By Squirrel Staff

Deering-Squirrel-Bee-SafeStroll through any Portland neighborhood this summer and you’ll notice a new kind of lawn ornament sprouting up next to the usual crops of peonies and daylilies. The small, simple yard signs, which are adorned with a picture of a bee and the words, “A BEE SAFE YARD,” and “no chemical pesticides or fertilizers” are the brainchild of Avery Kamila and Maggie Knowles, co-founders of the group Portland Protectors. For the past two years, the group has been working to raise awareness of the dangers of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Now, they are lobbying the City Council to pass an ordinance banning the use of such products in Portland. Residents who display the yard signs have already made a commitment to forgo chemical products in favor of organic interventions. They are also sending a strong message to their City Council members that they support a pesticide and fertilizer ordinance. Continue reading CITIZEN GROUP HOPES TO MAKE PORTLAND A BEE SAFE CITY


By Ellen Gilliam, Director, Burbank Branch, Portland Public Library

What’s going on at Burbank?

What’s the Burbank staff up to while the branch is closed?

When are you going to re-open?

How can I contribute to the fundraising campaign?

Deering-Squirrel-library-news-booksBurbank staffers who live in the neighborhoodget asked when they’re taking their morning walks or grocery shopping. PPL staff at the Main and other branches get asked when Burbank patrons visit. Continue reading LIBRARY RENOVATION UPDATE


By Nathan Hall and Fleur Hopper, photos by Fleur Hopper

Deering-Squirrel-Deering-Tweets-warblerSpring has sprung again in Deering Center, and it’s been a great season for observing and enjoying all of our abundant local and migratory birds. The annual parade of stunning wood warblers has been proceeding through Evergreen Cemetery and Capisic Pond park. Some highlights include multiple sightings of a Cape May Warbler (though sadly not by the authors!), a beautiful sunny yellow bird with a rosy face who winters in the West Indies and breeds in the Boreal forests of Northern Maine and Canada. Cape Mays’ population fluctuates depending on the availability of their favorite food, the spruce budworm. Their population fluctuates year to year, and seeing one in your yard or local park is a truly special treat! Continue reading SPRING HAS SPRUNG


By Squirrel Staff
Deering-Squirrel-Molly-ThompsonThe paint-flecked wooden worktable in Molly Thompson’s airy attic studio resembles a Joan Mitchell canvas. Above the room’s best window, her signature flour sack dishtowels hang drying in view of deciduous trees and a neighbor’s garden. As a child, Thompson’s most prized possession was an oak drawing table, a gift from her father who worked in advertising. One of Thompson’s three children has inherited that table, and her husband built this larger one to be the primary production area for her growing business, Pretty Flours. Continue reading MOLLY THOMPSON

An International Student’s Perspective

By Boya Yang

Yang is a junior at The Maine Girls’ Academy (formerly Catherine McAuley High School.) This article is part of a program at the school which connects students with mentors in the community. Yang, who is interested in communication, chose to partner with the Deering Squirrel.

As a Chinese student, a common question for me is, Do you have General Tso’s Chicken in China? No, we don’t have that in China. Then, What about Mongolian Beef ? No, we don’t have that either; that’s an American Chinese food. You guys must have fortune cookies right? Actually, they are offered in American-Chinese restaurants. The next question they will ask is which school I go to, and I say, The Maine Girls’ Academy (MGA) Then, there is one question they will absolutely ask me, which is: Why would I decide to go to America to be an exchange student?

Well, there are a number reasons why I decided to come to America. Continue reading An International Student’s Perspective

Why I live here

By Joanne Smith

 Smith is the creator of Smith and Maine, a blog about coastal Maine cities and towns.

Old Orchard Beach | Photo by Joanne Smith

Raise your hand if you’ve heard this or some variation of it before… “Why do you live in Maine if you don’t like winter, the cold, skiing, etc…?” This is the question I’m often asked when I admit that there are aspects of life in Maine that I don’t particularly like. Typically, I don’t feel the need to respond with more than a shoulder shrug and a “What are you gonna do?” sort of grunt. But with summer right around the corner I feel compelled to give the question a more dignified response. Continue reading Why I live here


By Squirrel Staff

Simon Williams has been staring at the wall and dreaming. A Portland native, the young Ocean Avenue Elementary School art teacher has had his eyes on the long brick expanse of Rosemont Market’s Brighton Avenue store for years. Williams dreamed of a community project that would engage local students, enrich the neighborhood he grew up in, and call attention to Portland public school art programs. This June, his dream became one of the most uniquely collaborative public art installations in the city. Continue reading HUNDREDS OF AREA STUDENTS HAVE A HAND IN NEIGHBORHOOD MURAL