FOHI Updates

FOHI welcomes new leader

On Feb. 11, 2023, Juanita Roushdy, FOHI’s current executive director and founding president, notified the board that she intended to retire on Oct. 1, 2023, for personal and medical reasons. With camp sessions starting at the end of May, the retirement seemed imminent; the search had to start immediately.

Under board chair Scott Weidensaul’s leadership, the trustees took a deep breath and quickly put together a selection committee: Scott, Juanita and board members Nancy Dickinson, Sara Morris and Tony Ferrara.  Once the qualifications and salary were agreed upon, the job description was posted on the Maine Association of Nonprofits’ job board in early May. Shortly after, a stream of applications were received. As a quick decision was needed because of the fast-approaching camp season, applications were vetted; back-to-back Zoom interviews held on a series of evenings; and three well-qualified candidates selected for personal interviews on a rainy Saturday in Bremen in June.  References were then checked, the final selection made and notified. By July 12, FOHI had a new executive director ready to start on Oct. 1, 2023: Deana Cavan of Ogunquit, Maine, was the unanimous choice of both the selection committee and of the board.

Deana is the founder, with her husband Jim, of Rett’s Roost, a nonprofit they started in 2015 following the death of their infant son Everett from a rare, aggressive cancer. Rett’s Roost organizes multi-day healing retreats and social gatherings for families facing childhood cancer and child loss. She has made a personal decision to scale back on her administrative work with Rett’s Roost, in order to step into the executive director role at FOHI. In essence, she will be an integral part to both organizations — creating a balance between her passion for the environment and the emotional work of supporting families like hers.

It’s hard to say who is more excited — Deana for having the opportunity to be at the helm of FOHI and continue its support of the Hog Island Audubon Camp; Scott and the board for finding a perfect successor; or Juanita, for realizing that at last she can sit on her back deck and watch birds and all that nature offers, knowing that Friends of Hog Island is in capable hands with a bright future; it has been 13 long years since she founded the nonprofit. (Well, not only sitting on her deck. Juanita has graciously agreed to help with the transition through 2024 as needed.)

The board, FOHI membership and everyone who loves Hog Island will forever be in Juanita’s debt and wishes her the best in her long-delayed retirement. Had it not been for her perseverance following the camp’s closure in 2009, fighting alongside Steve Kress and others in a rejuvenated FOHI, it is unlikely Hog Island would be the thriving Audubon icon it is today, in its 90th year of nature education.

Read more about the transition and Deana’s remarkable background in the press release below.


A New Captain for Friends of Hog Island

BREMEN, ME — Friends of Hog Island (FOHI) is thrilled to announce that its new executive director, Deana Cavan, will take the helm of the organization effective Oct. 1, 2023. Friends of Hog Island is a nonprofit started in 2010 to support the programs and legacy of the 90-year-old Hog Island Audubon Camp in Bremen, Maine, the first and oldest National Audubon facility in the nation.

Cavan comes to Friends of Hog Island with experience in starting her own nonprofit for family support retreats after losing her 10-month old son to cancer. “I love when unexpected opportunities arise, because truthfully, I wasn’t looking for a job until I came across FOHI’s listing in the Maine Association of Nonprofits newsletter,” Cavan said. “It’s as if a light went off as I read the description and perused the FOHI website — this position would create an amazing shift in my professional life.”

“FOHI’s future is bright indeed with Deana taking over the helm,” said Juanita Roushdy of Bremen, FOHI’s retiring executive director. “Her early professional life focused on the environment as did her graduate work. She has a master’s degree in environmental engineering and her interrupted doctoral degree was in social sustainability. Becoming the executive director of Friends of Hog Island brings her back to the environment. She also brings all the technological, financial, development, business, and graphic skills that Friends of Hog Island was seeking.”

Ogunquit is currently home for Deana and her family but they spend a good part of the summer in the Damariscotta region for personal and business reasons.

“Deana’s experience starting her own highly successful nonprofit, and her array of professional and personal skills, make us feel as though we found a unicorn—the perfect person for this position,” said FOHI’s board president, Scott Weidensaul, Milton, NH. “Our board was unanimously ecstatic about hiring her.

For more information visit the FOHI website,