Report on the FOHI Festival

It has been said by those who were there, that the Audubon Camp on Hog Island was like a family in the early years, with Carl and Susie Buchheister, Allan and Helen Cruickshank, Don and Elizabeth Borror, Joe and Lu Cadbury, Bart and Ginny Cadbury, Farida Wiley, and Margaret Wall. There was a special camaraderie that developed among the staff as they returned year after year, devoted to each other and to the environmental education cause they served. Continue reading

Scholarships Available to Audubon Staff and Members (2/06)

BREMEN, Maine, March 2, 2006 — Scholarships are available for Audubon staff, interns and chapter members to attend residential sessions this summer at Hog Island Audubon Camp in Bremen.

Those interested can get an application by e-mailing camps@maineaudubon.org, calling (207) 781-2330, ext. 215, or downloading from www.maineaudubon.org.

Accessible only by boat, Hog Island Audubon Camp is located on a 330-acre coastal wildlife sanctuary in midcoast Maine. Since 1936, its summer sessions for adults, educators, young people and families have been led by some of the most respected naturalists and environmental educators in the nation.

“If everyone had the opportunity to spend a week at a place like Hog Island, I believe our world would be a much different place,” says adult camper Stacie Moon from Bowie, Maryland, “because living in nature can really change one’s opinions of the world.”

Campers awake to the sound of woodland bird and lobster boats and spend the day exploring the island’s spruce forests, fern-filled meadows, and rocky tide pools. Evenings feature presentations by special guests. Sessions include gourmet meals and lodging in rustic 19th-century buildings.

“I was just nine years old when I read an account by Roger Tory Peterson about a magical place called Hog Island Audubon Camp,” said Kenn Kauffman, international birding authority, author, and educator. “Now I teach a session or two there every year, helping carry on a tradition with results that are felt across the continent.”

Results are felt across the continent as well as in the heart. “I cannot say enough about my week at Hog Island,” said Moon. “It was an incredible experience that has changed me in many ways.”

Sessions in 2006 include a Hog Island Reunion for alumni to relax, reflect and reconnect with nature and old friends (July 24-26, $195) as well as an Audubon Leadership Workshop for Audubon chapter or center leaders to network with peers and learn how to raise funds, energize volunteers, incorporate Audubon initiatives and offer compelling nature programs (August 13-19, $700).

Hog Island Audubon Camp’s other 2006 offerings include:

For Adults

Field Ornithology, June 25-July 1 ($1,050)

Join nationally known ornithologists Kenn Kaufman, Scott Weidensaul, Steve Kress, and others to explore the marshes, beaches, barrens, seabird colonies and forests of Hog Island and beyond, where Rachel Carson and Roger Tory Peterson once birded.

Natural History of the Maine Coast, July 2-8 ($1,050)

Soak in the sights, sounds and smells of coastal Maine while exploring tide pools, checking out seabird islands, searching for butterflies and more. This signature session has delighted participants for 65 years.

Workshop for Educators, July 9-15 ($1,000)

Science and nonscience educators: rejuvenate your spirit and learn from peers and renowned instructors how to incorporate environmental education into your lesson plans. Session includes field trips, boat cruises, take-home materials and more.

Cultural and Natural History of Coastal Maine, July 16-22 ($1,200)

Explore islands and rocky ledges, search for evidence of prehistoric human settlements, and visit seabird colonies and Maine’s richest lobster habitat in spectacular Muscongus Bay.

Naturalizing by Kayak, July 16-22 or August 28-31 ($1,200/$695)

Explore secluded coves and marshes, thread through rock ledges, and visit other islands in beautiful Muscongus Bay.

A Maine Island Experience, August 20-26 ($985)

Leave behind the busy tourist route and spend a week walking trails along the rocky shore, exploring tide pools, searching the forest for colorful birds, learning about lobsters and other marine life, and more.

Om on the Island Yoga Retreat, August 28-31 ($395)

Deepen your connection to nature and motivation to take care of it through a weekend of yoga and exploration on spectacular Hog Island.

Bird Migration and Conservation, September 10-16 ($985)

Travel to local migration hot spots such as blueberry barrens, tidal marshes, and the outstanding migrant trap Monhegan Island. On Hog Island, enjoy presentations and discussions with experts.

For Teens and Youth

Bird Studies for Teens, June 25-July 1 ($1,050)

Teens ages 14 to 17: with renowned birder and author Kenn Kaufman, study birds, venture out to a seabird island with Audubon’s Project Puffin, and work alongside biologists as they monitor endangered piping plovers.

Natural History for Teens, July 2-8 ($1,050)

Teens ages 14-17: discover and explore by kayak and foot the interrelationships between coastal Maine’s plants, animals, habitats and landscape.

Coastal Kayaking Adventure, July 10-15 or July 25-29 ($995/$850)

Teens ages 14-17: based from a tenting site on a remote cove of Hog Island, combine sea kayaking, backcountry camping and investigation of the natural world along the Maine coast.

Youth Camp, July 30-August 5 ($1,050)

Boys and girls ages 10-13: learn about yourself, nature and how it all relates. Small sessions promise plenty of personal attention.

For more information about Maine Audubon camp programs, visit www.maineaudubon.org or call (207) 781-2330.

“Life-changing” Audubon Camp Celebrates 70 Years

BREMEN, Maine, January 2006 — Seventy years ago this summer on a spruce-covered island off the coast of Maine, a new brand of environmental education was born.

In 1936, in a cluster of 19th-century farm buildings on the northern tip of Hog Island, the National Audubon Society offered its first residential nature program. The Nature Study Camp for Teachers and Adult Students was founded on the belief, highly unconventional for the time, that once connected with the natural world, participants would want to support wildlife conservation. Today that thinking is a pillar of environmental education nationwide.

Awaking to the same sounds of lobster boats and warblers and sharing meals together in the same dining room that campers did seventy years before, today adult, youth and teen campers still enjoy a variety of engaging sessions about nature, culture and history each summer on Hog Island, which is now operated by Maine Audubon.

“If everyone had the opportunity to spend a week at a place like Hog Island, I believe our world would be a much different place,” says adult camper Stacie Moon from Bowie, Maryland, “because living in nature can really change one’s opinions of the world.”

Led by renowned naturalists, campers spend their days exploring the island’s spruce-fir forests and rocky tide pools or cruising to other local islands and natural destinations. Evenings feature presentations by special guests.

“I was just nine years old when I read an account by Roger Tory Peterson about a magical place called Hog Island Audubon Camp,” said Kenn Kauffman, international birding authority, author, and educator. “Now I teach a session or two there every year, helping carry on a tradition with results that are felt across the continent.”

Results are felt across the continent as well as in the heart.

“I cannot say enough about my week at Hog Island,” said Moon. “It was an incredible experience that has changed me in many ways.”

Hog Island Audubon Camp’s 2006 offerings

For Adults

Field Ornithology, June 25-July 1 ($1,050)

Join nationally known ornithologists Kenn Kaufman, Scott Weidensaul, Steve Kress, and others to explore the marshes, beaches, barrens, seabird colonies and forests of Hog Island and beyond, where Rachel Carson and Roger Tory Peterson once birded.

Natural History of the Maine Coast, July 2-8 ($1,050)

Soak in the sights, sounds and smells of coastal Maine while exploring tide pools, checking out seabird islands, searching for butterflies and more. This signature session has delighted participants for 65 years.

Workshop for Educators, July 9-15 ($1,000)

Science and nonscience educators: rejuvenate your spirit and learn from peers and renowned instructors how to incorporate environmental education into your lesson plans. Session includes field trips, boat cruises, take-home materials and more.

Cultural and Natural History of Coastal Maine, July 16-22 ($1,200)

Explore islands and rocky ledges, search for evidence of prehistoric human settlements, and visit seabird colonies and Maine’s richest lobster habitat in spectacular Muscongus Bay.

Naturalizing by Kayak, July 16-22 or August 28-31 ($1,200/$695)

Explore secluded coves and marshes, thread through rock ledges, and visit other islands in beautiful Muscongus Bay.

Hog Island Reunion, July 24-26 ($195)

Relax, reflect, and reconnect with nature and old friends as the camp celebrates 70 years of operation.

Audubon Leadership Workshop, August 13-19 ($700)

Audubon chapter or center leaders: network with peers and learn and how to raise funds, energize volunteers, incorporate Audubon initiatives, and offer your compelling nature programs.

A Maine Island Experience, August 20-26 ($985)

Leave behind the busy tourist route and spend a week walking trails along the rocky shore, exploring tide pools, searching the forest for colorful birds, learning about lobsters and other marine life, and more.

Om on the Island Yoga Retreat, August 28-31 ($395)

Deepen your connection to nature and motivation to take care of it through a weekend of yoga and exploration on spectacular Hog Island.

Field Ornithology 11: Migration and Conservation, September 10-16 ($985)

Travel to local migration hot spots such as blueberry barrens, tidal marshes, and the outstanding migrant trap Monhegan Island. On Hog Island, enjoy presentations and discussions with experts.

For Teens and Youth

Bird Studies for Teens, June 25-July 1 ($1,050)

Teens ages 14 to 17: with renowned birder and author Kenn Kaufman, study birds, venture out to a seabird island with Audubon’s Project Puffin, and work alongside biologists as they monitor endangered piping plovers.

Natural History for Teens, July 2-8 ($1,050)

Teens ages 14-17: discover and explore by kayak and foot the interrelationships between coastal Maine’s plants, animals, habitats and landscape.

Coastal Kayaking Adventure, July 10-15 or July 25-29 ($995/$850)

Teens ages 14-17: based from a tenting site on a remote cove of Hog Island, combine sea kayaking, backcountry camping and investigation of the natural world along the Maine coast.

Youth Camp, July 30-August 5 ($1,050)

Boys and girls ages 10-13: learn about yourself, nature and how it all relates. Small sessions promise plenty of personal attention.

For more information about Maine Audubon camp programs, visit www.maineaudubon.org or call (207) 781-2330.

Ornithology on Hog Island

Before considering Millicent Bingham’s proposal to use Hog Island as a site for an Audubon Camp in 1935, John Baker — who was then president of the National Audubon Society — enlisted the help of eminent Bowdoin College ornithologist, Dr. Alfred Gross, to determine its ornithological importance. Gross was well-known for his studies of gulls, cormorants and storm petrels in the Gulf of Maine and was therefore a natural choice.

Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank, among the first teachers at the Camp, ignited popular bird watching in the United States.

Gross then assigned one of his students, Olin Sewall Pettingill, Jr., to investigate the birdlife on Hog Island and vicinity. Pettingill was a natural choice for this assignment. A native of Wayne, Maine, he had conducted studies of Maine seabirds and later went on to write ornithology textbooks, bird-finding guides and eventually, assumed the position of Director of the Laboratory of Ornithology at Cornell — and for many years traveled with his movies about penguins and other seabirds as part of the Audubon Wildlife Film series.

Early Hog Island instructors
Early Hog Island instructors

Pettingill visited Hog Island and enthusiastically recommended that Audubon acquire the present camp property and secure it for the purpose of bird protection and education. Based on this recommendation, John Baker found a donor to purchase the site and work began immediately to prepare for the first Audubon Campers in 1936. To staff the Camp, Baker hired school teacher and amateur naturalist, Carl Buchheister, as its first Director, an appointment that would last for 22 years, until Buchheister took over leadership of Audubon as its President. Among the first teachers at the Camp, Buchheister and Baker hired Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank. The careers of these two extraordinary birders ignited popular bird watching in the United States.

Peterson’s effect is now legendary, authoring dozens of books and illustrating these with his dramatic art. The Atlantic Puffin was always one of his favorites and he returned to Maine many times to paint them, always perching them on classic Maine granites, posed against stormy skies (his personal favorite hung in the Camp’s Fish House). This initial Maine seabird exposure developed into his passion for penguins and other south polar seabirds. In the first year of the Camp, Peterson’s ornithology colleague was Allan D. Cruickshank, a charismatic Scot, a pioneer bird photographer who used “state of the art equipment” — a cumbersome 8 x 10″ format black and white view camera that used glass plate film.

Burdened by awkward wooden tripods, he scaled trees and cliffs to document the birds of Hog Island and its neighboring seabird colonies. Many of these original enlargements hang in the Hog Island Bridge, Fish House, and Porthole sleeping quarters, reminders of Cruickshank’s dedication to birds and teaching. Cruickshank and his wife Helen spent 20 summers at Hog Island, photographing birds and documenting their occurrence in “The Birds of Lincoln County, Maine.” A recently discovered picture shows Cruickshank standing on his head aboard the bow of the PUFFIN I as it returned from a day at sea, a signal to campers on Hog Island that a bird rarity had been spotted during the trip.

FOHI campers on Hog Island in 2002

Joseph Cadbury, an instructor who shared teaching duties with Cruickshank for nearly two decades, is remembered for his passion for teaching birdlife and for banding thousands of land and seabirds. These banding efforts revealed much about the migration and winter habitat of Muscongus Bay birds, including the winter haunts of Cormorants that concentrate in Tampa Bay, Florida.