Images of snowy egrets, glossy ibis and great blue herons, along with other marsh animals, now grace a new art installation along the Scarborough Marsh section of the Eastern Trail.
The new informational sign, which was created by local artist Jada Fitch, teaches trail users about the various marsh animals, as well as offering a bit of information about the marsh itself, including its historic Native American name – Owascoag, or Land of Many Grasses.
The sign is located just north of the bridge over the Scarborough River in a spot that overlooks a bend in the river, which is a popular spot for bird watching.
The goal of the project is for the artwork to “mimic what you see” out on the marsh, according to Bob Bowker, vice president of the Eastern Trail Alliance and a Scarborough resident.
“We just thought it would be a good enhancement to the trail,” he added.
The interpretative sign is the first in a series that the trail alliance has planned, Bowker said.
The next sign will likely be placed on the Biddeford section of the Eastern Trail, which runs from Kittery to Bug Light in South Portland and which is part of the larger East Coast Greenway.
The signs are being paid for through a $7,000 donation that the trail group received anonymously last fall, Bowker said.
There were no strings attached to the money, and, Bowker said, trail overseers agreed that creating and installing interpretative signs depicting the wildlife that can be seen along the Eastern Trail, as well as sharing trail history, would be a good use of the funds.
Bowker said the sign recently installed on the Scarborough Marsh section of the trail meets National Park Service standards and should therefore stand the test of time.
He also said trail overseers were “very happy” with Fitch’s work and said the alliance is “considering further collaborations with Jada.”
Bowker said that while most of the feedback on the new interpretative sign has been from Eastern Trail board members, overall it’s been “very well received and we will definitely be doing more of these.”