Rewilding at Maine’s Inn by the Sea
Two years into Inn by the Sea’s collaboration on habitat restoration for endangered New England cottontail rabbits, more than bunnies profit….native flora, local wildlife and people all benefit.
Cape Elizabeth, Maine. August 8, 2014…..Mid winter rabbit tracking in the snowy Maine woods around Crescent Beach State Park is business as usual for staff at the luxurious and stylish Inn by the Sea. The Inn’s staff learns to distinguish tracks identified with adorable, but severely endangered, New England cottontail bunnies as they trail after wardens from Maine’s Department of Inland Fish and Wildlife.
Collaborating with the Department of Conservation and other state agencies to restore Cottontail Habitat is just one of many environmental initiatives undertaken by Inn by the Sea and their employees over the last decade. “It’s about preserving Maine’s sense of place,” said Carrie Dyer, the Inn’s general manager. “When people are able to make a personal connection to the natural world when in Maine, it tends to be magical. Helping preserve the state’s pristine environment now, and for future generations is certainly the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense. After all, Maine’s natural beauty is what attracts tourism to the state, and to the Inn.”
After exotic invasive plants swallowed up land on state property, completely choking out local wildlife and native vegetation, Inn by the Sea assumed responsibility for removing the non indigenous plant species, mostly Japanese Knotweed and bittersweet. They then created a ‘Rabitat’ with local plants, restoring the acreage to native shrub land perfectly suited for the survival of endangered Cottontail bunnies. Two years later, the results of the ‘Rabitat’ installation are marked by the return of local wildlife, healthy plant biodiversity…. and happy people.
“It’s enchanting to walk the boardwalk and catch a glimpse of a Red Tailed Hawk, a tiny tree frog or a monarch flitting between milkweed plants- the area is thriving again, alive with local wildlife, “ said Derrick Daly, head gardener at Inn by the Sea. “ The habitat restoration has created far more than a ‘Rabitat’-- the land’s been returned to a functioning eco system with native bio diversity, supporting predator and prey, and indigenous flora and fauna providing food and shelter to raise young.”
Habitat restoration is important for local eco systems but also impacts people, according to Daly- he says the aesthetic of natural spaces is vital to peoples’ sense of well being. “Sighting a cottontail on the Inn’s boardwalk that winds through the Rabitat just capped the vacation for a family visiting here yesterday - they were captivated by the wonderful surprise of seeing a wild bunny on their way up from the beach.”
Daly, who is out on the grounds all week interacting with guests, keeps tabs on the comeback of daily wildlife sightings since the ‘Rabitat’s’ restoration. His list includes Great Blue Herons, Canadian Geese, Wild Turkey’s, Red Fox, and a variety of birds including Chickadees, Gold Finches, Blue Birds, Tree Swallows, a myriad of butterflies, coyotes and a Bobcat.
“Today Inn guests peaked in on baby song sparrows in their nest, a Red Tailed Hawk has been soaring overhead, Monarchs returned after a tough winter with butterfly eggs and larvae visible on milkweed plants and we are nibbling from loaded blueberry bushes,” said Daly. “It’s coastal Maine as it should be, and it’s magical.”
About Inn by the Sea: The eco-luxury Inn by the Sea is located on a mile of sandy beach just seven miles south of Portland's chic little port city, offering guests a relaxed but elegant Maine coast experience in 61 luxuriously appointed fireplace rooms, and one and two bedroom suites, full service SPA and ocean view dining in Sea Glass Restaurant. Newly opened deluxe Ocean View Beach Suites have indoor/outdoor fireplaces, full kitchens, and furnished decks. Selected in 2014 for both Travel and Leisure’s World’s Best and Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold List. Inn by the Sea is Maine's only Virtuoso® & Preferred Boutique Hotel® property. The Inn is children and pet friendly. 2 hours from Boston, Amtrak offers rail service into Portland from Boston, New York and Washington D.C. as well as service from Air Tran, Delta Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways, to nearby Portland International Jetport (PWM) . Inn by the Sea has both Maine DEP Green Lodging and LEED ® Silver certifications.??
FMI : Rauni Kew, Public Relations Manager, Inn by the Sea, 40 Bowery Beach Road, Cape Elizabeth, Maine 04107. 207.799.3134 firstname.lastname@example.org www.innbythesea.com Facebook Inn by the Sea Hi Res images on request