Maine Woods Safety


Maine’s reputation for stellar outdoor recreation is iconic. And why not? From mountains to lakes, forests to the coast, there’s no better place to be. Here at the Gardens, we love providing a place of connection to the natural world. But while the benefits of the outdoors (think increased, overall physical and mental wellbeing) far outweigh the risks, there are still some things to be aware of. Enjoy exploring our acres of wild and cultivated gardens and woodlands, but be aware that they are also habitat for ticks, browntail moth caterpillars, and poison ivy. To make the most of a visit to Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, mitigate your risk by staying on paths and trails, avoiding leaf litter, and checking for ticks before heading home. 

Blacklegged Tick by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Flickr.

Ticks are found mostly in wooded areas and the open grassy spaces that border them. The best way to protect yourself is by sticking to paths and lawns. Nevertheless, tick-checks are important! Ticks transmit a variety of diseases, namely Lyme Disease. Check your clothing and remove any ticks you find. For more information, visit Ticks in Maine.

IMG_3772 by Vodex on Flickr.

Browntail moth caterpillars are an invasive species found in concentrated pockets along Maine’s coast. For sensitive individuals, coming into contact with the caterpillar’s tiny, poisonous hairs can cause a rash similar to poison ivy. The caterpillars are most active April through late June, but even shed hairs can remain toxic throughout the summer. Reduce your exposure by staying on paths and out of leaf litter.  For more information, visit Maine’s browntail moth page. 

Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy) 2 by James St. John on Flickr.

Poison ivy’s iconic three-leaf shape is probably familiar to most of us. This woody perennial can be found almost anywhere—here at the Gardens, we try to mark the patches to protect our guests. If you come in contact with poison ivy, wash skin with soap and cool water as soon as you can.