CEUMC Eco Ministry

Grace Bartlett discusses the unique eco system of Robinson Woods.

The Eco Ministry of the Cape Elizabeth United Methodist Church held its first in a series of Nature Walks and Art Projects on August 28 in Robinson Woods, led by Maine Master Naturalist and retired minister Grace Bartlett.

The Eco Team will be holding future walks, demonstrations and presentations monthly throughout the next year. Each walk will be free and open to the public, but limited in size, allowing it to be a more intimate experience.

Grace Bartlett and Bruce Lind reading scripture at the beginning of the walk.

This Nature Walk began with a scripture reading from 1 Corinthians 12: “There is one body, but it has many parts. But all of its parts make up one body.”

Grace compared the scripture to life in the forest. “See the woods in its totality,” she said. “See it as a community. And think about why things are linked together.”

As the walk began, Grace told the group to think of the forest as a four-layered cake:

The canopy of mature trees.

The shrub layer of 10-12 feet tall.

The ground layer with ferns and spring ephemerals.

And everything that grows under our feet that impacts what grows on top of it.

Throughout the walk, Grace would stop every 10-15 feet and point out a piece of the woods most of the participants never would have noticed. For example, Doll’s Eyes.

Doll’s Eyes

She also explained that 90 percent of a mushroom grows underground with its small fibers or mycelium connecting with trees. The network of fibers, she said, is called the Wood Wide Web.

Throughout the walk, Grace marveled at the wonders of Robinson Woods and explained that the oak and hickory diversity is “very uncommon for Maine. This piece of land is unique and well worth treasuring.”

Following the walk, Deanne Burr and Pastor Priscilla Dreyman led a print-making session set up on tables behind the church, using ferns, leaves, flowers and stencils on blotted paper to create unique designs.

The results were amazing!

To finish a very rewarding morning, members of the church’s United Methodist Women prepared lunch.

Thank you to Grace Bartlett and everyone who made this event such a success!

The next Eco Ministry event will be another nature walk, this one led by Dr. Jim Paruk, an associate professor in the Biology Department at St. Joseph’s College. The title of his walk is “Ferns, Firs, Fauna”.

The public is invited to attend, but participation is limited. Make a reservation by leaving a message on the church voice mail, 207-799-8396, with your name, phone number and how many people will be attending. You also can send an e-mail to capeelizabethumc@gmail.com with the same information.

Grace Bartlett will be leading another walk in October.

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