Willow Brook is the confluence of a number of small streams draining from the neighborhoods along Scott Dyer Road in Cape Elizabeth. This location is located in a wooded conservation area just upstream from a large culvert that separates the brook from the Spurwink River salt marsh. The brook is bordered by hardwood forest with an understory including both native wildflowers and invasive shrubs. Bees, butterflies, and other insects are common in this area as its lush landscape provides for them. This photo post will help to monitor riparian and pollinator habitats. Pollinators are on the decline as their habitats are being destroyed and the climate is warming, so monitoring their existence, and the habitat they reside in is of utmost importance. In addition to long-term habitat changes, this post will capture the short-term impacts of a planned replacement for the downstream culvert. This project is expected to cause rapid ecosystem change from a freshwater marsh to tidal wetlands. Photos captured here will provide a valuable dataset for future research and reference. This area is owned and protected by Cape Elizabeth Land Trust. Learn more at https://capelandtrust.org/.
The Cape Elizabeth Land Trust maintains four photo monitoring stations to enable citizen science monitoring of environmental changes in our local ecosystems. Through these locations and accompanying education programs, we hope to foster climate change literacy, scientific engagement, and connections to nature in our community. This project began in 2021 with financial support from the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership. CELT is part of the Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative Climate Change Observatory (CCO) Network, a photo monitoring program designed to work with environmental organizations and communities to assist with the observation, measurement and documentation of long‐term climate change trends. The program brings people with various perspectives and knowledge together to co‐learn about climate change and adaptation.