CAPE ELIZABETH — Cape Elizabeth Land Trust is gearing up for a winter of outdoor exploration and education with a series of programs designed to engage the community in nature-based activities. All programs require preregistration through Cape Elizabeth Community Services, and participants are encouraged to register at least 48 hours in advance for timely notifications regarding any changes or cancellations.

Cape Elizabeth Land Trust offers a winter of outdoor exploration and education with a series of programs designed to engage the community in nature-based activities. Courtesy photo/Ali Gustavson

The land trust’s Crosstown Winter Walk, slated for Saturday, Feb. 17, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is an immersive traverse of over eight miles of both town of Cape Elizabeth and trust trails. Led by land trust member and Maine Master Naturalist Amy Witt, along with Stewardship Committee member Hans Hackett, the walk begins at Kettle Cove State Park. Participants, aged 12 and older, are advised to come prepared with ice traction due to potentially icy trail conditions. The meeting point is Fort Williams Park, where attendees will carpool to Kettle Cove. Highlights of the Crosstown Walk include Kettle Cove, Great Pond, Gull Crest trails, Chapel Woods, Robinson Woods Preserve, and Fort Williams Park.

Ali Gustavson, the trust’s education program coordinator, said, “It’s not just a hike; it’s a community experience. Participants get to explore Cape Elizabeth’s beautiful trails together, highlighting the interconnectedness of our town and the importance of preserving these natural spaces.”

The Animal Tracking for Families program, led by Gustavson, is scheduled for Feb. 21, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., at the Great Pond Fenway Road trailhead. Aimed at teaching participants common winter animal tracks and tracking skills, the educational outing is suitable for children aged 6 and older, accompanied by an adult.

“Participants will learn basic animal tracking skills and common animal evidence that can be seen around Cape Elizabeth in the winter,” Gustavson said. “We will provide handheld tracking guides and other resources to aid in identifying tracks.”

The program, contingent on acceptable weather conditions, costs $6 for a parent and one child. Participants must meet at the end of Fenway Road. “We want families to not just learn about animal tracks but to actively engage with the environment,” Gustavson said. “The handheld track guides we provide are a tool to empower participants to observe and identify animal tracks on their own, fostering a deeper connection to nature.”


In collaboration with Thomas Memorial Library, the land trust will presents the Amphibian “Big Night” Program on Thursday, March 28, at 6:30 p.m. The program features Greg LeClair, a winner of the National Conservation Young Leader Award and the founder of Maine’s Big Night initiative.

“We are incredibly excited to be hosting Greg LeClair, a PhD student at UMaine and the founder of Maine’s Big Night,” Gustavson said. “Big Night is the first warm, rainy night of the spring when amphibians such as frogs and salamanders begin making their way to vernal pools to lay their eggs. Greg will be speaking about Maine’s Big Night and how communities can contribute to important conservation efforts.”

LeClair, currently studying ecology and environmental sciences at the University of Maine, will discuss the program, that focuses on protecting amphibians during their migration. The presentation, followed by walking programs in the subsequent weeks, aims to engage citizens in community science initiatives. The event is free, with no registration required.

“Given the unpredictable nature of Big Night, our initial presentation is designed to inform and build excitement,” Gustavson said. “Following that, we plan to take interested individuals out on the trails in the weeks after the presentation, providing a hands-on experience of witnessing the amphibians in action.”

Preregistration is encouraged for the programs. “Preregistration is crucial for us to communicate any changes or cancellations promptly,” said Gustavson. “It ensures that participants have the latest information and can make the most of their outdoor experience with Cape Elizabeth Land Trust.”

For more information or to register, contact Ali Gustavson at or 207-767-6054.

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