Summer 2002 at the Audubon Camp in Maine was the longest summer season of programming ever scheduled, extending from early June through mid-September. Five hundred twenty participants took part in 25 programs over this 15-week span. Weekly sessions included three new programs for teens aged 14-17, two family camps, two youth sessions, an Elderhostel, the FOHI Work and Learn Week, and fifteen other adult program sessions. Additionally, camp-sponsored field trips offered through Maine Audubon’s Field Trip office enjoyed over 90% enrollment.
It is a privilege to receive the many heartfelt letters and good wishes of modern day campers that speak of life-changing experiences at Hog Island.
New programming for 14-17 year olds was among the summer’s most outstanding highlights. Of special note was a concurrent session in Field Ornithology that joined 39 adults with 12 teens. Kenn Kaufman served as an advisor and part-time instructor for Coastal Maine Bird Studies (for teens) while also fulfilling his instructional capacities with the adults. Shared programming included optional morning bird walks, a field birding excursion to nearby Medomak Village, and evening slide presentations by various instructors. The Coastal Maine Bird Studies program was experiential by design, providing hands-on censusing opportunities with Project Puffin biologists and Maine Audubon tern wardens, as well as birding field trips, including one all-day trip to Acadia National Park.
The Muscongus Bay by Kayak for Teens sessions proved equally successful. This new program inaugurated the use of the FOHI-assembled-and-placed tent platforms at the Hog Island Ledges. This program was designed as a total “backcountry experience” whereby the participants, along with two state registered kayak guides, camped out each night and had all their provisions with them. At week’s end, the elated group paddled in for a Janii-made breakfast!
The lore, warmth, and infusion of nature of a visit to Hog Island and the good feelings it invokes remain a solid testimony to the generosity of the sanctuary-founding Todd/Bingham family and the foresight of Audubon’s leadership. It is a privilege to carry forward their still vibrant vision and a delight to receive the many heartfelt letters and good wishes of modern day campers that speak of life-changing experiences at Hog Island. Such experiences provide sustenance for the continuous efforts of the legions of instructors, student assistants, captains, caretakers, cooks, and administrators who have traveled, or dream of traveling, across the narrows.