Nature enthusiasts in Scarborough have a lot to look forward to this February, as the Scarborough Land Trust (SLT) gears up for a series of engaging events designed to celebrate the local landscape and deepen connections with the natural world. From contemplative walks to wildlife tracking workshops, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

The Contemplative Winter Walk, which took place on Feb. 4, is part of a year-long series of contemplative nature walks held by the SLT. Led by Nicole Diroff, a Maine master naturalist and ordained minister, these walks aim to blend naturalist knowledge with spiritual practice, honoring the seasons and fostering a deeper appreciation for nature, Diroff said. “All stories and traditions are respected and appreciated on these walks that combine naturalist knowledge with spiritual practice.”

“Participants wearing snow pants and spikes were energized by spending a sunny day at a beautiful place with like-minded people,” said Diroff.

Walk participants were invited into a walking meditation where they repeated the mantra “winter reveals.” The mantra, Diroff said, was inspired by a quote from Annie Dillard: “All that summer conceals, winter reveals. …”

“After the walking meditation they (participants) shared how they noticed winter revealing the uniqueness of a tree’s silhouette, the path of a creature in the snow, deep and long shadows across the field, and the art of a goldenrod that has emerged from being buried,” Diroff said.

The Snowshoe Tour of Pleasant Hill Preserve, which was scheduled for Feb. 10, offered another opportunity for outdoor exploration. Led by Diane Neal, a member of the SLT board, this guided snowshoe was to take participants to access areas of the preserve typically inaccessible during other seasons. “Winter is a beautiful time to explore the outdoors. … snowshoes allow us to walk parts of the property we don’t get to experience the rest of the year,” Neal said. However, if mother nature didn’t cooperate and the snowshoe tour wouldn’t take place, Neal said.

For those interested in honing their wildlife tracking skills, the Winter Wildlife Tracks workshop on Feb.17 from 1 to 3 p.m. promises an educational experience. Led by Samantha Wolf, SLT’s stewardship director, this two-part workshop will focus on identifying wildlife tracks and signs, empowering participants to connect more deeply with the natural landscape. Wolf emphasized the practical skills to be gained from the workshop. “After gathering in the parking lot, we will move down the trail to an open area to go over some tracking basics. Attendees will use SLT-provided materials to learn the various parts of a track, how to discern the cadence of the animal, and what other signs to look for in winter to understand wildlife behaviors. Then we will follow the trail to visit fields, forests, and streams to look for tracks, and practice creating a narrative of animal behavior based on what we find.”

Rounding out the month’s events is the Beaver Land Book Release at Print: A Bookstore in Portland on Feb. 29 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. This special event, held in partnership with Print: A Bookstore, features author Leila Philip discussing her book “Beaverland: How One Weird Rodent Made America.” Through conversation, reading, and audience questions, attendees will gain insights into the importance of beavers to our ecosystem and the broader natural world. The event is sponsored by Scarborough Land Trust.

“In addition to conserving land, SLT offers educational programs designed to connect more people to Scarborough’s beautiful and diverse landscapes, and the incredible natural world around us,” the SLT team said. The team says the SLT offers a diversity of events throughout the year. Check their website,, regularly to see what programs they have planned.

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