Three weeks, three milestones

Black-Throated Green Warbler enjoys the newly cleaned water garden

Week One

FOHI work week. See Julie Seifert’s second story from summer 2011 for more great work by our dedicated volunteers. Behind the scenes during the past three weeks, FOHI volunteers with good humor and smiles kept on top of the daily cleaning and cooking chores and whatever else needed doing.

Week Two, Milestone One

Joy of Birding. Despite three days of rain and unusually cold weather, 60 campers succumbed to the Hog Island spirit, Chef Janii’s food, and the boundless teachings and knowledge of Scott Weidensaul, Pete Dunne, Peter Vickery, Chris Lewey, Jerry Skinner, and Stephen Kress. Continue reading

Volunteer week 2: From “to do” to “ta da!”

The first FOHI week was so successful that we decided to have another one, this time with more volunteers and even more projects on the To-Do board. Around twenty volunteers showed up throughout the week, eager to help out. And there was much to be done.

The "To Do" Board

From “to do” to “ta da”

First, the new furniture in the Crow’s Nest needed painting. We decided on white, so that we can have fun repainting them every year! Libby Hyatt, Monica Kirtland and Kate Harris all helped paint the new chairs and night stands, while Bill Carpenter and Steve Schellenger painted doors and bunk beds. Continue reading

Opening week at Hog Island

I’m writing from Hog Island, where we have just finished our opening week of FOHI volunteering. We had as many tasks as the Muscongous has water, but our brave volunteers dove in head first, making amazing changes to the island in just a few days.

Helen Walsh watering the new plants

For example, Loretta Victor and Phyllis Coelho swept and vacuumed every corner and windowsill of every cabin. Gaye Phillips worked on the linens and the room notebooks, with some help from her husband Robert. And when Robert wasn’t helping with the books, he could be found fixing smoke detectors or in his favorite spot, next to the Hobart dishwasher.

Lynn Stroud swept the entire Fish House and then moved right on to the Port Hole. In the garden, Helen Walsh planted  brilliant purples, yellows, and oranges, colors suggested by Phyllis, who was inspired by the buoys on the Fish House. Eric “Elder” Eichorn mowed the grass and raked up the clippings, working until the lawn looked, as Robert Phillips said, “like we could play croquet out there.” Continue reading

Special projects for summer 2011

Hog Island is slowly shrugging off winter and welcoming spring arrivals. The trails and facilities fared well over the winter, with only a few blow-downs on the trails. Ospreys are now routinely circling the point and a pair of eagles are enjoying a perch just beyond the Crow’s Nest, while on the mainland two Canada geese have claimed the small pond for themselves.

Janii has been making his spring reconnaissance of the kitchen, and start-up maintenance is just about in full swing. We have the smaller docks in and are doing repairs on some of the larger ones. Boats are getting new coats of paint and minor repairs as weather permits.

Overhauling Bingham Lodge is one of the major projects this summer

Continue reading

Steve Kress wants you … to volunteer

I am very pleased to share the news that the programs on Hog Island for the coming summer are more than 90% filled with several already with wait lists.  This is certainly great news as we welcome this year’s campers for the 75th anniversary of the Camp.

If you would like to follow the success of the registration process, please download this report (PDF); it is updated every few weeks by Camp Registrar, Erica VanEtten.

While the Camp has filled rapidly, there are still some opportunities to spend time on Hog Island this summer as a FOHI volunteer. If you have not already signed up, I hope you will join us.

Installing carpet mat at Eastern Egg Rock. By Stephen Kress.

We have several work weeks planned that will open the island in May and June and close down for the winter in late September.

Sue Schubel is the FOHI volunteer coordinator and the point person for sending your application to assist the program. I greatly appreciate your continued help for the Camp

In addition to the work weeks, there are also several openings remaining in all of the teaching sessions to help in the kitchen and maintenance around the grounds and buildings.  In these sessions, FOHI volunteers will be able to take part in some of the classes and field trips as space permits.

Please consider join us by completing and returning this form (PDF) to Sue Schubel.

I hope you will join us for this 75th anniversary summer for the Audubon Camp.

A call for volunteers – 2011

Part of FOHI’s commitment to making the Audubon Camp at Hog Island a sustainable venture is to provide volunteers to help with opening and closing the camp and then to help during the program sessions.

Choose from one of the three FOHI workweeks or one of the program sessions. The FOHI workweeks are filled with hard work, great camaraderie, and a great sense of accomplishment. The first short week opens up the camp and prepares it for program participants — the focus is on a thorough cleaning of the camp, but there may also be painting and fix-it projects, gardening, trails to clear, and kitchen duty in the mix.

Image by Victor Gabay

The second week has lots of projects – carpentry, painting, repairs, and caring for the buildings we love. The third week does final repairs, and closes down the camp to prepare it for the long winter sleep.

The workweeks are a time to enjoy the beauty of the island with a small group of friends and a more relaxed schedule than during regular camp sessions. A boat trip to Egg Rock Puffin Island is the reward for the second and third workweeks!

Volunteering during a program session week is fast-paced. Kitchen duty, general housekeeping of the buildings, and other odd jobs as the need arises will keep us busy, but you’ll still have time for some fun and learning. During these sessions you’ll have an opportunity to meet world-class instructors, fascinating participants from all over the country, and go on a field trip when space permits.

With any volunteer stint on the island, you’ll enjoy Chef Janii’s exceptional cooking — he’s full of culinary surprises! But best of all, you’ll enjoy a sweet exhaustion and know that you’ve helped our much loved Audubon Camp pulse with life for yet another year as part of the FOHI team.

Accommodation and food are included in your volunteer stint. For more information or to sign up contact Sue Schubel, otherwise known as “Seabird Sue,” at, or download the form and return it to Sue Schubel at 11 Audubon Camp Road, Bremen, ME 04551-3233.

Volunteer spots are limited so sign up soon and bring a friend — share the fun and labor of love!


  • May 25 – 28 – Friends of Hog Island (FOHI) – opening camp, cleaning, painting, misc. projects
  • May 29 –June 3 – Maine Seabird Biology & Conservation – kitchen, cleaning
  • June 5 – 10 – Friends of Hog Island (FOHI) – cleaning, gardening, painting, misc. projects
  • June 12 – 17 – Joy of Birding – kitchen, cleaning
  • June 19 – 24 – Field Ornithology/ Teen Camp – kitchen, cleaning
  • July 14 – 19 – Sharing Nature: Educator Week – kitchen, cleaning
  • August 15 – 20 – Chapter Leader Week – kitchen, cleaning
  • September 11 – 16 – Maine Seabird Biology & Conservation II – kitchen, cleaning
  • September 18 – 23 – Friends of Hog Island (FOHI) – closedown, cleaning, painting, carpentry

Road Scholar seabird and service session concludes 2010 season

The final Audubon Camp in Maine session for the 2010 season was titled ‘Maine Seabird Biology and Conservation’. This service learning program was a collaborative venture with Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel). It represents the strengths of combining the on the ground seabird management of Project Puffin with the power of 32 people — motivated to not only learn about seabird biology, but participate in direct conservation actions.

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The group assembled on Hog Island on Sunday, Sept. 19 for the five day program. This was the second Road Scholar program at Hog Island this summer. Like the late May-early June program which focused on censusing nesting seabirds, this program connected eager volunteers with service projects that required many helping hands.

Hog Island volunteers raise a sign for the Cruickshank Wildlife Sanctuary

Like other sessions this summer, this group represented every corner of the country — 16 states in total. Ages ranged from 52-75 and included a great diversity of semi and retired professionals. All actively participated in the program. In addition to the registered participants, eight members of FOHI (Friends of Hog Island) volunteered their time to assist in the kitchen and join in on the field projects.

The group was fortunate to have exceptionally good weather, even though mid September is typically one of Maine’s best weeks for outdoor activities. Flat calm seas prevailed for the first two days with temperatures in the 70’s — ideal for landing the entire group on Eastern Egg Rock. Once ashore the group divided into four teams that set about various projects that included:

  • Cutting overgrown vegetation from the artificial puffin burrows that once housed Newfoundland puffin chicks and digging new entrances to adapt them for Leach’s storm-petrel nesting. Soon fifty burrows were restored and ready for storm-petrels to nest next summer.
  • Pulling abandoned lobster traps from seabird nesting habitat. Past storms had tossed the traps onto the island creating danger for nesting seabirds. Two black guillemots and a laughing gull were found entangled in the traps, tragic reminders about the issue of entanglement. By the end of the 2nd day, more than 50 lobster traps were pulled out of the nesting habitat and several hundred abandoned buoys and other plastics were collected.
  • Removing vegetation from the Allan D. Cruickshank sanctuary sign, repainting the letters and re-installing it with new posts.
  • Clearing vegetation from overgrown Common and Roseate Tern habitat and installing outdoor carpet mats to serve as weed barriers, thus creating new habitat for these threatened seabirds. About 200 square meters of new habitat resulted.

The 32 participants donated more than 200 hours of work to help the Egg Rock seabirds. The equipment to cut the vegetation and purchase the weed barrier was provided by a grant from NAWCA (North American Wetland Conservation Act) administered by the U.S. Fish and wildlife Service and LL Bean.

When advance winds from Hurricane Igor made landings unsuitable at Egg Rock for the remainder of the week, the group happily turned their service inclinations to entering seabird data on Project Puffin computers, cutting invasive barberry shrubs and scraping and painting window trim on Hog Island buildings! In addition to the service projects, the group found time to visit many local birding hotspots and hear lectures on backyard landscaping for birds from Stephen Kress and bird migration from Scott Wiedensaul.