Can It Be July!

The summer solstice has come and gone, July 4, too,  and the days are getting shorter! But life at the Hog Island Audubon Camp remains upbeat, high energy, fun, and each new day a joy. Northern parulas, song sparrows, phoebes, our resident ospreys, Rachel and Steve, and other birds on the island are all busy raising young, with some fledging already. Life effervesces, as do the rocking FOHIs.

With four camp sessions under their belts, Birdwatcher’s Digest Reader Rendezvous, Joy of Birding, Arts & Birding/ Teens, and Field Ornithology/Teens, they are ready to take on the next part of the season. Registration at the camp is at its highest ever – 90% thanks to word of mouth and social media, notwithstanding Eva’s efforts and all the instructors to fill their sessions. FOHIs have likewise been spreading the word about volunteering and the sessions are full. But if you want to volunteer, sign-up for the wait list – things happen.

Thanks to Helen Walsh and Betsy Cadbury’s initial plantings of flowers and the continual watering and upkeep by the Old Bristol Garden Club, the gardens and window boxes are thriving. They were particularly appreciated during Arts week.

Other FOHI news

FOHI donated $10, 900 to the purchase of two new vans for the camp. It also gave full scholarships for a mother and daughter to attend Family Camp and for a local student to attend Field Ornithology/Teens. To make rooms brighter, new curtains were purchased for staff quarters and new linens and blankets for campers. We still have a wish list of a 16-foot skiff to replace the “scow, the workhorse boat; a gently used pickup truck; and a wood chipper for the island trails.

 

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On Wednesday, June 28, board members had a two-hour no-impact meeting at Hog Island, where they decided to hire a FOHI Volunteer Coordinator, move ahead with funding for the Hog Island Archive Project, and work on a 5-year strategic plan. They are energized, engaged, and looking to the future. A no-impact meeting means no work for anyone: sandwiches from Fernald’s Deli in Damariscotta and coffee from Dunkin Donuts.

Thanks must go to the FOHI “desperados” who fill in at a moment’s notice when a volunteer cannot make it. Then, there are the “whirlwinds,” who on Friday mornings completely clean rooms and make beds for the next session. FOHI volunteers are dedicated, hard-working, and passionate and a little crazy! But we love them.

The solar panels continue to provide electricity. To date they have produced 18,511.2 kwh and the camp has used 13,188.0 kwh, with June having the biggest consumption of energy. Nonetheless, the sun continues to shine and so far we have a net of 5,322 kwh in the grid. Thank you to all who made this possible.

The savings is equivalent to: Miles Not Driven – 30,391  miles; Gasoline Not Used – 1,436  gallons; Coal Not Burned – 13,710  pounds; Crude Oil Not Used – 30  barrels; Mature Trees Grown – 327  trees; Garbage Recycled – 10,086  pounds

There are still a few slots in  some of the sessions, so visit Hog Island to see what is available. Also check out the trip for teens to Costa Rica in December. See you on the island and thank you for all you do for Hog Island and Friends of Hog Island.

So Much is Happening

The best news is that even though camp registration is at 81% of capacity, it’s not too late to register. Likewise volunteer slots are going like hotcakes with four sessions already with waiting lists: Educator’s week, Joy of Birding, Raptor Rapture, and Migration I. If you’ve been thinking about being a camper or a volunteer, don’t procrastinate. Register or sign up now; otherwise you’ll be on the wait list.

Not only is the scenery breathtaking, the instructors outstanding, the staff friendly, the volunteers amazing, the air clean, but also the food is locally fresh and oh so tasty. Chef, Cleo, and assistant chef, Kristi, are coming back for 2017, as are the rest of the team, Eric, Adrian, Eva, and Juanita. We look forward to breaking bread with you.

Breaking FOHI news

Breaking FOHI news is the election of five new board members: Leigh Altadonna, Randy Blackburn, Tiffany Huenefeldt, ex officio, James Li, M.D., and David Sturdevant. We heartily welcome them and look forward to fresh ideas and bubbling enthusiasm.

Alas, six members rotated off the board, Terry Haight, Kenn Kaufman, Walt Pomeroy, Tom Schaefer, Loretta Victor, and Scott Weidensaul. They were part of the original board of FOHI and contributed greatly to its continuing success. We thank them greatly for their untiring contribution to the wellbeing of FOHI and the camp and for their unflagging confidence that FOHI could make promises and keep them.

FOHI’s  newsletter is out

As outlined in the newsletter, FOHIs achieved a lot in 2016 from opening to closing and in between. Their contributions varied from hammering, building, painting, renovating, plumbing, fixing boats, painting furniture, washing dishes, cleaning, to creating art on doors – the list is endless and surprising.

Their gifts to the kitchen, housekeeping, maintenance, gardens, and, more added the caring touch and made tasks easier. The culmination of gifts and sweat equity was the acquisition and installation of the solar arrays on the Fish House and Bridge, which is covered in the newsletter and in an earlier post.

FOHI volunteers are a prime example of renewable energy; they’re work reenergizes them! We welcome to the team the Old Bristol Garden Club whose many volunteers tended the gardens weekly.

Like the campers, FOHI volunteers  arrive eager to start the experience and leave with big smiles knowing they accomplished many things. Thank you. We couldn’t do it without you.

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Taking a Moment

Another year has come and gone and Hog Island still thrives.

We celebrated its 80th anniversary and completed a new solar system atop

the Fish House and Bridge.

Without you, none of this would have been possible.

We cannot thank you enough.

Enjoy the remaining holidays basking in the glow of these achievements.

Hog Island beckons  . . .

Hog Island Goes Solar

Bart and Virginia Cadbury had no way of knowing what their grandson, some 60 years later, would do for their beloved Hog Island. Benjamin Cadbury Wong, son of Peggy Cadbury and Ching Wong, knew he wanted to do something for Hog Island but what. Two years ago while volunteering at camp, he learned of our dream of being solar powered. He knew then how he could give and contribute to the wellbeing of the camp and planet.

Benjamin, a systems engineer with SunPower Corporation in California, put together a proposal and submitted it to his company. They donated at cost 92 solar panels and 72 micro inverters – the heart of the system. Dwayne Escola, systems design and engineer with Northeast Smart Energy LLC, donated his time and expertise. FOHI paid for shipping and materials. Eric Snyder, Hog Island Facilities Manager, was the linchpin in bringing the solar project to fruition. FOHI volunteers under the guidance of Benjamin, Dwayne, and Eric put it all together.

On September 24, 2016, the switch was turned on and the Hog Island Audubon Camp became solar powered. Two buildings – the Fish House and the Bridge – support solar panels that will provide 70-90% of the camp’s needs, including those of the mainland facility. Benjamin also provided a means whereby the daily energy production can be used as an educational online tool during camp and off-season. During the winter, energy produced will become electrical credits that can be used during the season. We expect the system to pay for itself within 2-3 years.

Twenty-nine FOHI volunteers excited at their part in the camp’s history donated  more than 1,000 hours – some came for a day just to be part of it. The roof team spent long hours in sun and drizzle – Ben, Dwayne, Eric, Adrian, Anthony, Pete, James, Phil; the rest of us were the ground team.

The Hog Island Audubon Camp’s solar system became reality through teamwork, passion, and love for Hog Island. Friendships were forged and mutual respect for every member of the team was the norm. With this kind of caring FOHI will continue to “make promises and keep them.” The camp has a bright future, indeed.

There is no doubt that the solar project is the star of FOHI’s closing week, but an update on some of the other projects will be posted later. Thank you all for your dedication and trust in the camp’s future.

Note: Bart Cadbury was Director of the Hog Island Camp, 1958-68. 

Here Comes 2016 and We’re Ready

Yes, it’s 2016 and we’re ready. Well almost.  Registration for the camp is going gangbusters and has two Family Camps this year. Likewise volunteers are signing up for their favorite sessions. FOHI has some new board members.  And, the camp celebrates its 80th anniversary, while FOHI in its current incarnation completed five successful years and kept its promises. Who would have thought way back in 2010 that 2016 would be a year of celebration!

Camp Programs

Once again, Steve Kress and his indefatigable team of camp directors have put together another knock-it-out-of-the-park season. Four sessions already have waiting lists, but there is room in other sessions.

Happy Family Campers
Happy Family Campers

Whatever you choose, you’ll have the experience of a lifetime. Cannot afford to attend? Then apply for a scholarship – deadline is January 15, 2016. Or, register soon and get the SNOWBIRD discount of $25.

It is worth checking out the line-up of instructors as well. You’ll be surprised at the breadth and depth of knowledge represented – all waiting for you to absorb and share with others when you return home!

FOHI Celebrates

FOHI has been fortunate to have a wellspring of loyal supporters since it received its 501(c)3 nonprofit status  in March 2011, retroactive to October 2010, when the application was filed.

FOHI Volunteers expressing how we feel!
FOHI Volunteers expressing how we feel!

They have remained resolute in their commitment to making the Hog Island Audubon Camp sustainable through financial and volunteer support. FOHI  in its current incarnation celebrates five years of keeping its promises, without fail. When you have a seeming unattainable climb to achieve, it serves to look back and see how far you have come;  you’ll be surprised; the summit is attainable!

Welcome Our New Board Members

Our new board members have graciously agreed to help us continue the climb. Nancy Dickinson, formerly at Cornell Lab of Ornithology  now dedicates her time volunteering at FOHI and Hog Island.  Charles Duncan is currently an instructor at Hog Island and shorebird expert with experience in conservation nonprofits. Anthony La Creta takes over as FOHI’s treasurer and has wide financial experience. Loree Niola, a former emergency services volunteer among other things is now a dedicated volunteer at Hog Island with many valuable skills.

With hellos, are goodbyes. Gaye Phillips, our outgoing Treasurer, has been a long-time supporter of the Hog Island Audubon Camp and retains a lot of historic knowledge. She signed up for the maiden voyage of the new FOHI and set up our finances and data keeping

Gaye Phillips
Gaye Phillips

She had  no idea whether we would sink or have fair winds. She only knew that she, too, shared and believed in FOHI’s mission to make the camp financially sustainable.

Her experience as an auditor was a perfect match. She has been one of the building blocks and we thank her for all her many late nights working on FOHI’s monthly statements. Thank you, Gaye. We couldn’t have done it without your dedication and perseverance. FOHI is an all-volunteer organization!

FOHI Volunteers

FOHI volunteers rock! Our volunteer team gets stronger and stronger each season, with many coming back for multiple weeks. We’ve also been lucky to have a number of new volunteers who have likewise been infused with Hog Island’s magic and will be back. Join the team that contributes to the ongoing success of the camp. Don’t wait. Sign-up. We laugh and work.