AUGUSTA — It’s been a long time since Marilyn Noyes Mollicone, 88, has helped summer campers identify the birds, bugs and plants in the woods tucked between South Belfast Avenue, Cony Street and Cony High School.

But Mollicone still hears from the kids and counselors she worked with at Augusta Nature Camp during her many years as its resident naturalist. Just recently, Mollicone got a phone call from a former camper who had received her doctorate in environmental science.

How’d that make her feel?

“Great,” said Mollicone, whose contributions to the camp and its parent organization, the Augusta Nature Club, were honored Wednesday morning. “I think I changed their outlook. If more people (studied nature), I think the world would be a better place.”

Mollicone, who helped start the summer camp, has also planted many species around its grounds and served as president of the Augusta Nature Club. On Wednesday morning, the club honored her legacy by dedicating an elm tree and a new stone bench in her name.

“You have been a very busy lady and very much appreciated by everyone in Augusta,” said the club’s current president, Jackie McNeill, during the brief dedication ceremony on the north side of the 175-acre property that houses the club, the summer camp and an education center. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”


“In honor of Marilyn Noyes Mollicone who unselfishly shared her enthusiasm for nature with so many here at Augusta Nature Center,” reads a note engraved on the bench.

Mollicone, who at first kept the sun out of her eyes with a straw hat that had a crow’s feather and red poppy flowers fastened to it, was gracious. After removing the hat, she thanked the gathered crowd. She sat down on the new bench, assuring the gathered naturalists that “it’s very comfy.”

At one point, the crowd delighted at the site and sound of a black-bodied, red-headed woodpecker flying low overhead.

Several of the attendees had tucked their pants into their socks to protect from ticks and, when the ceremony was over, embarked on a trek through the nature center’s criss-crossing trails.

Mollicone remained for a few more minutes. A Bethel native, she moved to the Augusta area with her husband, who worked for the Maine Department of Transportation. With an undergraduate degree in botany, she worked at the summer camp for 19 years.

In the mornings, she’d take campers on field trips to different parts of the nature center, teaching them the flora and fauna. In the afternoon, they’d picnic and make artwork of the natural scenery.


At the end of 19 years, Mollicone decided to return to school and pursue a master’s degree in botany. She later returned to the nature center just outside downtown Augusta, planting many shrubs and perennial flowers. Some still remain there, including water lilies. She also still returns with her grown daughter, Nina Mollicone, recently planting Joe Pye weed, clematis and other species.

“It’s a real asset to have this large patch of natural area right in the city,” Mollicone said. “It’s a beautiful place to walk, in the peaceful quiet.”

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

Twitter: @ceichacker

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