Friday, June 26, 2020

Windham Public Library’s Summer Reading Challenge goes virtual

By Elizabeth Richards

The Windham Public Library is presenting a full slate of summer reading activities for children, teens and adults this summer.  This year, all programs will be held online. The summer reading program, with the theme “Imagine Your Story,” runs from June 22 to Aug. 22, 2020.

The reading program will use an online platform called Beanstack, as well as the library’s Facebook page, You Tube channel and, for teens, Discord.

In Beanstack, participants can find activity lists and track their progress to receive virtual badges that qualify them to be entered into prize drawings at the end of the summer. Paper copies of the activity ideas and reading trackers are also available.

For children, there is a program for kids who are not yet school aged and another for kindergarteners through sixth graders. Participants need to complete a set number of tasks to receive a prize at the end of the summer. 

Younger children will need 15 badges, while the older children need 25 to receive the prize bag, which will include a book and some other small items, said Children’s Librarian Samantha Cote.
Children’s programming will also include the typical preschool Storytime on Monday and Thursday mornings, as well as Books and Babies on Tuesday Mornings. special activities for children are also offered in the summer.  On Tuesdays, Lab Coat Adventures will feature science programs.  Wednesdays will alternate between a craft program and building challenges.  Finally, on Saturdays, the library offers the Calm as a Critter program, which features calming activities like breathing exercises, simple crafts, relaxing activities and a personal challenge.

For the interactive programs, Cote said there are some make and take bags available at the library. 
“We tried to plan them all to use materials that people would commonly have at their house,” she said, but if families need them, the bags contain all the supplies needed for the entire summer. Those bags are available for all the programs except the building challenges. 

For building, Cote said, “I’ll probably be using Legos, but people can use whatever they have at home.”

The make and take bags can be picked up at the library, either inside or as part of their curbside service, which can be requested by calling the Children’s Room.

Two stand-alone Zoom programs for kids will also be offered this summer.  On Monday, July 6, Sharks4Kids will present a program on the world of sharks, and on Thursday, July 30, Marine Mammals of Maine will present one about seals. To participate in these programs, contact the Children’s Room for the Zoom link.

A Beanstack account can be created at  Families can create one account with multiple readers in the account. There is also a smartphone app available. 

Designing an entire summer program online had challenges, Cote said. In the summer, they’ve historically offered a lot of interactive programming.

“Trying to figure out how to still make an active and engaging program without the personal contact was hard,” Cote said.

It was important to keep up the summer reading challenge tradition, she added, to provide some sense of normalcy and give families new ideas.

“If you’ve been quarantining for a while, you might have gotten into a routine and maybe you’re starting to get a little bit bored,” Cote said. “Now, through our different programs you can get ideas of new things to do and try.”

One popular summer activity in the month of July has been to hunt for the rubber chicken hidden throughout the library.

“This year we partnered with Parks and Rec and the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust and our chicken is being hidden at some trails around Windham so people can still get the joy of hunting for the chicken while also enjoying some of the trails we have,” said Cote.

This is just one of the activities that can earn a badge in Beanstack.

The teen program includes tracking reading, writing book reviews, and Blackout Bingo.  Summer Reading program events for teens will be held on Discord. Teens must sign up for the Discord server by filling out a form at  Discord events will include Make it Monday, Teen Movie Tuesdays, Wellness Wednesdays, Teen Anime Thursdays, and Escape for the Weekend Fridays.  Details can be found on the library website.

“I tried to balance out social screen time and active time with activities teens could learn and do quickly at any time,” said Teen and Emerging Technology Librarian Cassandra Lull.

She also created a teens’ only closed Discord server to provide a safe place to chat, discuss interests and host online programs, as well as creating a teen specific Instagram account so they see information that only pertains to them.

“I hope to start cultivating the idea that the library isn’t just for kids and adults, but teens have a place here, too,” she said.

For the adult reading challenge, Reference/Technology Librarian Ray Marcotte has designed five tasks that incorporate the theme and Maine’s Bicentennial.  There will also be three online events and attending one of these is one of the five tasks.

On Tuesday, June 30 at 6 p.m., New England Author and Humorist Tim Caverly will present “So You Think You Know Maine” via Zoom.  This presentation will also be aired on the library’s Facebook page.

On Wednesday, July 29, a Maine Bicentennial Concert featuring Bilodeau Family Music will air at 6 p.m. via their YouTube channel. A link will be posted on the library website on the day of the event.
Finally, on Wednesday, Aug. 5, USM History Professor Libby Bischof will offer a visual history of Maine via Facebook Live on the library’s Facebook page.

Marcotte said it was a challenge to figure out how to present the events, but it’s working out.  “It’s definitely not the same, but we’re making it work,” he said. 

Marcotte has been doing virtual book group and Socrates Café for months now, he said, with decent participation.

For more information about any of the summer reading challenges and events, visit <

Raymond Village Library offers curbside pickup

Raymond Village Library has
launched a new curbside pickup
program for books, audiobooks,
and movies. PHOTO BY
By Briana Bizier 

Whether your're heading to the beach, enjoying your backyard hammock, or just trying to ignore the daily news, now is the perfect time to pick up a good book. Happily, the Raymond Village Library is here to help.
This month, the Raymond Village Library started a new curbside pickup program for books, audiobooks, and movies. Library patrons can check out books or movies by calling the library at 655-4282, emailing, or visiting the library’s website at 
The library’s entire catalogue is online, so Raymond residents can browse from the comfort of their own home.
As my 9-year-old daughter Sage discovered last week, the librarians are also happy to offer their suggestions for reading materials. Karen Perry suggested that Sage read a book called Epoca: The Tree of Ecrof. After being book-deprived since COVID-19 forced the Raymond Village Library to close their doors in March, voracious-reader Sage was delighted to have a new fantasy novel to devour.
“It was so good,” Sage told me. “It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read.”
Of course, we called the library the next day to reserve a new stack of books recommended by the librarians.
Once library patrons have placed their orders, either online, through the website, or over the phone, the books or movies they have reserved are placed in a labeled bag by the north-facing handicapped entrance for a safe, contact-free pickup. On the morning we returned Epoca, several other library orders were awaiting pickup by the backdoor.
The curbside pickup has been very popular,” said Library Director Allison Griffin.
In addition to the Raymond Village Library’s books, movies, and audiobooks, children’s librarian Karen Perry has created special activity packs for young children who have been missing the library’s regular baby and preschool story time. The Baby Time Bundles each include three board books, an index card with a song or bouncy game, and a second card with a related activity parents can do with their child.
Karen’s Story Time Sets, made for preschool-age children, have also been very popular. These weekly pre-packaged sets focus on the alphabet and include activities like making an ABC dinosaur or a FeedMe paper bag puppet. Older children, like my six-year-old Ian, love the library’s activity backpacks that are filled with Legos, building sets, robots, or everything you need to be an outdoor explorer. The Baby Time Bundles, Story Time Sets, and activity backpacks are also available for curbside pickup. They can be reserved by calling or emailing the library.
Finally, for library lovers with limited mobility, the Raymond Village Library is also offering limited home delivery service. Please contact the library for more information about their home delivery program, or to schedule a delivery.
Despite all the changes COVID-19 has brought to our little corner of the world, it’s encouraging to know that we can all still relax with a good book thanks to the efforts of the Raymond Village Library. <

American Legion ceremony retires unserviceable flags

American Legion Fiueld-Allen Post Americanism Officer
David Horne conducts the ceremonial burn of retired
American flags on Flag Day 2020 at the Windham Veterans
Center. In the background are Field-Allen Post members
Eric Bickford, Alola Morrison and Craig Pride.
By Dave Tanguay
Special to The Windham Eagle

Following CDC guidelines of social distancing, face coverings and hand sanitizer, the American Legion’s Field-Allen Post conducted the annual Flag Day ceremony on Sunday, June 14, Flag Day in Wndham.

In previous years, the post collaborated with Boy Scout Troop 805 when conducting the annual ceremonial burn, but did it solo this year because of COVID-19 restrictions.

This year, the Post Americanism Officer, David Horn, selected a small number of flags for the ceremony from bags of hundreds of flags collected by the post since last fall.

The ceremony was open to members of the public who observed the ceremony from their vehicles in the Windham Veterans Center parking lot and it also was the first official ceremony for the post’s new commander, Eric Bickford, who officiated at the event. officers attending the event included Commander Bickford, 2nd Vice Commander Alola Morrison, Sergeant at Arms Richard Graves, and Americanism Officer David Horne. Filling in for the 1st Vice Commander was Craig Pride and for Chaplain was Dave Tanguay.
After an inspection of the flags, Commander Bickford offered some brief remarks.

“Comrades, we have been presented here with the flags of our country which have been inspected and judged as unserviceable,” Bickford said. “They have reached their present state or condition in the proper service of tribute, memory and love of our country and our veterans.”

He said that a flag may be a flimsy bit of printed gauze or a beautiful banner of the finest silk. 

“Its intrinsic value may be trifling or great, but its real value is beyond price, for it is the precious symbol of all that we and our comrades have worked for, lived for and died for, a free nation of free men and women, true to the faith of the past, devoted to the ideals and practices of justice, freedom and democracy,” he said. “Let these faded flags of our country be retired and destroyed with respect and honorable rites and their place be taken by bright, new flags of the same size and kind and let no grave of our soldiers, sailors, Marines and airman dead, be un-honored and unmarked.”

The ceremony continued with a brief prayer from the chaplain as the flags are placed in the flames to be consumed. 

Words from the Chaplain’s Prayer included, “to a clean and purging flame we commit these flags, worn out in worthy service. As they yield their substance to the fire, may your holy light spread over us and bring our hearts renewed devotion to God and Country.”

If anyone in the community has a flag rendered unserviceable, they may be brought to the Windham Veterans Center on Wednesday mornings from 9 to 11 a.m. for collection by the American Legion Field-Allen Post 148, Windham. <

Forestry group selects area resident as its Northern Regional Director

Williamsburg, Va. – Windham business owner, Rene D. Noel, the owner of Southern Maine Forestry Services, in Windham, has been named as the new Northern Regional Director for the national organization Association of Consulting Foresters of America, Inc.

ACF organization members are independent professionals who manage forests across the United States and they also market forest products for private woodland owners and other associated projects and enterprises.

Rene D. Noel, Jr. of Windham, the owner of Southern Maine
Forrestry Services, has been chosen as the Northern Regional
Director of the national Association of Consulting Forresters of
America, Inc. SUBMITTED PHOTO    
“With more than 30 years of experience, Rene’s expertise in forestry management and his leadership skills are valuable to ACF and the Northern Region,” said Justin M. Miller, president of Green Timber Consulting Foresters, Inc., and president of ACF. 

Noel, a licensed forester and appraiser, founded Southern Maine Forestry Services (SMFS) in 1981 to meet the need for comprehensive land and woodlot management in Maine and surrounding states.  Since that time, the firm has grown to five foresters who have managed more than 100,000 acres for 800 clients.

Before starting his company, Noel worked for the Bureau of Public Lands and the Maine Forest Service. He also managed a landscape nursery in Long Island, N.Y. and started his career with the U.S. Forest Service working as a forest technician based in the Black Hills.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in forestry science at the University of Maine in Orono.

During college, he started a small business with another student providing forestry management services to landowners. Services including weeding and thinning, tree pruning and planting, herbicide application, and boundary line maintenance.

“I look forward to contributing to ACF and working in collaboration with Justin and my colleagues who are serving as national ACF directors and officers,” said Noel. 

ACF professionals are excited to have Noel on board as Northern Regional Director of the organization. 

“I’m delighted to work with Rene on ACF’s Executive Committee,” said Shannon McCabe, CAE, Executive Director, ACF. “I look forward to partnering with Rene the rest of the EC to further the association’s mission.”

ACF members help landowners enhance property values, increase the value of timber, produce a more sustainable timber harvest, enhance wildlife habitat, and establish and protect a family’s forest legacy. Because of their vital role in the supply chain, ACF members have been deemed essential workers during COVID-19.

As a condition of membership, every consulting forester must have minimum education and experience levels, complete the Practice of Consulting Forestry course, and most importantly, agree to adhere to the organization’s stringent Code of Ethics.

For more information about ACF, visit

Riding To The Top celebrates volunteers at curbside event

Riding To The Top volunteer Stacie Hamilton feeds Luke, an
RTT horse, a treat. SUBMITTED PHOTO

COVID-19 did not stop Riding To The Top from celebrating the contributions of its mighty volunteer team.

Originally, RTT planned to hold a large barbeque on the shores of Sebago Lake, but this year’s celebration was configured into a smaller “curbside” event at the farm. On Tuesday, June 23, RTT staffers gathered (physically distanced of course!), decorated and rallied to show appreciation for the Center’s 160-plus volunteers.
In 2019 alone, volunteers at Riding To The Top contributed more than 11,000 hours in service valued at over $254,320.
Volunteers at RTT work in the barn, in lessons with clients, exercise horses, repair and maintain the facilities and help with trail improvements. Volunteers also serve on the Board of Directors, on committees and work at fundraising events.
Executive Director, Sarah Bronson said that “RTT volunteers have been an integral part of the organization since it was founded by volunteers in 1993 and they continue to be the heart of the organization.”
She said that volunteers save the organization hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
“While we missed gathering for our larger celebration this year, we were glad to have been able to thank and recognize the people who did so much for RTT last year,” said Volunteer Coordinator Nick Doria.
This year, 27 RTT volunteers received The President’s Volunteer Service Award:

Bronze Level Awardees (Adults 100 to 249 hours/Young Adults 100 to 174 hours): Christine Blackadar, Jo Blinick, Early Bonney, Gradeigh Cameron, Janis Childs, Susan Courson, Cindy Elder, Barbara Foster, Trish Friant, Stacie Hamilton Waldron, Margi Huber, Cathy Kelso, Fran Maxwell, Nancy Robinson and Laura Rochette.
Silver Level Awardees (Adults 250 to 499 hours/Young Adults 175 to 249 hours):
Mark Fuller, Julia Hamilton, Sarah Miller, Jodi Peasley, Clayton Peters, Ashley Reed, Bryony Urquhart and Liz Wood.

Gold Level Awardees (Adults 500 or more hours/Young Adults 250 or more hours): Lina Jordan, Dan Morabito, Pat Niboli and Patty Shaw.

In addition, special recognition of outstanding service to RTT included: Stacie Hamilton Waldron (Volunteer of the Year); Ashley Reed and Lilly Towle (Youth/Young Adult Volunteers of the Year); Melissa and Eric Prime (Administrative Volunteers of the Year); Susan Layton (Lesson Rookie of the Year Award); Jack DiPaola (Barn Rookie of the Year Award); Trina Bellavance (Volunteer Schooler Award) and Maureen Mathieu (Barn Volunteer of the Year).

RTT also recognized the following for outstanding contributions:
  • Under The Covers Band: (Volunteer Group of the Year )
  • Windham Knights of Columbus: (Volunteer Civic Group of the Year)
  • Headlight Audio-Visual: (Corporate Partner of the Year)
Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center was founded in 1993 and its mission is enhancing health and wellness through equine assisted activities and therapies. Located in Windham, RTT is the state’s only year-round PATH International Premier Accredited Center solely dedicated to Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies.

More than 250 clients visit annually, assisted by certified instructors, a herd of 16 horses and over 160 volunteers, all specially trained to assist with therapeutic riding, equine assisted learning, carriage driving and hippotherapy. Riding To The Top is a community-based nonprofit, receives no federal or state funding and provides financial aid to more than 60 percent of its clients. 

For more information about client services, volunteering, or making a gift, please visit us at or call 207-892-2813. <

Windham High School salutes underclass Book Award recipients

Windham High School has announced Collegiate Book
Award recipients for the year from the Class of 2021.
By Ed Pierce

Graduating seniors at Windham High School recently received well-deserved recognition for their classroom accomplishments, but a group of other students cannot be overlooked for their focus on academics as well.

The school has announced its list of Collegiate Book Award recipients, a distinction that Windham High Assistant Principal Philip Rosetti said is presented each year to the top-achieving students in the junior class.

“Windham High School would like to recognize the following 2020 Junior book award winners,” Rosetti said. “Each college or university establishes rigorous criteria and seeks feedback from high school faculty and administration to identify the worthy recipient of each award.” said that every year a select number of universities and colleges in America partner with secondary schools such as Windham High to recognize exceptional high school juniors and underclass students.
According to Rosetti, each award pays tribute to a specific area of achievement and excellence, such as service to the community, music and the arts, academic distinction and advocacy.
The awards recognize distinguished students at Windham High, giving them a chance to gain a wider look at the world they live in and to connect outstanding students with schools of higher learning.
Each Collegiate Book Award recipient is presented with a book from the university or college and is intended to foster their willingness to grow and learn.
Here are this year’s Windham, High School 2020 Collegiate Book Award Recipients:
Bates College - Book Award – Elizabeth Savard

Bowdoin College - Book Award – Alexis Hirning

Brandeis University Book Award for Social Action and Civic Engagement – Holden Anderson

Clarkson University Leadership and Achievement Awards – Achievement Award: Drew Mathieu; Leadership Award: Octavian Anghel

Elmira College: Key Award – Ashley Arnold and Brandon Cummings

George Washington University - Book Award – Katelyn Smith

Harvard Club in Maine - Harvard Prize Book – Haley Thebarge

Maine College of Art - Book Award – Kiana Webster

Phi Beta Kappa Association of Maine - Academic Achievement Award – Noah Newman

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - Rensselaer Medal Award – Sophie Phipps

Sage Colleges - Student Sage Award – Connor Cummings and Niall Gushe

Saint Michael’s College Book Award for Academic Achievement with a Social Conscience – Dianne Ingalls and Landon Leclerc

Smith College Book Award – Riley Beem

Suffolk University - Book Award – Gianna Stevens

University of Maine Book Award – Ryan Abbotoni

University of Rochester - Bausch + Lomb Honorary Science Award – Anna Becker

University of Rochester - Frederick Douglas & Susan B. Anthony Award –Haley Thebarge

University of Rochester - George Eastman Young Leaders Award – Ethan Wert

University of Rochester - Xerox Award for Innovation and Information Technology – Dustin Noonan

Universiy of Southern Maine - Book Award – Theodora Hassapelis and Nicholas Yeaton

Wellesley College Book Award – Emma Yale

Wells College 21st Century Leadership Award -  Vania Murch and Molly Cochrane  

Williams College Book Award – Nicole Snow  <

Raymond will continue to offer free food to students, families during summer months

By Lorraine Glowczak

Although recent changes to the USDA’s eligibility requirements helped solve RSU14’s challenge in providing summer meals for students who are experiencing food insecurity, the Raymond community is still moving forward with their initiative to provide grocery item for students and their families this summer, no questions asked.

Until the waiver of federal eligibility requirements were extended about two weeks ago, not one of the RSU14 school sites were eligible to provide free meals for all students, since they do not meet the benchmark of over 50 percent of students qualifying for free or reduced meals.

Raymond Community Community Organizers prepare bags of
non-perishable and fresh food items to be given out Tuesdays
from 1 to 3:30 p.m. (until further notice) at Jordan-Small
“As soon as we discovered students in Raymond would not have access to food this summer, I knew we had to do something,” said Teresa Sadak, one of the organizers of the initiative and a Raymond Town Select Board Member. “I was determined that we would find the funds and figure it out.”

Although Windham and Raymond students will have the opportunity to pick up nutritious meals four days a week  – the Raymond Food Committee organizers decided to move forward with their original plan and provide weekly grocery items for all Raymond families with children in order to fill in the gap of making sure adults have access to food too.

The initial plan was to hand out food every Tuesday from 1 to 3:30 pm (and will do so until further notice), but with the recent development with the RSU, Raymond is working to figure out the best way to proceed with providing non-perishable and fresh food items at Jordan Small Middle School’s cafeteria, located at 423 Webbs Mills Road. Either way, grocery items will continue to be distributed through-out the summer months until the start of the school year next fall. Until a set date and time has been established it is encouraged to email the organizers at on a weekly basis.

“The goal is to reach as many families as possible,” said Raymond Community Communications Coordinator, Kaela Gonzalez. “We want to make sure all of our families are fed so we are trying to find the best time to accommodate people’s schedules. It is also important to note this program is confidential and open to any family that needs help with food.\ No paperwork needed - just show up and we will hand you a bag of food.”

The types of food to be offered varies from week to week but examples include kid friendly foods such as: granola bars, goldfish and fruit snacks, cereal, fresh fruits and veggies, pasta and sauce, peanut butter, crackers, English muffins and much more.

“For the first couple of weeks, we have planned to serve 35 families,” Sadak said. “It will be on a first come/first serve basis, but we are determined to not let any child or family go hungry and if we discover we need to provide for more families - we will find a way to serve everyone.”

One solution the committee, which consists of Sadak and Gonzalez, Rep. Jess Fay and Deputy Chief of Emergency Services and Health Officer, Cathy Gosselin and other volunteers, is requesting feedback from families to help the committee plan and prepare for each week.

“If people could email us at to let us know the following questions, that would be very helpful,” Gosselin said.

Those questions are: Do you want to receive food this summer? What is the best time for you to pick up- afternoon or evening? Do you need the food dropped off at your home? How many in your family?

Once the committee has received feedback from the community, they will decide whether it makes the most sense to hand out additional food during the RSU pick up times or also offer evening hours for families that are not able to pick up food during the day.

Due to recent circumstances, many families have met with some financial challenges.

“Some folks have not been able to access unemployment benefits as a result of recent layoffs due to COVID-19,” Rep. Fay said. “As a result, it has affected some families’ ability to feed their children, pay the mortgage and pay other bills. I’m concerned about how they can feed their family, and this is a great solution.”

If you want to support this program, please visit or the Town of Raymond’s Facebook page, for more information.

There are heroes everywhere and they certainly exist in Raymond.

“This is typical of the Raymond community – coming together and supporting one another in times of need,” Raymond Town Manager, Don Willard said. <

Windham Open Space Planning Team seeking mapping input

Windham Planning Director Amanda Lessard looks out over
the town's open space maps. The Windham Open Space
Planning Team has initiated a project for mapping
open space in the town including conserved lands, parks, water
access, and trails, as well as critical habitats and water systems.
By Elizabeth Richards

The Town of Windham is currently working with Northstar Planning and Aceto Landscape Architects to develop an Open Space and Recreation Plan that will help guide decision making around parks, preserves, recreation spaces, trails, and conserved lands.  

“An Open Space Plan will be a guide to elected and appointed town leadership by identifying high priority properties to protect or acquire, provide land stewardship guidance for existing open space lands, identify opportunities to expand connectivity between open space assets, neighborhoods and trails and to outline programs, ordinances, and partners that could be instrumental in securing the future of the identified high priority properties,” said Windham Planning Director Amanda Lessard.

An open space plan is something Windham needs, town officials say.

“Current world conditions have resulted in people taking to the outdoors more than ever. Windham has long needed an open space plan to provide both direction and a mechanism by which to identify and preserve Windham’s rural spaces,” said Linda Brooks, director of Parks and Recreation, in a video on the project website. agreed.

“Rural character is central to Windham’s identity as a community. Being proactive about open space in the face of strong residential growth pressures will help preserve community character and ensure that Windham’s most important open spaces will remain available for future Windham residents,” said Lessard. 

She said that thinking about how to manage and develop Windham’s current open spaces will add value for today’s residents.

Finally, building partnerships with organizations that value conservation and outdoor recreation will help the town meet its own open space goals,” Lessard said.

Currently, the project is in Phase 2, public engagement.  The team is focusing on online engagement through the website,, where there is a community survey, an idea board, and a map room for input. 

“The goal of Phase 2 is to identify the types of open space and recreational uses that are most important to the community,” Lessard said.

The Windham Open Space Planning team has begun mapping open space in the town including conserved lands, parks, water access, and trails, as well as critical habitats and hydrology, according to Lessard. They are looking for input on places that the community feels should be prioritized or preserved in the future.  

The topic of open space planning is a crucial topic to towns and municipalities across Maine and the future of our open spaces is uncertain as development pressures straining open space resources continue as more people move into rural areas surrounding major population centers.

Increasing populations mean the demand for more homes, shopping facilities and recreational activities is rising. But population growth also results in environmentally insensitive development eliminating valuable natural wetlands and vital wildlife habitat from Maine communities.

By mapping current open space, Windham officials can have a better grasp of creating policies used to help protect environmental corridors and natural ecosystems important to the town.

Looking at open space planning now will provide Windham with an opportunity to assess where the town is currently, where the community would like to go and how it might eventually get there, Lessard said.
She said that this type of planning assists in the protection of important open space and will be used to encourage compatible growth in the future by managing aspects of growth and development in ways that preserve, protect, and enhance the environment. And it also can expose potential problems while there is still time to prevent them from arising in the future.

Open space planning and mapping allows the benefits of open space that make up the character of the community and helps protect the "green infrastructure" of a community. It also can provide long term economic benefits by helping Windham avoid the costly mistakes of misusing available resources.

Protected open space typically raises the taxable value of adjacent properties and is less costly to maintain than the infrastructure and services required by residential development.

The maps created by this project will ultimately help the town identify current and future needs of parks, fields, trails, water access, and creation of open spaces.

“Our working definition of open space is the network of permanently protected public and private lands that provide recreational, environmental, and social value to Windham,” said Lessard.

To provide input, community members should visit the Map Room on the website and review the draft maps.  Then, using the interactive map, participants can place pins on places they think should be added to the maps.  In the discussion tab, people can start conversations about favorite places and spots that should be identified and inventoried during the open space planning process.   Users must register on the site to provide input.

Public input will be gathered through July. Once a registered user of the site, people will receive email notification when new content is added to the site. Any Windham resident who registers will be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate to the Windham restaurant of their choice.

Toward the end of phase 2, the team will start identifying priorities and at the end of this phase, the team will begin to identify priorities.

A draft plan will be presented for public review in August, and a final plan with recommendations will be ready by late September or early October. <