PCSWCD Receives Grants to Continue Conservation Education and Improve Williamsburg Forest

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The Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District works hard to promote stewardship and provide resources to community members, arming the public with information and solutions to protect, promote and conserve natural resources . Grant funding for special projects and support for existing services elevates our work, which ultimately results in great improvements in and for our local communities.

The Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District works hard to promote stewardship and provide resources to community members, arming the public with information and solutions to protect, promote and conserve natural resources . Grant funding for special projects and support for existing services elevates our work, which ultimately results in great improvements in and for our local communities.

The PCSWCD has worked hard to secure two sources of grant funding for ongoing projects in 2022 and 2023: a grant from the Maine Community Foundation to perform forest management and update trails on the property of the unorganized territory of the PCSWCD , the Williamsburg Forest (formerly Demonstration Forest), and an Onion Foundation grant to help support and increase conservation education for young people in Piscataquis County.

The Maine Community Foundation grant received for the Williamsburg Forest will make significant improvements to public lands. All updates will focus on creating a space for women woodlot owners. PCSWCD and partner organizations Northeast Forest Stewards Guild and UMaine School of Forest Resources will work together to establish chainsaw safety courses and demonstration areas used to expand and strengthen chainsaw skills.

Programs like these help women feel empowered to use the tools and resources needed to work their land and build confidence in their decisions to manage a sustainable, income-generating forest. In addition to the chainsaw demonstration areas being established, grant funds will be used for trail updates and signage, greatly increasing land accessibility and educational opportunities for area schools, young people and the general public. Programs will focus on natural resource education, forest health, land management, stewardship and more. Grant funds will support improvements to existing multi-use trails, providing public access and increasing the well-being of the local community.

Finally, the funds will be used to update the Forest Management Plan for the Williamsburg Forest and create a harvest plan, which will help maintain the overall capacity of the PCSWCD. The Harvest Plan will include systematic harvests, creating additional funding for future and ongoing training. Private Forester Molly London and PCSWCD Community Forestry Representative and graduate forestry student Elisa Schine will work together to generate an updated Forest Management Plan, incorporating feedback from the PCSWCD Board of Directors and project partners.

In April, PCSWCD Executive Director Sarah Robinson led several women in the field of natural resource professionals in a brainstorming session in the Williamsburg Forest to discuss the vision of creating a woodlot for women landowners. and to determine how to improve the property for the entire property. Public. During this planning session, the slogan “A forest for all, managed by women” was coined by partners from the UMaine School of Forest Resources. This message will be carried throughout the work done with these grant funds. PCSWCD would like to thank the Maine Community Foundation for the opportunity to highlight these exciting developments.

In addition to the grant from the Maine Community Foundation, PCSWCD received a grant from the Onion Foundation to help support our youth conservation education efforts. If you follow PCSWCD on social media, I’m sure you’ve seen the smiling faces of Piscataquis County school kids enjoying outdoor lessons with our education coordinator Kacey Weber.

PCSWCD has seen a marked increase in demand for outdoor education and we want to continue to answer that call! Historically, we have provided bespoke educational offerings to schools, municipalities, organizations etc. and we needed financial support to meet the increased demand. Grant funds from the Onion Foundation have allowed us to expand our current efforts and provide fun summer programs, work with local partners such as the Appalachian Mountain Club, Thompson Free Library, School SeDoMoCha for after school programs, and much more. PCSWCD is very grateful for the support received from the Onion Foundation and is ready and excited to continue investing in our children and communities.

Grants from the Maine Community Foundation and Onion Foundation mean exciting and positive change for communities in Piscataquis County. We urge residents to stay connected with us through Facebook www.facebook.com/www.piscataquisswcd.org, Instagram – instagram.com/piscataquiscountyswcd and our website www.piscataquisswcd.org for updates on the exciting progress being made through to this work.

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