Discovering The Savage Wildlife Preserve

Pat Durkin is thrilled with what she has found at The Savage Preserve. Photo by her husband, Donald Smith.Oh the things you will see…

The Raymond & Simone Savage Wildlife Preserve is quickly becoming a much loved GWRLT public place. Trained and untrained eyes have taken their first looks at this special property and returned with a sense of awe for its bounty and gratitude for its protection.

Retired entomologist, Paul Miliotis from Kennebunk, has visited the property on several occasions with an eye toward migrating tropical and neo-tropical birds. He notes that “the Salmon Falls River is a major flyway for birds. They seek out properties exactly like the Savage Preserve that are situated at the confluence of the river and a fresh water stream. When you add the variety of plant habitats that exist on the property, there is no doubt that this Wildlife Preserve acts as a critical feeding and resting spot for birds like warblers who will stop once, maybe twice on their way to South or Central America. These are exactly the places that have been disappearing so quickly in recent decades.”

Member Pat Durkin has also taken great delight in discovering how rich the wildlife habitat is in the Savage Preserve. As co-founder and trustee of the Washington, D.C. area Butterfly Club, Pat has begun netting and releasing butterflies, along with collecting bees for a national inventory of bees being conducted for the USDA. Pat says that “the level of habitat diversity at Savage is almost staggering.” Pat adds that the visual aspects of the property are “breath-taking”. She hopes to continue her inventory over the next couple of summers and provide the trust with a complete bee and butterfly inventory of the Preserve.

We intend to add small notebooks to all of our trail map boxes on GWRLT public properties. When you see something new or notable, please give us a call or write us a note.

Meet the new caretakers:

Mary Mazur grew up in Greybull, Wyoming, just 2 hours west of Yellowstone National Park. With a forest ranger for a father, she spent much time outside and from an early age was inspired by native cultures. She has lived in the Seacoast area for ten years now, and can’t think of a better place to be. She holds a self-design degree in Field Ecology, and will be continuing her graduate work through UNH.

John Pazdon has spent most of his life exploring the rivers, lakes, bays and beaches of the New Hampshire Seacoast. He holds a degree in Coastal Wildlife Ecology and will be attending UNH to complete his graduate work. John is a level 2 Kamana student, an intensive naturalist program developed by Wilderness Awareness School in Washington State.

Together, John and Mary have developed a wildlife education program known as Coyote Club, which runs throughout southeastern New Hampshire. The program is dedicated to connecting both children and adults to the natural world around them, and promotes environmental stewardship and awareness. They are both excited and humbled by the Savage property, and cannot wait to see what this piece of land has to teach.

To mow or not to mow…

Visitors to The Savage Preserve will notice that the grass in the parking area and along the circular driveway has been regularly mowed throughout the spring and summer. We have Clark McDermith and his son, Clark, to thank for volunteering many hours toward this task. We also must thank EastCoast Bio of North Berwick and Shaw’s Ridge Equipment in Dover for generous donations toward our purchase of a new John Deere lawn tractor.

Once you step beyond the caretaker’s house the landscape changes. Here we have decided to take a much different approach and limit our mowing to only once a year. Our aim is to provide critical habitat for nesting birds and other grassland species. Grassland is now the least common habitat occurring in Maine as farmland is reverting back to forest or being replaced by housing and business developments. Where grasslands used to describe 33% of the Maine landscape, they now only occupy 6%.

By waiting until after August 15th to mow our fields, we are allowing rare and endangered birds such as the eastern meadowlark the opportunity to raise a second brood. Other bird species that depend on the insects and small mammals present in grassland habitats, such as American kestrels, northern harriers and red-tailed hawks, will benefit as well. What we do makes a difference. In this case, the difference means life or death to grassland species and thus we are adapting our management practices to suit their needs.

SIGHTINGS at The Savage Wildlife Preserve. Won't you help us add to this list?

Just a few of the birds:
Yellow-leg Piper
Black-bellied Plover
Green Heron
Great Blue Hero 




Leonard’s Skipper
Peck’s Skipper
Great-spangled Fritillary
Aphrodite Fritillary
Common Ringlet
Common Wood Nymph
Eastern Comma
MANY Monarchs

Two of the plants that indicate to birds that there is rich habitat to be found here.
Mountain Mint
American Basswood