RANGELEY – The Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust is putting on a program of family events designed to educate kids and their parents this summer. The mission of the RLHT is to conserve and steward the natural and historical resources found in the Rangeley Region. They build trails for local use, conserve land and provide programs, such as these events, for their community. The events in this program cover many topics relating to encouraging people to get outside to explore and utilize local resources.
On Aug. 3, there will be a lesson on service learning. The group will meet at the Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust office located on Main Street, where they will learn how to build Leopold benches.
Aldo Leopold benches are a simple bench design common in conservation work. Named for the renowned conservationist and author of Sandy Country Almanac from the late 1800s, these benches were designed specifically for conservation land; a place to sit and observe rather than harm the natural world. They last a long time and are easy to build, making them the ideal bench for conservation. You can sit two ways: lean against the back, or turn around for a convenient armrest when using binoculars.
The benches will be set up on conservation land as part of the activity. The purpose is to show kids that the resources they see around town aren’t just there, people have to have a part in providing them.
On Sunday, August 8, there will be a Dark Sky program at 8:15 p.m. For this event, participants will meet at the EcoVenture Campus on South Shore Drive in Rangeley to explore the sky. The program will cover whatever is visible in the sky that night, from constellations to planets.
One of the events is two days long, starting with a virtual lesson and ending with a mushroom foraging excursion. On the weekend of August 14 and 15, mycology expert and published author Greg Marley will teach about the wonders of local mushrooms. In the words of Amanda Laliberte, the programs director at the RLHT, Marley is “an established mycology professional. He’s amazing!”
The following Tuesday, August 17, will be an informative water quality event at the RLHT office in Rangeley. Kids will be taught about how water always runs downhill, what a watershed is and more information about where water comes from.
The final event in the summer series will be on the local flora and fauna found in Rangeley. At the Hunter Cove Wildlife Sanctuary on August 24, participants, adults and kids alike, will learn how to utilize apps to find out what kinds of plants or animals they come across.
“None of us have all the answers,” says Amanda Laliberte. “But sometimes it’s as simple as taking a picture on your phone.”