Winslow-based group’s Earth Day scavenger hunt event offers permaculture education

Barbara Russell, Jordan Smith, Linda Woods and Sally Harwood chat Saturday during an Earth Day-inspired scavenger hunt on the property at 80 Garland Road in Winslow. Photo by Toni Fredette

WINSLOW — To celebrate Earth Day, 80 Garland Road Group held a “Skills Share” event and scavenger hunt on Saturday morning where attendees were able to learn the basics of permaculture through a leaf mulching activity.

About twenty people gathered and embarked on a sort of outdoor treasure hunt armed with a bingo card representing plants to be located and a partner they did not know. After the scavenger hunt, the group reunited indoors.

No tools or experience were needed to attend the event which took place from 10 a.m. to noon on the Garland Road property.

Permaculture is an approach to landscaping that emphasizes sustainability and supporting natural ecosystems. The practice is divided into various principles, the first of which was taught at the event. Leaf mulching is a common permaculture practice that creates soil without digging by laying down cardboard and then manure, followed by leaves, pine needles and other natural fertilizers.

Ida Wistar from Westbrook traveled to Winslow to attend Saturday’s permaculture event at 80 Garland Road. Photo by Toni Fredette

The 80 Garland Road Group includes the Sisters of St. Joseph in Winslow, the Winslow Agriculture Commission, Mid Maine Permaculture and Kennebec/Messalonskee Trails. The group, created last year, sponsored a number of events throughout the fall and winter.


“It was fantastic, just a great morning,” said Sister Judy Donovan, CSJ. “People came back and reported what they saw.”

Each month through October, a Permaculture Skills Sharing Event will take place on the property on the fourth Saturday of the month.

Maine Master Naturalist and Mid Maine Permaculture organizer Bonnie Sammons said she felt good about the partnership and that Saturday’s event was wonderful.

“We definitely focus on the outdoors, but I see it as a place to share things with others,” Sammons said.

John Audibert of Winslow, Sister Gloria Philip of Argentina and Toni Fredette of Winslow take part in an Earth Day inspired scavenger hunt on Saturday at the 80 Garland Road Group property in Winslow. Photo courtesy of Toni Fredette Photo courtesy of Toni Fredette

Kate Newkirk, chair of the Winslow Agriculture Commission, said: ‘What we’re trying to do is create a space where people can come and meditate or pray, read signs or do yoga.


Newkirk said the goal of 80 Garland Road Group is to create a space where people can essentially commune with nature. They are in the process of working in partnership with Kennebec/Messalonskee Trails to add the Garland Road property to the trail system.

“This is a multi-faceted group that is just beginning to grow for community use,” Newkirk said.

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Joseph K. Bennett