Friday, July 26, 2019

An evening of moon gazing on Sebago Lake

By Lorraine Glowczak

There was a total of eight of us as we boarded our kayaks and paddled towards the sunset on Sebago Lake from the beach at Saint Joseph’s College with the hopes to capture a look at a full moon rising – with its silver light reflection bouncing on the water. Nature exceeded our expectations and we were far from disappointed.

Last Tuesday evening’s adventure was the second in a monthly series of guided kayaking Moonlight Paddle tours sponsored by The Sebago Center at Saint Joseph’s College, 278 Whites Bridge Road in Standish. Professionally led by Katelyn Allen, co-owner of Sebago Trails Paddling Company in Raymond, the experience was more than magical.

The evening began at 7:45 p.m. as the eight adventuresome souls gathered together near the campfire on the campus beach to be greeted by Ashley O’Brien, The Sebago Center’s Senior Director of Customer Experience who welcomed everyone to the event and introduced Allen. The friendly and knowledgeable kayaking expert spoke briefly about the history of the lake before sharing important safety tips and logistical information. Allen than distributed headlamps, flashlights and life jackets prior to helping each of us enter and sit comfortably in our kayaks.

We then headed out as the sun was setting in the west, providing for us a show of a slightly muted fiery sky with Mount Washington as its backdrop. “The humidity is a little high right now, but on a clear day, the sun can be much brighter, and you are able to see the peak of Mount Washington,” explained Allen. warm summer evening breeze encouraged us to paddle with ease toward our destination, Squaw Island. As the sun made its quick descent, we made our way around the island only to be greeted by the jaw dropping view of the blue fluorescent moon peaking over the tall pines that line the beach along the Saint Joseph’s College campus.

As we paddled back toward shore, each of us going at our own pace, the serene presence of nature quieted most of our conversations for a moment so we only heard the lapping of the waves slapping against our kayaks as our headlights and flashlights bobbed up and down in rhythm with our boats.
With the campfire as our guide, we slowly paddled back to home base, trying to make the moment last as long as possible. Arriving after our 1 ½ hour paddle, we each helped one another out of our kayaks and ended the night with goodbyes, telling one another a few of our favorite highlights, with the flames of campfire behind us. At 9:45 p.m., we were heading back to our vehicles and our normal everyday lives – only to be changed, if only in a small way, by nature’s moonlight wonder.

Everyone was in agreement that the adventure was more than expected. “While kayaking isn’t new to me, I had never experienced a night paddle before,” stated participant, Lane Hane. “It was incredible! There’s something really special about being out on the lake at night, and Kate did a great job of allowing us to move at our own pace and simply enjoy the moonrise.”

“I was in reverie during the full moon paddle on Sebago Lake. Camaraderie with the group led by our guide, Kate, added to the experience,” Dorell Migliano said. “Her expertise helped lead me back to shore during some windy conditions. It was truly a memorable night!”

You, too, can enjoy the wonders of a moonlight paddle as there are a few more dates coming up to experience the adventure, Thursday, August 15 at 7:45 p.m. and Saturday, September 14 at 7 p.m. For more information or to register:

The Sebago Center functions as an extension of Saint Joseph’s College of Maine and is the latest expression of the college’s long-standing commitment to community, one of our seven core values.
Informed by the spirit of the Sisters of Mercy, they demonstrate their connectedness with one another through their expressions of hospitality, courtesy, inclusive relationships, shared values, and collaboration. They extend this value of community by reaching out to neighbors and to members of the broader civic and ecclesial communities.

Preschoolers run ‘marathon’ to raise money for RSU14 Backpack Program

Students at Birchwood Day Nursery School
By Lorraine Glowczak

Organizations – whether they are businesses, religious or otherwise, will rise to the call and make sure others in dire circumstances are given a hand when life throws them a curveball. Is this an innate response or is it nurtured by those who teach us well? Or is it both?

The answers are probably best addressed by sociologists, anthropologists and educational psychologists. Whether it is intrinsic or not, all this reporter knows is the three, four and five-year-olds at Birchwood Day Nursery School on River Road in Windham raised over $7,000 at their eighth annual marathon fundraising event which consists of running around a designated track in the school’s front yard on April 23 and 24. The 3-year-olds participated in a dance-a-thon.

The funds raised were donated to the RSU14 Backpack Program. In the process, the students not only learned about service to others, but also learned the importance of personal health and exercise. And they did so with passion and excitement.“We talked about four important aspects to health,” stated Heather Marden, teacher and inspiration of the program. “Eating healthy, drinking water, exercise and getting the right amount of sleep were discussed often and a part of our curriculum study to prepare for the run. The only thing is, they didn’t know they were learning because they were having so much fun.”

Prior to the marathon, the students not only discussed healthy personal living habits but also what it takes to be a part of a healthy community. When asked what he learned the most about participating in the marathon and giving back to others, student Connor McGovern said, “Sometimes when you run, you fall down. When friends fall down, you help them back up so they can keep running.” 

Student Easton McDonnell quickly added, “Sometimes when you fall down, it hurts really bad so you need to get a cold pack so people can feel better.”

If there is one way to encourage children to think about others in need “when they fall”, this certainly was one way to do it as it seemed to leave an impression.

Marden explained that the annual event is filled with excitement as they mark the running path with flags and balloons, not only with the children but former students as well. “When we start putting the flags and balloons up, former students who are now a part of our after-school program, recall their own fond memories of the event. We even have them come to speak to the children about their experiences as part of our curriculum activities and preparations.”

The event included visitors such as Crusher, the mascot from Maine Red Claws and the boys’ basketball team from Saint Joseph’s College. “We also invited Chef Ryan from RSU14,” explained Marden. “He spoke to us a bit about how important the backpack program is and to show us what type of healthy foods go into the backpacks, giving students sample foods to try.”

The marathon also brings out the spectators with the sidelines filled with moms, dads, uncles, aunts, siblings and grandparents, cheering on their favorite three, four and five-year olds as they run, fall and help others get back up.

The following are a few influences, lessons learned and favorite aspects from the four-lap front yard marathon participation:

“Getting a medal by Dr. Rhoads, Principle of Windham Primary School,” Mason Cieslak
“Seeing my dad,” Easton Secord
“Drinking the water,” Aria Celeste
“Eating oranges with my grammy and uncle,” Amelia Wildes
“Running around the preschool looking at the flags and balloons,” Jack Moriarty
“We have to stretch our muscles to warm them up,” Charlee Prokey perhaps the most important aspect from the marathon event is the impression it makes on the parents. “We have parents who thank us for helping the community,” began Connie DiBiase, Birchwood’s Director. “One parent told us how important it was – and how he could identify what it is like not to have enough food as a child – and now he feels like he gets to help other children and families.”

Heather Marden stated that they wanted to target children in the Windham Community. “When deciding what organization to serve, it made sense to us to give to the RSU14 Backpack Program – focusing in on the fact that hunger does exist in our community and taking that as a learning experience on what it takes to live a healthy life.”

The children raised enough money to provide food for over 35 students.

“The Backpack Program couldn't survive without the continued support of businesses and organizations such as Birchwood Day Nursery School,” stated Program Coordinator of the Backpack Program. “They have helped us provide a financial stability in the program. I also hope that these little people will learn to be caring, giving community members thanks to the Nursery School and their parents and caregivers involvement in this fundraiser that they do yearly. I couldn't be more appreciative.”

A special thanks goes to Marden and DiBiase, along with all the Birchwood staff, for their dedication to our youth and teaching as well.

For more information about the Backpack Program, contact Marge Govoni at To make a donation, ensuring that the food insecure children of the Windham and Raymond communities are nourished and well fed, mail check or money order noting which program you are donating too, to the following address: School Nutrition Program, 228 Windham Center Road, Windham,04062.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Raymond’s best kept secret: Father and son artists to display work at Raymond Village Library

Holden and Don Willard
By Mary-Therese Duffy

If you haven’t had a chance to visit the Raymond Village Library recently, you may want to check out the latest art display that is running currently and will continue to do so until the end of August. One reason why this exhibition is special is that the father and son artists duo, Don and Holden Willard, are showing their work together for the first time. Another distinct factor is that, although Holden has made a name for himself as an artist, many in the community may be surprised to discover that his talent may have been handed down from his father.

Don is best known as the Raymond Town Manager, having dedicated much of his time to that position in service of the residents. Most, however, have no idea that this is also a man of great talent and creativity.  Having been around farming and mechanical equipment his entire life, he idolized his dairy farmer grandfather who survived the Great Depression, and like most of his contemporaries, had a natural “make do” ethic and attitude that included the repair and reuse of anything that they could.
He explained that the farm had stockpiles of metal parts and other potentially useful materials and objects at the ready, to facilitate such repairs and often for fabrications of useful tools and objects. 

Don’s grandfather encouraged him to explore his interest in mechanical objects. “I had the opportunity to delve into the range of sharp and dangerous objects that children are mostly advised to avoid,” recalled Don. “My first experience was straightening old barn nails with a hammer on an anvil, followed later by chasing new threads on antique square headed bolts and nuts with an ancient tap and die set. I processed buckets full of both for reuse, which I found oddly satisfying.”

Don became interested in ‘found objects, assemblage sculpture’ which intensified after obtaining his first welding machine and associated tools. Now known as “Steam Punk”, this is a genre of art and fashion that draws upon elements and objects from the dawn of the industrial revolution, assembled in a sort of science fiction imagined future. “Such things appear quite anachronistic when compared to our modern plastic derived throwaway society consumer objects,” noted Don. “It was for me just a natural extension of the materials and things that I like to work with.”

"Steam Punk" art by Don Willard
Never actually thinking of himself as an artist until invited to show in the Maine Coast Artists Exhibit in Rockport at the director’s suggestion, Don recalled; “I did that, and I remember the gallery opening for the show. There were many wealthy folks there all dressed up and milling about, admiring a turtle that I had made from an inverted mechanical cow watering bowl and some old trolley line hardware. I imagined that my grandfather would have gotten a real kick out of that scene.”

When asked what the most challenging and most inspiring aspects of his craft were, Don stated that one of the greatest challenges is finding the era/period correct objects necessary at a reasonable cost to make interesting, authentic feeling sculptures. “At one time, every farmer had piles of the junk that I like,” Don said. “Today such junk, like the farmers and tinkerers that coveted these materials are pretty scarce. As for fulfillment, I mostly do it for my own enjoyment as it reminds me of my childhood and provides me with a deep appreciation for what it took to survive before our postmodern consumer culture. Our ancestors made many things for everyday use as a regular part of life. Having such skills today is still not a bad idea in my view.”

Holden's art work
As for his son, Holden, he has been making quite a name for himself with his “Best in Show” award from “The Works”, a worldwide competition sponsored by the Cultural Center of Cape Cod. Having submitted two pieces, it was his painting, “Red Portrait” that garnered the First place winning this past February. A 2017 graduate of Windham High School, Holden is a committed fine artist whose natural talent is fully resonant and alive with in his work.

Holden stated that he began his interest in art as a young child playing with small coloring books and empty pads of paper. “I didn't become serious until my senior year, however,” Holden said. “With the support of high school mentors, Jeffery Bell and Joe McLaughlin: both inspired a motivation within myself which I had never received from anyone before.” Holden continued by stating that he is inspired by the people he meets, and the people he holds close within his creative community. “Everyone I paint, I paint for specific reasons, but mainly I am interested in displaying people who inspire me in one way, shape or form.”

He has always seen himself as a creative person. “I don't think I could live my life happily and to its fullest if art was not a major part of it,” Holden reflected. “I had been told for so long that being an artist was impossible, but after growing and maturing I've realized that a life lived unhappy and full of regret is no life at all.  I will do what I love, no matter what.  But I will leave conceptual artist John Baldessari to explain this drive: ‘My advice? Don't go into art for fame or fortune. Do it because you cannot not do it."’

The hardest part of creating, Holden said, is creating itself. “The act of creating is a strenuous and laborious process. On my larger works, I can spend anywhere from up to three weeks to multiple months... fussing and pushing until all the parts begin to feel whole.  It's easier to do this when you're interested in your subject matter, and thus your work ethic will improve... it's just a matter of sticking to it. I love to see the reactions of my models, I will have them come in for multiple sessions on occasion, and I am always touched by the beautiful responses and positive reinforcement I receive. I am always filled with creative resolve when a fellow artist within my community reaches out to critique some of my work and give constructive feedback.  Creating connections between the artist and the model and within the community of artists that surround me... are why I create.”

To meet and talk with the both Don and Holden, there will be an open house on Monday, August 5 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Raymond Village Library, 3 Meadow Road and his co-hosted by The Raymond Arts Alliance. For more information about this exhibit, call 207-712-6200

Windham resident hopes to spread awareness of mental illness through her 2019 Caregiver of the Year Award

Karen Rumo
By Lorraine Glowczak

It has been said that Karen Rumo of Windham has an amazing gift of profound caring for others - and that gift won her an outstanding award that is rarely found among her contemporaries. On Wednesday, June 19 Rumo, who is a Psychiatric Technician at Spring Harbor Hospital in Westbrook received the Caregiver of the Year award at the Maine Hospital Association’s (MHA) annual Summer Forum held at the Samoset Resort in Rockport. News Center Maine Anchor Sharon Rose Vaznis presented the award.

According to the (MHA) website, the Caregiver of the Year Award has been given to a caregiver employed by a member institution who, on a daily basis, demonstrates extraordinary commitment to the delivery of care to patients and their families.

"If someone is feeling anxious or they look frightened, she knows how to approach them and to help calm them down, de-escalate them, and help them get what they need," stated Mary Jane Krebs, President of Spring Harbor Hospital in a June 19 publication written by Vaznis.

Rumo is a 1984 graduate of Windham High School and has worked in the field of mental health for 33 years. Her dedication to helping others in a field that is very challenging to serve is admirable. While others in her profession tend to experience burnout, Rumo’s passion only grows.

She serves on committees, trains new employees and goes the extra mile for patients and staff alike. “Passion and caring for others are the foundation for any job you might have,” Rumo began. “And for me, if it benefits our patients – then I’m going to do it.” a recent interview, Rumo’s enthusiasm for her life’s work was evident and her excitement filled the room. “I had no clue that I was nominated,” began Rumo. “In fact, I didn’t even know such awards existed and I feel so honored to have been nominated and selected as the winner.”

The Caregiver of the Year Award has been presented to medical professionals since 2002 and it’s the first time that this award was given to someone who works on the front line, working directly with the patients in a technician’s position.

Rumo was nominated by a longtime coworker and friend, Claudia Henry. Henry, who wrote the required 500-word essay and collected testimonials for the application process, is the one who called to let Rumo know the good news. “When Claudia called to tell me I had been selected, she said, ‘Karen! This is like winning the Oscars in Hollywood!’”

Much like the Oscars, Rumo had to prepare an acceptance speech. She admitted she was a little nervous, but it didn’t prevent her from sharing some very important messages. “In my speech I wanted to convey that a person does this work because their heart is in it and they want to make a difference in people’s lives,” Rumo stated. “Making a difference can happen in many different ways. There are times people arrive at the hospital with just a medical gown and come with no other clothing. Making a difference can simply be finding a shirt in the donation box so the person is more comfortable.”

Her hope that the attention she has received with winning this award can bring about more awareness in the mental health field. “There is still so much stigma surrounding mental health and it is my hope that this perception changes,” Rumo stated. “In some form or fashion, we all experience our own mental health issues. If there are emotions, there is going to be mental health issues that come up.”
Rumo’s greatest message is kindness, understanding and sympathy. “No matter who you come in contact with, everyone has a story, and everyone has something to contribute. Since we don’t know the whole story of an individual’s life, it is best that we do not judge – but to be kind to one another.”

Friday, July 12, 2019

Local volunteers continue a 32-year tradition beautifying the Windham rotary islands: Enough funds to last only two more years

Flowers on Smith Island of the Route 302 rotary.
By Lorraine Glowczak

There are many benefits to planting flowers – and enjoying their spectacular colors and beauty is among them. Due to a few community volunteers, local residents and visiting motorists, alike, have come upon a colorful display of scenery at the round-a-bout at the intersection of Routes 302 and 202 in Windham for the past 32 years. Who are the landscaping creatives and how did it all begin?

In his June 6, 2017 article, Reporter Walter Lunt shared the following: “The rotary gardens have their roots in Windham’s 250th year celebration back in 1987. The town went all out with lectures, historical programs, open house events in old homes and churches, various entertainment venues, a parade, festival and gardens featuring red, white and blue plantings. (The color theme is retained in the current rotary gardens.) Gary Plummer, General Chair of the 1987 event, said the rotary flowers were well received by the public, so it became a spring tradition.”
But becoming a tradition almost didn’t happen. Plummer recently stated that the flowers were originally provided by June and Dick Hawkes, who once ran a greenhouse on Windham Center Road. “At the end of the 250th celebration, our committee had several thousand dollars left in our account. We gave that to the Town of Windham and in return we asked that the town pay for the flowers for us to plant every year. The town did this for several years, but then cut this money from the budget.”

When this happened, Plummer polled members of the group and they all agreed that they preferred to remain gardeners, not fundraisers. “I went to the town council and apprised them of our decision and told them that we would work with them in closing down the gardens,” Plummer said. “When I got home that evening, I found two messages on my answering machine offering to help provide for the continuing of the gardens. Those calls were from Joe Gagne of Roosevelt Trail Garden Center and George Hall of Hall Implement Company.”

And thus, the tradition was able to continue.

Naming themselves the “Rotary Club”, members depend upon donations and on contributions of flowers and mulch. Plummer credits Joe Gagne of Roosevelt Trail Nurseries and Cooper’s Greenhouse with major contributions.

Plummer explained that there originally were four different groups that planted one island each. “Over the years, as people were no longer able to plant and maintain their island, we worked together as one group,” stated Plummer. “At this point, I am the only person that has been there since the beginning.”

Roosevelt Trail Garden Center donated the flowers for many years and Hall Implement Company still donates the mulch. After Roosevelt Trail Garden center stopped growing their annual flowers, they donated many perennial flowers to keep the gardens going.

“Gaylene Cooper of Coopers Greenhouse contacted one of our members and offered to work with us to add a little more color to our gardens,” Plummer said. “For the last few years, we have purchased flowers from Coopers at a discounted price.” current source of funding is a grant that was given to the Rotary Club by Lake Pine Association when they sold their building on Route 302. “There is still enough money left to keep us going for about two more years. If the project is to continue after that, we will need to seek donations.”
Many, many people have been involved over the years. The current active members of the Rotary Garden Club are Tom Tyler, Sandy Tyler, Beth Hall, James Minott, Barb Maurais, Jennifer Harmon, Betty and, of course, Gary Plummer who has been there from the beginning.

“Over the years, we have named each island. The island on Route 202, nearest Hall Implement is called the Hall Island,” Plummer stated. “The island on Route 302, nearest Seavey’s store is the Seavey Island. The island on Route 202, nearest the Smith Cemetery, is the Smith Island. The island on Route 302, nearest Hancock Lumber, is known as the Hancock Island.”

If anyone is interested in joining The Rotary Club or making a donation, please reach out to Gary Plummer at

SEALs for Sunshine undertake 16-mile swim to help military families enjoy Camp Sunshine

Mike Wisecup, Matt Shipman, Lew Emery and
Chad Kalocinski after the first fundraiser in
August 2014 which was a 13 mile swim
By Elizabeth Richards

In 2014, four active duty Navy SEALs participated in the inaugural SEALs for Sunshine event, a 13-mile swim across Sebago Lake. On July 25th, 2019, SEALs for Sunshine will hold their sixth annual event with the longest swim event to date.

Swimmers, including SEALs for Sunshine founder, retired Navy SEAL Commander Michael Wisecup, will navigate from Long Lake in Bridgton, through Naples into Brandy Pond, down the Songo River and across the northern part of Sebago Lake, where they’ll end their journey at Point Sebago, next door to Camp Sunshine.

Wisecup started SEALs for Sunshine to raise awareness of what the camp could offer to military families with children facing life threatening diseases. The first event in 2014 coincided with Camp Sunshine’s 30-year anniversary campaign, “Going the Distance.  “Going the Distance seemed to fit with a 13-mile half marathon swim across Sebago Lake,” Wisecup said. year since then, SEALs for Sunshine has held at least one intense physical challenge to support the goal of raising money for military families to attend Camp Sunshine. Just over $500,000 has been raised through these events, prompting a significant increase in military families – both active duty and veterans – attending camp.  Many of these families would not have known about Camp Sunshine without the publicity surrounding these events, Wisecup said.

The funds raised through SEALs for Sunshine events directly supports both attendance at the camp and travel costs to alleviate the financial burden of getting to and from camp, Wisecup said. 

The goal the first year was for each of the four swimmers to raise $2500, the approximate cost of getting one family to camp. They ended up raising just over $250,000.  “We were blown away.  There was so much support for it, support for the camp, support for the military. It was really nice,” Wisecup said.

Since that first event, SEALs for Sunshine participants collectively have swum 391 miles, biked 770 miles, run 116 miles, and put in 780 miles worth of stand-up paddle boarding.
“We try to do something different every year,” Wisecup said.  “This year, we’re coming back into the water.” 

The events are deliberately extremely physical challenges, Wisecup said, to bring some awareness to the difficulty a family faces when their child receives a life altering diagnosis.  “At that moment, that family has to fight for everything. They can’t quit. That’s a cornerstone of the SEAL ethos - never quit,” Wisecup said. 

While participants have the benefit of preparation and training, families don’t have that luxury, Wisecup said. “They don’t get to prepare their finances, their life, and put everything in order,” he said. “We’re lucky to be able to prepare, but we need to make it hard so that it connects, and it’s something we can have in common with those families as well.” year, according to a fundraising letter sent by Camp Sunshine Development Director Michael Smith, there is a matching challenge from Ralph and Suzanne Heckert and the Capital Group, so each donation made will be doubled.

SEALs for Sunshine events have enabled more than 200 military families from across the country to travel to Camp Sunshine, Smith said in the letter, but there are many more who still need help. 
To support the July 25th Swim for Sunshine, visit or

Editor’s note: Michael Wisecup, has been named vice president for strategic initiatives at Colby College. His responsibilities include operationalizing and managing key strategic initiatives, developing strategies and processes to assess and improve the quality and effectiveness across all areas of the College, coordinating special projects to ensure strategic alignment, increasing organizational focus, and facilitating collaboration regarding strategic planning, execution, and crisis management. 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Insight: A mother’s love

By Lorraine Glowczak

“It’s really important to me that you all remain close and continue to get together once I’m gone,” my mom told me during one of her lucid moments in the final days of her life. “Can you make sure it happens?” I told her that I would, but I wasn’t sure I could pull it off.

My mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on January 12, 2012, and at the age of 82, passed away twelve days later. I got to spend the last five of those days with her.

Her family was the most important aspect of her life and she held a fear that once she left this earth,
my four brothers and I would cease to gather. Our family dynamic isn’t necessarily dysfunctional, but like all human imperfections, we’ve had our share of ups and downs. Our mother could see how her five children’s varying approaches to and perspectives on life could easily force us to go our separate ways once the common glue that held us together was gone. It was her greatest fear.

Born in 1929, she was the product of the Great Depression and thus, left school during her freshman year to get a job. Admittedly, she didn’t enjoy school much, so making money was an attractive option for her, however, her ninth-grade education did not prevent her from knowing about the important aspects of life. Without academic research in family studies, my mom intuitively knew the important role family plays in the health of the individual and society as a whole. She knew that families provide security, love, support and a framework of values for all of us.

According to a University of Nebraska academic article entitled, “Creating a strong family: Why are families so important”, authors John Defrain, Gail Brand, Jeanette Friesen and Dianne Swanson state the following:

“Families are the basic, foundational social units in all human communities around the world – and healthy individuals within healthy families are at the core of a healthy society. It’s in everyone’s best interest, then, to help create a positive environment for all families.”

The article goes on to say that families are the places where we begin the vital processes of socializing our children – teaching them how to survive and thrive in the world.

It is for this reason, my mom felt family was so important. I suspect she had the same talk with my four brothers when they said their own private goodbyes, because we have gathered in some form or fashion at least once a year - with ease - since her death. My own fear surrounding my inability to gather us together has been for naught. In fact, as I write this editorial, three* of my brothers and their wives are vacationing in Maine – visiting me and my husband. For seven solid days. All under one roof. For the first time in 50 years.

Today marks day four – and so far, so good. We’ve explored together, ate together, and – my mother’s favorite – laughed together. At moments in the past couple of days, I have wondered that if it weren’t for our mother’s love, if we would be together today. I suppose we will never know. I’m grateful our mom cared so much for our future as a family as we grow old, creating more memories before it is our own turn to leave this earth. For me and because I do not have children of my own, her foresight provides a deeper set of roots that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Tomorrow, we have plans for a whale watching tour. If you happen to hear of someone from the Noll-Glowczak family being thrown overboard deep in the great Atlantic – well – perhaps day six didn’t go so well. (Insert loud laughter from my brothers.)

*(Unfortunately, my oldest brother and his wife were keeping a promise to another family member and had to travel to California. But I promised that I would travel to Kansas this fall to see the both of them.)

Windham Area Clergy encourages everyone to help neighbors as part of July 4th festivities

Clergy serving churches in the Windham area were meeting for lunch at Rustler’s Steak House last Wednesday when they struck upon an idea: we do a whole lot for our neighbors known and nearby—Monday Meals, the Essentials Pantry, collecting backpacks and school supplies for RSU14 students, the new Fuller Center for Housing chapter renovating low-income housing in the Lakes Region, and so much more—let’s build on that spirit of generosity and provide an opportunity for our community to support our newest neighbors, the asylum seekers currently being housed at the Expo Center in Portland.
So, on July 7, from 8:30 a.m. to noon, at three collection sites (Faith Lutheran Church, 988 Roosevelt Trail, St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, 40 Windham Center Road, and Windham Hill United Church of Christ, 140 Windham Center Road) The Windham Area Clergy Association (WACA) will be accepting donations of toothpaste, toilet paper, bar soap and suitcases/duffel bags (new or gently used, in good working order). They will deliver everything that is donated to Gateway Community Services in Portland for distribution to the families seeking asylum.  (Please note—only those items listed: toothpaste, toilet paper, bar soap, and suitcases/duffel bags can be accepted on July 7.  Current needs and limited storage capacity dictate that only these specific items will be collected.)“We believe that we are so blessed as American people that out of a response for our many blessings   “On the Fourth of July, we celebrate America’s freedom, the same freedom that drew our newest neighbors to seek asylum here.”
during Fourth of July week, this is one way that we can live the Gospel of Jesus, by responding to the new folks who have joined us in Portland,” said Rev. Tim Higgins, Rector of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church.

The Rev. Sally Colgrove, pastor of Windham Hill United Church of Christ, stated that her congregation’s Board of Deacons wholeheartedly approved of this mission project. “We’re taking part in the collection day on July 7th as a way of giving thanks for our freedom and independence,” Colgrove explained.

At Faith Lutheran Church (FLC), they have decided to expand their collection to include both the items destined for Portland and items needed at the Essentials Pantry they help to operate with St. Ann’s Episcopal—a pantry that provides items our Windham neighbors who can’t use SNAP benefits (“food stamps”) to buy.  So FLC will also be collecting shaving cream, paper towels and dish soap.

“Jesus was pretty clear,” Faith Lutheran’s pastor, Rev. Jane Field, said, “We are to love our neighbors—no exceptions! And he taught that when we welcome a stranger, we welcome Him. So, we don’t believe expressions of generosity should be thought of as ‘either/or.’ They can be ‘both/and.’ That’s the thing about love—when it’s shared, it isn’t used up; it expands. We can love both our neighbors nearby and our new neighbors.”

Editor’s Note:
For Windham, Raymond and other Lake Region residents, in addition to the local services mentioned
above (St. Ann’s Essential Pantry, Free Monday Meals, etc.) area churches also offer other services for those in need. They are as follows:*Free monthly meals at Raymond Village Community Church (FMI: call 207-655-7749)
*Thrift shop at North Windham Union Church (Wednesday and Thursday 10 to noon and fourth Saturday of each month, also 10 to noon.)
*Windham Assembly of God will be hosting at Back-To-School event on August 24th from 11 a.m. to noon. The church will offer free clothing, books, haircuts, and health screenings to students to get them ready to go back to school. The entire event is free and will include food.

If there are other churches in the Windham and Raymond communities that offer free services, please contact the Editor at

A tour of Little Sebago: Lake association receives grant to study loons

Look closely and you can see baby loons riding on
 their dad's back as mom looks on. Photo by Jim McBride
By Lorraine Glowczak

The Little Sebago Lake Association (LSLA), located in the towns of Windham and Gray, recently received a $7,500 grant from the Cumberland County Fund of Maine of the Maine Community Foundation to develop a Little Sebago Loon Monitoring Program. The purpose of the program is to study and document loon behaviors, engage and encourage citizen science participation, and implement sustainable conservation actions.

To share information with the greater Windham and Raymond communities, Sharon Young, Pam Wilkinson and Jim McBride, all members of LSLA, invited The Windham Eagle for a tour of the lake. It was a perfect sunny morning last Friday, June 28th, to be introduced to the world of loons – their nesting habitat and the importance of a loon’s role to lake health.“Our focus is to measure their reproductive success,” stated Young, who is the LSLA Loon Committee Chair and the author of the grant. “Originally, from 1997 to 2014, Biodiversity Research Institute banded and monitored loons on Little Sebago.  When their program ended, I became entranced with the majestic loon and began recording their nesting activity on my own.”

Why is a loon monitoring program important? Loons are custodians of a lake’s health. They are near    
the top of the food chain, eating fish who eat smaller fish, who eat zooplankton, etc. As a result, their numbers and reproductive successes are indicators of the overall health of the lake. “It’s our measuring stick,” Young said in a recent press release.

In that same press release, it was stated that because the loon population on Little Sebago is vulnerable to stressors, coupled with the potential impacts of climate change, more information is needed on the individual performances (i.e., reproductive health), as well as specific movements of individuals to ensure long term sustainability. Other nearby states have seen sudden, unexplained declines of territorial loons on their lakes, and it is for this reason that a monitoring program is so important.

The grant will allow lake members to collaborate with Wildlife Research Biologist, Lee Attix of Loon Conservation Associates, in a two-year program of volunteer “Loon Ranger” and “data gathering” training, culminating in a locally run effort of ongoing conservation practices to benefit loons and to promote citizen science. The training will provide instruction to sustain the program long term, keeping the costs at a minimum with maximum lake health benefits.

Nest rafting (seen above) helps protect a loon's nest.
While on the tour of the lake last Friday, we learned that it takes approximately 28 days for loon eggs to hatch, and that both male and females will take turns sitting on the nest, while the other feeds and rest. “Sometimes a loon will leave their nest for an hour but will stay close by to protect them from predators,” Young explained. “Also, they must turn their eggs frequently to allow gasses to escape.”

Their nests are located on land, and in the case of Little Sebago Lake, many of those nests are hidden behind bushes or trees along the shorelines of the islands that sit throughout the lake. It is quite a feat for a loon to walk on land because their legs are located far to the rear of their bodies, so they must walk in a “rolling” fashion. But on land, hidden in the trees and bushes, is where the nest is most protected., not all nests survive due to predators such as eagles, rodents and reptiles. However, human interaction also contributes to the failure. “At the beginning of the summer, we saw a loon nest failure on Spider Island due to the boat wakes,” stated Wilkinson. “The waves washed up on land, making the soil below the nest mucky, causing the eggs to be sucked into the mud where the loon can no longer turn it.”

To help prevent nest failure, members of the monitor program have strategically placed signs near nesting sites to not only prevent wake damage but to keep people away to avoid chasing the loons off the nest. “When people kayak too close to the nest, it scares the loons away,” Young stated.

If the loon monitors notice there has been a nest failure in the same spot for a couple of years, they will create a “nest raft” to help protect from water damage and/or predators.

Presently, there are twelve Loon Rangers, two who have been volunteering for the Audubon Society’s loon counting program for many years. There is also vet tech and one who is trained in animal husbandry, to name just a few individuals who have already signed up to be Loon Rangers. There is
now a waiting list to volunteer.

Banding the loon and registering it in a shared data bank is part of the activities of the Loon Ranger. This method not only keeps track of reproductive successes but can determine the age of the loon. “The oldest loon on Little Sebago is at least 28 years old, making her the second oldest loon known to us,” Young explained. “The oldest known loon is 30 years old and is on a lake in New Hampshire.”
The Loon Rangers on Little Sebago have given a name to this old loon – The Grand Dame of Little Sebago Lake. addition to keeping track of loon health, the program envisions developing a “Loons in the Classroom” curriculum where elementary students learn about the chain of life surrounding Loons.  “Creating interest and impacting knowledge at an early age will further ensure the ongoing success of
the Loon Monitoring Program,” stated Young.

Young recently spoke about loons, using Maine Audubon’s Loon Kit, to a first-grade class in Windham and in a third-grade class in Raymond at their Grandparents Day event. “Many students had encountered loons on Little Sebago or elsewhere and were thrilled to learn more about them and about how to keep them safe,” Young said.

Little Sebago Lake Association’s mission is to protect, restore, and improve our lake’s water quality and fragile ecosystem.  LSLA works to create and nurture a community of lake stewards, educate users on lake safety, always mindful that human needs must be balanced with the needs of the natural environment.

Be sure to catch follow up articles coming soon on boating safety and the milfoil work being completed on Little Sebago Lake.