Registration for 2012 programs opens October 17th

This Monday, the National Audubon Society opens registration for the legendary 6-day residential birding and environmental education programs at the historic Audubon Camp in Maine on Hog Island.

Hog Island double rainbow
Hog Island double rainbow

New for 2012 are Family Camp (ages 8-12) and a special special fall migration program with a trip to Monhegan Island.

The ever-popular Joy of Birding and Field Ornithology sessions for adults are in June, as well as two weeks of dynamic teen camp programs.

An Audubon Chapter Leadership Program focusing on Atlantic Flyway Initiative is in late August, and $225 scholarships available for individuals with matching funds from their local Audubon chapters.

The season begins and ends with hands-on service-learning sessions presented in partnership with Road Scholar (Elderhostel), where participants work side-by-side with National Audubon Society biologists and interns to census seabirds and restore nesting habitat on offshore seabird islands.

Earlybird special!
$50 discount for registrations received by December 15th.

Pete Dunne, Scott Weidensaul and many other expert ornithologists, naturalists, educators and authors will be in residence during the 2012 sessions.

All summer programs include field trips to nearby Eastern Egg Rock, where Dr. Steve Kress and his team of biologists have successfully restored an island colony of Atlantic Puffins, and Roseate, Arctic and Common Terns. Roger Tory Peterson was the camp’s first bird instructor in 1936 and many of America’s finest naturalists, including Rachel Carson, have spent time on the 330-acre wildlife sanctuary, located in mid-coast Maine, on Muscongus Bay.

Participants live in restored wooden buildings dating back to the early 1900’s and are treated to three fabulous meals each day, prepared by chef extraordinaire Janii Laberge.

Birders can expect a variety of field trips to different habitats, including salt water, fresh water wetlands, blueberry barrens, in addition to Hog Island’s own mature spruce-fir forest. June birding programs tally more than 100 species of land and seabirds.

There will be boat trips to seabird nesting islands, bird-banding demonstrations, lively evening presentations by some of the country’s most talented and expert ornithologists, and the unique and  indescribable magic of living on a beautiful wooded Maine island.  All programs include an opportunity to work on hands-on conservation projects of the Seabird Restoration Program in the Gulf of Maine.

As instructor Pete Dunne wrote recently in Birder’s World, “If your life is steeped in birds, then you owe it to yourself to visit the Source. If you have just discovered birds, there is an island where you can get a crash course in field birding that will link you to birding’s past and vault your skills into the future.”

For more information, photos and to enroll, visit or call (607) 257-7308 x.14.  Some scholarships are available – check with your local Audubon chapter or birding club.  See you on the island!

Useful Links

Recent print articles about Hog Island

Quotes from 2011 campers

”I really felt that I was in the presence of some of the best birding people in the country, if not the world. How wonderful!”

”The staff was amazing. Friendly, helpful, funny, supportive. You have set the bar very, very high for all future camps, and trips with other people. ”

”When I came to Hog island I didn’t know what to expect. Five days later I had been rewarded with the most transformative professional development experiences I have had as a teacher.”

”Your program, staff, environs and heritage are an absolute TREASURE. Memories of the “Joy of Birding” week will live contentedly in my heart for a very long time. Thank you for caring about our wonderful world and it’s future.”

Read more testimonials from past campers:

Flickr photo albums from each of the 2011 sessions

2012 program schedule announced

Registration opens at 8 a.m. on October 17

National Audubon has just announced the schedule for next summer’s 5-day residential sessions at Hog Island, to be taught by some of the country’s leading birders, scientists, authors and environmental educators.

Hog Island

The Maine Seabird Biology and Conservation programs provide opportunities to work directly in the field with Project Puffin biologists on important seabird colony islands. New for 2012, we are bringing back one week of Family Camp and a Field Ornithology session with a trip to Monhegan Island.

Building on the traditions of Hog Island’s legendary ornithology instructors, Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank, today’s instructors are world-class ornithologists and enthusiastic teachers. Group sizes of 10 to 15 participants ensure personalized instruction for all.

Accommodations at Hog Island are in authentic early-20th-century buildings at the edge of the sea. Our renowned chef, Janii Laberge, serves extraordinary meals in an historic farmhouse that looks out onto Muscongus Bay.

National Audubon celebrates Hog Island’s 75th

From the National Audubon Society

A Model for Conservation Education Since 1936

Hog Island double rainbow by Steve Kress
Double rainbow by Steve Kress

One of the nation’s greatest environmental education success stories will be celebrated August 20 as Audubon’s Hog Island Camp marks 75 years of connecting people with nature. Since 1936, some of the world’s most respected naturalists have inspired campers of all ages to learn about and protect birds and the environment.

Roger Tory Peterson, was among the first teachers at the 335 acre island in Maine’s Muscongus Bay. His experiences helped spark interest in bird watching in the U.S. It is now the nation’s second fastest growing hobby, after gardening.

Kenn Kaufman, only nine years old when he read Peterson’s account of Hog Island, is now an international authority on birds and one of the Hog Island instructors. Rachel Carson, a pivotal force behind the modern environmental movement and creation of the EPA, described her visit to Hog Island in her landmark book Silent Spring. It was also here that Audubon’s Dr. Stephen Kress pioneered Project Puffin, a seabird restoration program that is now being replicated to help different species of seabirds around the globe.

“There’s only one Hog Island and it represents something special for so many people,” said Audubon president David Yarnold. “Hog Island is a breeding ground for optimism. People’s lives are changed when they see how birds lead us to ecosystems and they hold a special place in their hearts and souls for nature – and for Hog Island. Most important, Hog Island fuels our passion for teaching others about the world we’ve been entrusted to protect.”

Millicent Todd Bingham inherited Hog Island in 1932. She partnered with John Hopkinson Baker, then Audubon’s executive director, who had been searching for a site where Audubon could launch the organization’s first educational camp. The goal, unconventional at the time, was to help campers develop a sustained interest in the natural world.

“By focusing Hog Island’s programming on educators — who are often our most passionate conservation ambassadors — we have been able to multiply our impact exponentially,” said Audubon’s Vice President of Education, Judy Braus. “Educators are immersed in the wonder and beauty of the island – and we know that the experiences they share as well as the teaching skills the program imparts will foster environmental stewardship among thousands of young people and adults in communities across the country.”

The August 20 event includes a tour of the historical buildings, plus an afternoon clambake, with remarks by Audubon president David Yarnold.

More voices of Hog Island

“Hog Island takes hold of you. There are many beautiful places, but this one will change your life.” — Scott Weidensaul, author

“If your life is steeped in birds, you owe it to yourself to return to the Source.” — Pete Dunne, Director of the Cape May Bird Observatory, V.P. of New Jersey Audubon Society Natural History Information, and founder of the World Series of Birding.

“I’ve run out of superlatives to describe it. The knowledge this island has to share will change the way you look at the natural world.” — Kenn Kaufmann

Quotes from teachers who attended classes on Hog Island

I have been teaching for 25 years and have never experience a more well rounded and useful program than that offered to educators on Hog Island.

When I came to Hog Island I didn’t know what to expect. Five days later I had been rewarded with the most transformative professional development experiences I have had as a teacher.

I really felt that I was in the presence of some of the best birding people in the country, if not the world.

The beauty of the island, the inspiration imparted by the staff and guest speakers, and the knowledge shared by the instructors is a life-changing event!

Your program, staff, environs and heritage are an absolute treasure. Thank you for caring about our wonderful world and its future.

The staff was amazing. You have set the bar very, very high for all future camps.

It was one of the best weeks of my life.