BETHEL — Volunteers are being sought to help identify and survey important wildlife habitat in Bethel, Gilead, Newry and Woodstock.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will hold a training session for the project from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 11, in the Mahoosuc Land Trust office beside Route 2 in Bethel.

The Trust and the Androscoggin River Watershed Council will work with MDIF&W and Maine Audubon to identify significant wildlife habitat, such as wetlands, wildlife corridors and deer wintering areas in the four towns.

The work involves getting outdoors this winter to do field observations, including some tracking.

The department and Maine Audubon have already generated GIS maps of areas that the state has mapped as important resources, according to a recent Trust report.

“We could add one or two towns, depending on the number of volunteers and their commitment,” the report states.

The Trust has added “some potentially valuable lands” to the mapped resources.

“Now, we need you to do some field checking, to get in the field and verify our first cut,” the report states.

After the field data is collated and matched to the maps, the trust and council will present the findings to landowners and the public. Later this spring, there will be a series of meetings around the region.

The project has been “generously” funded by the Davis Conservation Fund.

In other trust news, educator and naturalist Jackie Cressy of Bethel will present “Invasive Plants in Your Own Backyard” at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11 in the Trustees Auditorium in the McLaughlin Science Building at Gould Academy.

The event is part of the Trust’s Local Knowledge Program for February. As a follow-up, a field trip will be scheduled for spring, with specifics announced later.

The program is open to the public and free of charge, although donations are appreciated, Jolan Ippolito, Trust development associate, stated in a recent email.

Additionally, the Trust is hosting a winter hike up Rumford Whitecap mountain at 9 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 13. Winter gear and hiking poles are recommended.

To participate, bring lunch and water and meet in the parking area across from the trail head on the East Andover Road in Rumford.

“Please register so we know you are coming and can update you with any last minute conditions and weather,” Ippolito said by email on Friday morning.

To register, call 824-3806 or email [email protected].

[email protected]


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