WHRL's Commitment to the Environment

What does the environment have to do with health?  Everything. From the air we breathe to the quality of our food, from the climate in which we live to the water we drink. Our health, our safety– our very survival is linked to the health of our planet.

Giving– it's the Maine thing to do.

What is WHRL doing to advance the health of the planet?

Milbridge Commons Wellness Park

We plant trees! The trees we planted at the Commons don’t just provide fruit and shade. “As trees grow, they help stop climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air, storing carbon in the trees and soil, and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. Trees provide many benefits to us, every day. They offer cooling shade, block cold winter winds, attract birds and wildlife, purify our air, prevent soil erosion, clean our water, and add grace and beauty to our homes and communities”, according to the Arbor Day Foundation. Explore Milbridge Commons!

Volunteers planting a tree

Outdoor Women Lead (OWL)

When people have meaningful experiences outdoors, they are more likely to be stewards of the earth. Our OWL program includes monthly outings exploring the coastline, the forests, and the waterways of Washington County. Our OWLette summer camps help pre-teen and teenage girls embrace nature. From leave-no-trace to hands-on study of the effects of climate change, OWL is providing education around best practices to ensure a healthy environment for us and for future generations. Learn more about OWL.

The Ed Flanagan Pollinator Gardens at Milbridge Commons

Approximately 75% of all food grown in the U.S. depend on pollinators. Pollinator gardens provide a lifeline for critical pollinators; many are suffering from habitat loss and pesticide poisoning. Pollinators support healthy ecosystems that clean the air, stabilize soils, protect from severe weather, and support other wildlife. The Ed Flanagan Pollinator Garden was planted using certification criteria from the National Wildlife Federation. We encourage visitors to create their own home pollinator gardens.

Incredible Edible Milbridge

Our organic gardens don’t use synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Our philosophy of gardening supports the health of the whole garden ecosystem. Creating this ecosystem begins with improving the soil. Adding organic matter by mixing compost into the soil increases its capacity to retain water and nutrients and supports beneficial microbes, which are essential to healthy plant growth. We utilize cover crops where needed, rotate crops, and have installed irrigation. A drip irrigation system reduces water use by 30 to 70 percent compared to conventional sprinkler irrigation. Explore Incredible Edible Milbridge.

The Butterfly Festival

New in 2023! The Butterfly Festival will celebrate the importance of butterflies in our ecosystem with fun activities, hands-on crafts, and opportunities to get up close with Monarch Butterflies. We’ll discover their habitats, and find out what each person can do to make a difference and save this endangered creature. When children and families are engaged in fun activities, learning happens! Learn more about the Butterfly Festival.

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