The Gardens at Birdsacre - A Hancock County Master Gardener Volunteer Project

The Woodland Gardens

University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardner Volunteers logo The idea for the Woodland Gardens at Birdsacre Wildlife Sanctuary began in 1997 with a proposal by the Master Gardener Volunteers of Hancock County to build a wheelchair accessible boardwalk around a micro-habitat which represented the diverse habitats found throughout the 200 acre sanctuary.

Stan Richmond with baby barred owlStan Richmond, President of Birdsacre, Inc. endorsed the plan to establish a garden that would:

Provide universal accessibility for visitors to the garden with opportunities to enjoy nature–flora and fauna (particularly birds) and to find solitude within the preserve.

Utilize native plant species attractive to birds.

Promote educational awareness of Maine's natural resources

Provide opportunities for community members to support, use, and assist
in maintaining the garden.


The 540' boardwalk was built over three seasons (1999-2001). Built to ADA standards, the boardwalk is a place where visitors can identify plants, listen to birds, find solitude on the edge of a bustling town, and learn the important role native plants play in the natural environment.

The five diverse environments along the boardwalk include a woodland meadow, ledge, evergreen forest, fern-moss area, and a bog.

Other work undertaken by the Master Gardener Volunteers include:

  • Yearly cleanup and maintenance, weeding, pruning, and planting
  • Removing exotic plants
  • Creating an inventory of plants found along the boardwalk
  • Producing plant illustrations for signage
  • Producing informational signs for the boardwalk
  • Creating a plant photo identification board for the Visitor Center
  • Developing a Woodland Gardens brochure
  • Developing this website
  • Developing a plan to improve wheelchair access to to the boardwalk

Mater Gardener Volunteer on the boardwalkThrough conservation and enhancement of existing plant species, selective cutting, planting, and appropriate signage, the gardens have become a source of enjoyment for all people and a valued resource for the community. Master Gardener Volunteers will continue to work with the Birdsacre staff in developing other aspects of the garden that fit into the site's overall educational program goals.

Learn more about becoming a Hancock County Master Gardener Volunteer or volunteering at the Woodland Gardens. The Master Gardener Volunteers Program is a national program of trained volunteers who work in partnership with their county Cooperative Extension Office to extend educational outreach throughout their community by providing home gardeners with research-based information. Check out the programs in your state today! Learn more about the Maine's Master Gardener Volunteers program and other Cooperative Extension gardening topics.