WinterKids Passports, FunPasses now available

Applications for the WinterKids Passport and FunPass programs are now available.

The programs promote ways for families to be active, stay healthy and have fun together in the winter.

The WinterKids Passport offers all Maine 5th-, 6th-, and 7th-graders the opportunity to learn and enjoy winter sports.

It offers free and discounted tickets, lessons, and rentals at more than 50 outdoor recreation areas across the state, including downhill ski areas, cross country ski centers, ice skating arenas and snow tubing parks.

There is a $25 application fee per Passport, but WinterKids offers scholarships for families in need. To sign up for a Passport today, visit To inquire about a scholarship, please call 871-5700 ext. 104. 

The WinterKids FunPass offers all Maine children, from preschool through 4th grade, the chance to try cross country skiing and snowshoeing on groomed trails at 20 locations.  The FunPass is free, and available for download at  

WinterKids helps children develop healthy lifelong habits through fun, outdoor winter activity.

WinterKids is sponsored by Hannaford Supermarkets and Healthy Maine Partnerships; and supported by TD Bank, L.L.Bean, and New Balance Foundation.

Students invited to enter junior duck stamp contest

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service invites students in grades K-12 to submit designs for the 17th annual Federal Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest.

Artwork must feature ducks, swans or geese in their natural habitats.

Designs are judged in four age categories, with awards for first, second, and third places and honorable mentions.

Entries must be postmarked by March 15, 2011.

The Maine Best of Show entry will compete with contest winners from other states in a national competition. The first place national winning design is used to create the Federal Junior Duck Stamp.

Proceeds from the sale of Junior Duck Stamps (which cost $5 each) support conservation education by providing awards and scholarships for students, teachers, and schools.

The 2010 Best of Show for Maine was a Harlequin Duck by Matthew Maiello of Kittery Point.

The junior contest is part of an educational curriculum that teaches students about waterfowl, the importance of wetlands, and conservation in general. Proceeds from the sale of Federal Duck Stamps protect wetlands by adding them to the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Contest rules and entry forms are available online for download at

For more information, call Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge at 594-0600 ext.3. 

Businesses or organizations who would like to sponsor this program are also encouraged to contact the service at this number.


Marine ecologist to discuss impacts of ‘ecosystem flip’

What do Caribbean coral reefs, Aleutian kelp forests and coastal Maine have in common? They are all marine ecosystems that have unexpectedly “flipped” into radically different, unhealthy states.

Marine ecologist Dr. Bob Steneck will discuss the local and global impacts of such change when he presents “Flip Happens: When Good Ecosystems Go Bad” at the Marine Environmental Research Insitute in Blue Hill on Nov. 18.

A reception begins at 6 p.m., followed by the talk at 7 p.m. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Blue Hill chef Diane Bianco will provide appetizers for the reception featuring recipes from her new cookbook, “Let’s Party in Maine!”

Steneck is a professor at the University of Maine’s School of Marine Sciences, and he studies coral reefs in the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific, as well as coastal zones in the Gulf of Maine.

This talk is the last in MERI’s 2010 Ocean Environment Lecture Series, which brings leading marine experts to Blue Hill to address critical ocean issues.

The event is supported by the Maine Coastal Program and the Maine Community Foundation.

MERI is located at 55 Main St. For more information, call 374-2135 or go online to


Teens to Trails offers grants to high school outing clubs

Teens to Trails, or T3, invites Maine high school outing clubs to apply for funding and gear through its Grants-to-Clubs program.

Complete application guidelines are available online at Applications are due by Dec. 1, and recipients will be announced by Jan. 15, 2011.

Outing Clubs can receive needed gear such as backpacks or snowshoes, as well as funds to help with transportation or safety and skills training for leaders.

“High school outing clubs are the most effective way we have found for engaging teens in their natural world, making safe outdoor experiences accessible to every student in the state,” said Carol Leone, Teens To Trails founder.

Fifteen clubs received funding last year. Cony High School and Mt. Desert Island High School received new snowshoes to enhance their winter trips. Hall-Dale High School and South Portland High School both received funding to help with a cross-country ski trips.

T3 grants helped six schools cover travel costs. Sacopee Valley High School received daypacks and other gear to enhance its hiking program. Southern Aroostook High School received fly fishing rods and flies for its fly fishing program.

For more information go online to

The Grants-to-Clubs program is made possible in 2010 through a grant from The North Face Explore Fund and the generosity of L.L.Bean.


Great Pond trust to benefit from tree-cutting event

A Christmas tree cutting event is planned at the Great Pond Mountain Wildlands on Nov. 28 and Dec. 5 from noon to 3 p.m.

There will be hayrides, a bonfire, hot cocoa and goodies, and wild, open-grown balsam firs will be available for cutting for $25. Additional trees are $10 each.

Cutting help and handsaws will be available; no chainsaws are allowed.

All proceeds will benefit the Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust, and the cutting will help thin an overcrowded forest.

If there is no snow, visitors can access the wildlands from North Gate on Bald Mountain Road in North Orland, 0.2 miles west of the Winkumpaugh Road intersection, or South Gate on Route 1, just south of the Route 176 junction in East Orland.

If it snows, only South Gate on Route 1 will be open for the event.

For more information, call 469-7190 or e-mail [email protected]

Updates are available at