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Beyond Green at Inn by the Sea

March 1, 2024

Rewilding at Maine’s Inn by the Sea

Mid-winter rabbit tracking in the snowy Maine woods around Crescent Beach State Park is business as usual for some of the staff at the luxurious and stylish Inn by the Sea. On this day the Inn’s staff was being taught to distinguish tracks identified with adorable but endangered, New England cottontail bunnies. The staff trail after volunteers and wardens from Maine’s Department of Inland Fish and Wildlife and Gulf of Maine Research Institute.

Collaborating with the neighboring State Park to restore Cottontail Habitat is one of many environmental initiatives and ecofriendly programs undertaken by Inn by the Sea and their employees around sustainability over the last two decades.

Luxury comes naturally at Inn by the Sea with a unique approach to hospitality inspired by their natural coastal surroundings. As a member of Beyond Green, the Inn is committed to both outstanding hospitality and environmental responsibility, blending luxury, service and exceptional guest stays with sustainability and community support, minimizing impacts of operations with ecofriendly initiatives and an appreciation of all things local. Programs at Inn by the Sea share the soul of their seaside location with guests, connecting them to the surrounding community and the Inn’s natural coastal environment.

Pampering for hi flyers:

The Inn’s landscape is designed to be attractive to butterflies and guests, with the inclusion of local plants to create ever-blooming gardens as well as creating habitat for native wildlife. On entering the Inn grounds visitors drive by native blueberry bushes, balsam fir trees and Joe Pie Weed. Nectar gardens, solidago and milkweed are specifically planted for pollinators and endangered butterflies.

“Developing sustainable management practices for the little piece of the earth we are responsible for is really an acknowledgment of being part of something much bigger,” says Derrick Daly, head gardener at Inn by the Sea. “It’s a connection to the natural world and helps preserve the beauty of our coastal landscape for the future.”

Guests are invited to classes on “How to Plant for Wildlife”, inspiring landscapes that also create habitat and food sources for wildlife. Children enjoy “Bug’s Life Garden Tours” where they dress like bugs and learn about local eco systems from a bug’s viewpoint. Guests join beach ecology walks where they learn the importance of sand dunes to stop erosion and for nesting birds such as the Piping Plover, or why pushing back invasive plants to preserve biodiversity is necessary for healthy eco systems. Families enjoy exploring tide pools with a naturalist on Family Beach Walks, while guided walks around Great Pond, a 125 fresh- water pond, appreciate the watchable wildlife.

Habitat Restoration:

Inn by the Sea, the Department of Conservation and Bureau of Parks and Land have been collaborating to restore habitat for endangered New England Cottontail Rabbits at Crescent Beach State Park since 2008. The rabbits were named as candidates for the US Endangered Species Act in 2006. In an effort to stop New England cottontails from vanishing, the Inn assumed responsibility for continually removing acres of invasive, non-indigenous plants such as bamboo, or Japanese Knotweed, from state property adjacent to the Inn, and re planting with native species. The goal is to create habitat, a ‘Rabitat’, for New England cottontails and repair a native meadow. Returning the acreage to indigenous plants supports many other wildlife species and in particular butterflies, such as Monarchs or Swallowtails, who particularly enjoy the return of solidago and milkweed.

In 2021 Inn by the Sea began another initiative with the State Parks Department with an experimental program to remove Japanese Knotweed from Crescent Beach State Park. In summer, the Inn invites a herd of goats from nearby Kennebunk to chomp through a designated plot of Park land for a 7-year period. Much to the entertainment of guests and community, the “Scapegoats” have been eating through the invasives for 3 summers and will return in summer of 2024 to again take down the Knotweed. The hope is to push the highly invasive plant back and stop it from spreading through the park so quickly, allowing room for much needed native plants to thrive.

About Inn by the Sea: An idyllic oceanfront escape, located on a mile of unspoiled sand beach, just 7 miles from Portland, Inn by the Sea is Maine's premier beach destination offering elegant hospitality in 62 upscale rooms and suites, with full- service SPA, cardio room, heated pool and captivating cuisine served in ocean view Sea Glass restaurant. Children and dogs are warmly welcomed to this Preferred LVX® & BEYOND GREEN member and Virtuoso® property.

FMI and images: Rauni Kew, PR & Green Program Manager | Inn by the Sea | 40 Bowery Beach Road | Cape Elizabeth | Maine, 04107. | M: 207.602.8500