What a 75th celebration it was!

Hog Island is Audubon’s “True North,” said David Yarnold, CEO of National Audubon, at the 75th anniversary celebration on August 20, 2011. In the Audubon camp’s Fish House, David Yarnold’s inspiring and heartfelt words and commitment to Friends of Hog Island and to the island and camp itself, which dates back to 1936, left attendees bubbling like a freshly opened bottle of champagne.

Not only did Mother Nature provide signature Maine sun and bright skies for the event, but also calm seas for an eye-popping tour around the island.  Abundant wildlife including close-up views of Harbor Seals and a mature Bald Eagle, which when it took off caused an outburst of “oohs” and “aahs” among the passengers as if at a 4th of July fireworks. Nature has a way of eliciting such awe.

Lobsters, clams, corn, potato salad, and fresh blueberry cream puffs by Janii Laberge, the camp’s chef, left everyone sated and looking for an empty hammock or Adirondack chair to relax and enjoy the scenery.

The celebration spilled over into Sunday with a reunion of former alumni and friends. Tom Schaeffer, FOHI board member, started the full day by leading a walk down to Bingham Cottage to see the restoration inside and out.

Then Jay Collier’s presentation about archiving Hog Island’s history moved many to sign up to help with copy-editing documents that had been scanned. A break for lunch was followed by Bruce Poland, lobsterman and co-owner of Bremen Co-Op, talking about the local lobster industry. He had to be rescued from the many eager questioners after the presentation so that he could get back to the traps!

A lively, amicable discussion about the future of FOHI followed against the backdrop of hope and enthusiasm for the new leadership at National Audubon. All were greatly taken by David Yarnold’s address to the 75th anniversary group on Saturday and felt confident of a promising future for Hog Island.

The day’s presentatons culminated in a moving talk and DVD by Dur Morton. But not to have everyone feeling sad on the last night Sue Schubel organized a rousing game of Bird Jeopardy with three teams: The Wild Turkeys, the Woodcocks, and the Terns. Friendly competition ended with  surprise rally by the Terns. Much laughter prepared us for a restful night’s sleep.

Hog Island Reunion attendees 2011
Hog Island Reunion attendees 2011

Over 80 people enjoyed the weekend’s festivities – old Hog Island friends and alumni, neighbors, and new friends; Peggy and Dur Morton, Steve Kress, Mike and Margie Shannon, Mary Alice Knox and her daughter Elaine, Brita and Don Dorn, Susan Clancy, Roz Allen and Paul Landry, and Marilyn Smith to name but a few. New friends, included the NAS staff that wanted to see Hog Island for themselves – Susan Lunden, Anne Brown, Susan Houston, and Susan Ketterlinus. Leigh Altadonna, NAS board member, extended his Chapter Leader participation to include the 75th anniversary.

Yes, this was, indeed, a memorable 75th anniversary full of promise for a bright future for an island that has given so much to so many.