“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.

2005 Summer Schedule Now Available

The 2005 Camp schedule — containing session descriptions, dates, and registration information — has been published in print and on the Web.

The schedule includes two new sessions — Seabirds, Lobsters, and Ocean Currents: A Natural History for adults and Coastal Maine Natural History for Teens.

To request a printed catalog, send an e-mail to: camps@maineaudubon.org.

To register, send an e-mail to the above address or you may also contact the camp registrar weekdays between 9:00 – 5:00 (EST) at (888) 325-5261 or (207) 781-2330 x215

Hog Island Featured in the Washington Post

“At just past 4 a.m. on a day in early July, the first hints of light appear on Hog Island’s horizon. Lobster boats on Muscongus Bay soon labor to their pots, their unmuffled motors providing percussion to a disjointed symphony of buzzy black-throated green warblers, laughing common loons and chattering red squirrels.

“By 4:45 a.m., sound and light have joined to wake many of the 52 people who have come to this 333-acre island just a quarter-mile off the coast of Bremen, Maine, most to attend Maine Audubon’s five-day natural history camp. The first risers are already wandering the native-plant-filled grounds, sipping cups of freshly brewed shade-grown coffee and watching one of the island’s signature sunrises….”

Rachel Carson Visits Hog Island in 1960, “Returns” in 2004

One of the most famous visitors to the Audubon Camp in Maine was marine biologist and author Rachel Carson, who walked Hog Island trails in 1960 and later briefly wrote about her trip in the acclaimed Silent Spring. Miss Carson was present that year for the dedication of Hog Island as a perpetual sanctuary and the conveyance of the main part of Hog Island to the National Audubon Society, which had operated its nature camp on the Hog Island peninsula since 1936.

The historic photograph depicts Miss Carson (right) at the steps of the "Fish House" with Dr. Millicent Todd Bingham, owner of Hog Island, who joined (from left) National Audubon Society President Carl Buchheister, former Audubon president John Baker, and Audubon camp director Bart Cadbury for August 13, 1960, ceremonies marking Audubon's assumption of full ownership of Hog Island. Photo by Shirley A. Briggs.

History returned to the Audubon Camp on June 16, 2004, as Broadway and television actress Kaiulani Lee staged her one-woman show, “A Sense of Wonder,” in the camp “Fish House” for “Friends of Hog Island” work week volunteers and neighbors and supporters of the Maine Audubon Society. FOHI volunteers transformed the historic auditorium into a replica of a 1963-era Maine seaside cabin, from which Miss Lee delivered her soliloquy drawn from the writings of Rachel Carson in a one-hour, two-act evening performance before an audience of 50. A Maine native who spends much of the year in mid-coast Maine, Miss Lee walked Hog Island trails with FOHI participants, stopped at the dedication plaque and boulder at Long Cove, and pronounced the island setting “perfect” for her theatrical re-creation of Miss Carson’s poignant final summer in Maine. Her Audubon Camp appearance followed another performance the previous evening at the third “New-Cue Writers’ Conference and Workshop in Honor of Rachel Carson” in nearby Boothbay Harbor.


Youth and Teen Camps Update

2004 Schedule

Register NOW for Summer 2004! Spaces are still available but may not last long, so register by Mail, E-mail or Telephone Today.

Youth Camps (ages 10-13)

  • Session I: July 21-30
  • Session II: August 2-11

Teen Camps (ages 14-17)

  • Coastal Maine Bird Studies for Teens: June 27 — July 3
  • Coastal Kayaking Adventure for Teens Session I: July 6-12 Session II: July 18-24 Session III: July 26 — Aug 1

Register Now!

Audubon Camp in Maine c/o Maine Audubon 20 Gilsland Farm Road Falmouth, ME 04105

888-325-5261 (toll free; registration office only) 207-781-2330 (general information) E-mail: Camps@maineaudubon.org

Maine Audubon works to conserve Maine’s wildlife and wildlife habitat by engaging people of all ages in education, conservation and action. Visit us on the Web at www.maineaudubon.org.

Wish List

  • Ping Pong Table — ACQUIRED
  • Ping Pong Net, Paddles & Balls ($50)
  • Binoculars ($200 each)
  • Spotting Scope & Tripod ($1,000)
  • 2 Underwater Flashlights ($50 each)
  • 2 Underwater Thermometer ($20 each)
  • “Green” Freshwater Sampling Kit ($175)
  • Bottom Sampling Dredge ($200)
  • Marine Science Saltwater Test Kit ($350)
  • Birds of North America Monographic Series ($3,000)

To make a monetary donation please include this form and make checks payable to: Audubon Camp in Maine, code: YCTC