Society Diary: Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center celebrates 50 years

Eight thousand people visit the tiny Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center each year, on the edge of Maine’s largest saltwater estuary. It’s hard to imagine Scarborough without this bustling little cabin. And yet few people know the man who, 50 years ago, came up with the idea for Maine Audubon to partner with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, which had purchased the land for fishing and hunting, and to turn a vacant clam shack into a visitor’s shack. ‘ center.

“The only credit I take tonight is that I came up with the idea,” said Dick Anderson, who led Maine Audubon in the 1960s and 1970s.

“And it’s a force of nature,” said Andy Beahm, the current executive director. “When Dick has an idea, he knows how to make it happen.”

Anderson and Maine Audubon executive director who followed in his footsteps, Sam Zaitlin, were among 200 people who celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center at a July 21 fundraising event at The Landing.

“I can’t believe it’s been 50 years,” Zaitlin said.

Guests enjoyed clam-inspired appetizers and a silent auction loaded with swamp-related artwork and outdoor gear and experiences.

Auction items included a canoe trip with Linda Woodard, longtime director of the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center.

“There are all kinds of adventures,” she says of sandpipers, herons, seals, muskrats, river otters and small marsh fish, mummichugs. “You never know what you’ll see.”

Like the marsh itself, the event drew an eclectic crowd of game and fishing enthusiasts, birdwatchers and wildlife biologists, photographers and artists, hikers and kayakers. United to support natural habitats and nature education, they raised $30,000 for Maine Audubon.

“Funds to buy the land came largely from hunters – fishing and hunting licenses and taxes on ammunition and guns,” said Scott Lindsay, wildlife biologist with the Department of Inland Fisheries and of Maine Wildlife, adding that licensed hunting and fishing is permitted.

“We own and manage the land and work to maintain wildlife populations, and Maine Audubon does outreach and education, running programs outside of the nature center. Thousands of people a week hike the Eastern Trail, and many never take a fishing pool. There is enough room for everyone. »

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at [email protected].

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