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For Release March 6, 2014
Contact: Bruce Wiersma, Past President of The Maine TREE Foundation and former Board member of the HWRF.

The Maine TREE Foundation and the Holt Woodlands Research Foundation (HWRF) are pleased to announce the merger of the two non-profit organizations. The Maine Tree Foundation now assumes oversight of the extensive ecological research and conservation activities of the HWRF working closely with the University of Maine. The board of directors of Maine TREE has been enlarged to include a representative of the University of Maine and two board members from the HWRF.

The merger intends to expand the use of the 300-acre Holt Forest on Arrowsic Island for education, bringing the reality of the forest to both children and teachers while maintaining the research. This is consistent with Maine TREE’s active support for the Project Learning Tree program. The Holt Foundation brings with it a substantial endowment, which will enable Maine TREE to support continued research and new programs at the site.

The Holt Woodlands Research Foundation was established in 1980 by Dr. William L. Holt, Jr. and his son Rod Holt. An endowment was created to provide perpetual support for a long-term project to enhance the natural beauty and value to residents and tourists of the forest lands that are unique to the Maine coast. In collaboration with the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture of the University of Maine, the Holts enabled continuing research toward a better understanding of the broad ecology of the region, the role of small mammals and birds, amphibians and fish and all the living things of the woods. The central issue being examined is: “How do oak-pine forest ecosystems respond to human-imposed disturbance and natural successional change?” The ongoing support for answering this question has shown remarkable success for 33 years.

“The 33 years of long-term research at the Holt Forest places it in an elite league of research forests,” says Fred Servello, Associate Dean for Research in the UMaine College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture. “The joining of the Maine TREE Foundation and Holt Woodlands Research Foundation ensures the continuation of this research initiative and opens the door to new opportunities for forestry and public education.”

One invaluable result is the creation of a computer database containing the ongoing, extensive, and detailed observations of the ecological conditions on Arrowsic Island, which have important implications for the entire coast of Maine. As the Holt Forest resident scientist Jack Witham and lead researcher Mac Hunter stated in 1999, “More than 32,000 trees have been individually tagged and measured; the relative abundance of 260 or more species of vascular plants has been mapped at fine-scale; and the home ranges of more than 30 species of birds have been mapped, using approximately 500,000 observations.” In the 14 years since, the project has continued apace.

Dr. Holt began acquiring the properties that comprise Holt Forest in 1938 and personally cultivated the forest whenever he could find time from his medical work. The Holt Forest is a mixed forest on Arrowsic Island, today one of a very few undisturbed research sites where longitudinal ecological studies are taking place.

“Maine TREE is excited to be adding a research component to our other activities to help people better understand the forest resource,” says Executive Director Sherry Huber. “We also look forward to increased outreach opportunities on the property including the potential for an Outdoor Classroom and educational activities for the general public.”

For more information about Maine TREE please go to
For information on the Holt Woodlands Research Foundation (its web site is temporarily down), one can go to:
for Jack Witham and Mac Hunter’s excellent pamphlet on the Holt Forest (1999)

And, too:

Also of interest is