This drawing of a praying mantis will be included in the webinar “The Firefly and Mantis World Tour” with Master Maine Naturalist Carol Leonard on April 30. It's the first event in the “Friends from the Field” webinar series. Credit: Courtesy of Blue Hill Heritage Trust

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The Blue Hill Heritage Trust and Island Heritage Trust are banding together to launch “Friends from the Field” a webinar series about the Maine outdoors. These free online events will be streamed live every Thursday from 4 to 5 p.m., and will feature experts speaking on a wide variety of outdoor-related topics.

The two land trusts created the series as a way to continue to reach their communities and provide educational and social opportunities centered on the environment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“This is the first time we’ve ever done anything like this,” said Landere Naisbitt, the Outreach Coordinator for the Blue Hill Heritage Trust. “So it’s a bit of a trial, but we’re excited.”

The first few webinars are:

— April 30: “The Firefly and Mantis World Tour” with Master Maine Naturalist Carol Leonard

— May 7: “Seeing Smelt: Monitoring Sea-run Fish in Downeast Maine” with Sarah Matronal from the Downeast Salmon Federation

— May 14: “Brooks to Bays and Back: Anadromous Fish around the Peninsula” with Chris DeVore from Craig Brook Fish Hatchery, Ciona Ulbrich from Maine Coast Heritage Trust and Alex Drenga, U.S. Fish and Wildlife term biologist and outdoor educator.

— May 21: “Family Outdoor Learning” with Hazel Stark from the Maine Outdoor School

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The webinars will be streamed through the video conferencing platform Zoom, and will be limited to 100 viewers at any one time. Attendees can register for each webinar ahead of time through the Blue Hill Heritage Trust website.

Using Zoom — which can be run on an internet browser or using the Zoom desktop or mobile app — viewers will be able to interact with the presenter and ask questions via video, audio or text. Just like in-person presentations, the webinars will often include slideshows and other visual aids such as props, photographs and video clips.

The land trusts chose to offer the presentations live rather than pre-recorded in an effort to help attendees feel connected during a time of social distancing, Naisbitt said.

“I think it’s motivating to have something on your calendar that you can show up to, even if it’s from your own home,” Naisbitt said.

For those who can’t attend the webinars at their scheduled times, each webinar will be recorded and posted online to be watched at any time.

The land trusts plan to continue this weekly series through June and possibly into July, depending on when they are able to resume in-person events.

For the most up-to-date schedule and to register for individual webinars, visit Questions about the series can be sent to Landere Naisbitt at

Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn Sarnacki is a Maine outdoors writer and the author of three Maine hiking guidebooks including “Family Friendly Hikes in Maine.” Find her on Twitter and Facebook @1minhikegirl. You can also...