My Summer on the Blue Hill Peninsula

My name is Andrew Czwakiel, I attend UMaine Orono and study Ecology and Environmental Science. I am an outdoorsy person. I enjoy working outdoors as well as working to conserve nature for future generations to come.

I applied for the Maine Coast Heritage Trust internship with hopes to learn more about land trusts, how they operate in terms of conserving land, as well as how they work together to engage the community. One of the added bonuses is that I get to work outside. 

I was lucky enough to work with Blue Hill Heritage Trust on the Blue Hill Peninsula. What drew me to the program was the variety of work I’d be doing for the organization. No day at work is the same as the last, and there are always different tasks to be working on, whether it’s trail work, doing forest inventory, creating a trail video, or fixing a large hole in one of the forest bridges.

There’s no shortage of work, and there are no boring days.

There are so many moving parts to a land trust organization, and I’ve had the amazing opportunity to be involved in and experience working with all the different departments within the Trust, all the way from stewardship and doing trail maintenance, to development and outreach. 

I’ve been fortunate to work outside most of my time this summer, and there’s just something about being outside in the sunlight and breathing fresh air that makes me feel more productive. Working outside feels great no matter the weather, and even on the hottest days, I’d prefer being in nature than stuck inside a building. Working for the Trust is a dream come true. 

Last week was a particularly exciting day. As I pulled up for work one morning, our forester Sandy had just picked up our two new brush cutters to clear one of the Trust’s fields, Caterpillar Hill, of small trees and shrubs growing up in the blueberry field. We decided to start off the morning while it was cooler outside, moving gravel on the Parker Point to South Street trail to help improve the footing of the trail, and to continue the goal of making it more age friendly. After carrying gravel for a few hours, we took a break, and Sandy and I decided to go test the new brush cutters in the blueberry field to see how they’ll work.

Andrew helps fix a bridge on conserved land.

Having used power equipment before, I was still shocked with the cutting power of the brush cutters, they go through small trees like a knife through butter. Within a couple of hours we had cleared a thick half-acre of trees that were growing up in the blueberry field. It was a long hot day, but by the end of the day, we felt very accomplished and ready to take on tomorrow’s challenges. 

Andrew Czwakiel was one of nine 2020 Maine Coast Heritage Trust Conservation Interns. Andrew worked for Blue Hill Heritage Trust.