Juanita and Deana at the October Board Meeting – passing the torch!
A warm welcome into the FOHI community
This past spring, somewhat on a whim, I submitted my application for the new executive director position at FOHI. While I had not been actively looking for work, I was feeling the need for a new professional challenge. As a lover of all things Midcoast Maine, when I read the job posting in my inbox, it seemed like an opportunity that I shouldn’t let pass by.
In my two interviews with Juanita and the Board of Directors, I started to feel palpable excitement—like this was this just the life shift I was looking for. As the founding director of another grassroots nonprofit in Maine (albeit one with a very different mission), I saw similarities between Juanita and me. The passion. The drive. The commitment to a cause.
Although I wouldn’t consider myself a birder (yet!), I do have a master’s degree in environmental engineering, and have long found peace and joy in immersing myself in the healing elements of nature. The other non-profit I will continue to manage part time supports families impacted by childhood cancer and child loss. FOHI felt like a return to my environmentalist roots—and a much-needed counterweight to the heavy emotional burden of my other work.
When I learned I was being offered the job, I was overjoyed and immediately accepted. Over the past few months, I’ve been able to visit the island twice, and begin what I hope will be a long and beautiful relationship with this amazing place and its people. On October 1, I stepped into the new role as FOHI’s first executive director. Since then, the welcome I’ve received by the Hog Island community has been nothing short of inspiring.
I was thrilled and honored to attend the annual fall board meeting last month, when I had a chance to meet all the incredible people working hard to uphold FOHI’s mission. The conversations we had were lively, productive, and informative. I left that meeting with an overwhelming sense of gratitude—for the warm welcome I’ve received, the knowledge and enthusiasm of everyone I’ve met (including everyone from Audubon), and the amazing opportunity I’ve been given.
After the meeting, board member James Li and his wife, Kim, kindly invited me, my husband, and our 7-year-old budding naturalist, Evie (pictured), to stay with them on Cranberry Island. It was a perfect fall day of exploration and delicious food. Our small family has been through a lot over the last decade, including the loss of our first child to an aggressive form of pediatric cancer. Having a glimpse of what our future summers will be like on Muscongus Bay—the natural beauty was simply exhilarating. What an incredible place to be on this one and only earth.
I am so looking forward to meeting all the dedicated FOHI volunteers next summer, as we work to make the Hog Island Audubon programs as welcoming, efficient, and inspiring as possible. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns at all, please do not hesitate to reach out.
My sincerest thanks to Juanita for her advice, counsel, and confidence thus far; to the many board members who have been true wellsprings of guidance and goodwill; to our colleagues at Audubon; and to the entire Hog Island community for giving me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Rest assured, I intend to make the most of it—and ensure that the next chapter in Hog Island’s story be one to remember.
Volunteer in 2024
Check out next year’s Audubon programming on Hog Island. Sign up for a full week (or several) to stay on the island or as a local day volunteer for camp turnovers and last minute needs. Our volunteer coordinator, Adam, will be in touch with you about next year’s required forms.
Support our work
The end of the year is almost here. Have you made an annual gift to FOHI? Donations from our loyal constituents go far in sustaining the Audubon programs at Hog Island and maintaining the historical facilities and extensive trails. We are so grateful for your financial support –both big and small!