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

WINSLOW — In celebration of Earth Day, 80 Garland Road Group hosted a “Skills Share” event and scavenger hunt Saturday morning  where participants could learn the basics of permaculture through a sheet mulching activity.

About 20 people gathered and went on an outdoor scavenger hunt armed with a bingo card of plant-life to locate and a partner they didn’t know. Following the scavenger hunt, the group reconvened indoors.

No tools or experience was required to attend the event that ran from 10 a.m. to noon on the Garland Road property.

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

The 80 Garland Road Group comprises the Sisters of St. Joseph in Winslow, Winslow Agriculture Commission, Mid Maine Permaculture and Kennebec/Messalonskee Trails. The group, created last year, has 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 in and reported what they saw.”


Each month through October there will be a permaculture Skills Share event held on the property on the fourth Saturday of the month.

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

“We’re certainly focusing on outdoors, but I see this as a place to share things with others,” Sammons said.

John Audibert of Winslow, Sister Gloria Philip of Argentina and Toni Fredette of Winslow participate in an Earth Day-inspired scavenger hunt 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 for people to basically commune with nature. They are in the works of partnering 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 develop for use by the community,” said Newkirk.

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