community volunteers for stewardship projects.

“It truly takes a community effort, and we feel fortunate to have local corporate partners such as KeyBank. Their work filled a gap that otherwise wouldn’t have been filled,” said Hayward, club president.

She said, “We need many hours of volunteer help to manage Thorncrag for wildlife and the public. Stanton welcomes partnerships such as this to help protect Thorncrag for everyone in the community to enjoy and use safely.”

To become a member or to find out more about programs and field trips, visit www.stantonbirdclub.org.

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