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 sschubel@audubon.org, 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!

Sessions

  • 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.

FOHI Service Week 2007 a Rousing Success

Not too hot, not too cold, not too damp, and not too dry: perfect weather for accomplishing all the tasks that lay before us during the Service Week of June 10-14, when the Friends of Hog Island (FOHI) volunteers gathered in greater numbers than ever before (28!) to get our work assignments from Director Seth Benz and Property Manager Sue Schubel.

Slide show by Art Bohrer

The magnitude of the projects was awe-inspiring, but with willing hands the work load was lightened, as we chipped away at the jobs until everything was finished. The heavy wind storm earlier this spring had caused significant damage, bringing down the huge spruce by the gazebo and littering the trails with debris. Eric Eichorn had his work cut out for him, hauling away wood and cutting out the enormous root system of the spruce.

Helen Walsh and Barb Tucker tackled the hummingbird garden under Tom Leckey’s professional supervision; Betsy Cadbury, Julie S., and Maddie L. planted Grace’s Garden; Naomi Halpert, Libby Hyatt, and Art Borror worked on the kitchen and Buchheister gardens, while Loretta Victor oversaw cleaning projects in all the buildings.

A whole work gang, including Bob Speelman, Roger Engle, and Art spent at least two days on the mainland, clearing brush and building a new shade garden below the visitors’ center, while another group made up of Beverly Engle, Marilyn Smith, Jill Mallios Speelman, Cindy Cooke, Blanche Townsend, Ellen Doubleday, and Yael Seligman cleaned both mainland and island stores and sorted T-shirts under the eagle eyes of Maine Audubon Store Manager Carroll Tiernan. And all participants were on deck in the form of a chain gang to haul the initial big food delivery to the island.

Ken Mandler and his daughter Catherine, Vic Gabay, and Sara Dinyari cleared trails back on the island, while David Doubleday, armed with an arsenal of his own personal tools, fixed everything he could find to fix, along with helpers Eric Eichorn and Mike Seifert. Mike also helped Jay scrape, prime, and paint trim on the bath house.

Art oversaw the installation of the tide gauge in 55-degree water, assisted by Betsy, Julie, and Maddie, who then went for a (short — very short!) dip off the dock: gotta toughen up those thin-blooded Florida gals!

Bob Halpert retreated to the kitchen to spell chef Janii, whence he emerged at timely moments armed with chicken curry and his signature strudel, now become a FOHI Service Week tradition.

None of this could have been accomplished without the able assistance and support of the terrific staff and Student Assistants: Heather, Andrea, Erin, Erics 1 and 2 (!), Sharon, Laura, Rebecca and Kory. We were a tough group, but they survived our teasing and are now sufficiently “broken in” to deal with the rest of the summer!

But all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and did we play! Art and Tom led early-morning birdwalks and tidal explorations, Heather and Art organized a song-fest, Tom Schaefer and Sue Schubel entertained us with slide shows, and we all enjoyed a cocktail party and lobster feast. And best of all, we got to be the first ones to ride on the new Puffin V! Twice! We had a special christening ceremony, with Seth breaking a bottle of champagne on the bow while Captain Anthony Liss muttered under his breath, “Don’t chip my paint — go for the anchor chain!”, followed by a sunset cruise, and then later in the week a trip out to Eastern Egg Rock to welcome the puffins back.

At a general FOHI meeting, co-chair Betsy Cadbury thanked everyone for all their hard work and dedication. She also thanked Seth and the staff for helping to make this year’s Service Week such a success and so much fun. She extended greetings from co-chair David Klinger, who was unable to join us, but whose quiet presence, wisdom, ideas, and advice were felt throughout the week.

Betsy thanked outgoing FOHI co-chair and Web publisher Jay Collier, whose expertise and generous involvement over the past few years led to the creation and growth of the http://www.fohi.org site and mailing list. Jay is stepping down from FOHI, and is looking for a new Web volunteer to take the site into the future. (Inquiries welcome!) Nevertheless, the current Web site will remain available as an archive of FOHI’s first five years. Yael Seligman has kindly offered to join David and Betsy as the third FOHI co-chair.

Art made a special presentation of Hog Island T-shirts to Julie, Maddie, and Cat Mandler, for their exceptional and energetic participation in all activities and their willingness and sense of humor at all times. Good to have such committed and caring young people carrying on the FOHI traditions!

Participants were offered an opportunity to sign up for a free session this summer in return for acting as FOHI representative. Seth, Betsy, and Yael will come up with a handbook of FOHI rep responsibilities and make it available later this summer.

We discussed plans and suggestions for next year, including maintaining the “sticky” board with its listing and prioritizing of tasks, getting in touch with former FOHI participants, and setting up a system of captains for various work details.

All in all, it was a most successful Service Week. Seth has made it clear that the energy, expertise and time that FOHI participants put into helping ready the camp for its opening session is invaluable to his staff and to Maine Audubon. And that message was reiterated by the five Maine Audubon Board members who showed up for a day to help us work, and whose encouragement was much appreciated by all. We hope to see everyone back again next summer!

Service Week in Review – 2007

Slide show by Art Bohrer

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at Hog Island before you arrive for your camp session? Well, this should give you an idea.

A group of dedicated alumni, members of the Friends of Hog Island (FOHI), to which all “graduating” program participants automatically belong, gathers a week before the first ornithology session to help the staff open the camp.

They have a very busy week: cleaning, scraping, painting, gardening, building, clearing and building trails, and putting in the tide gauge.

And of course there are the rewards: eating Janii’s gourmet feasts, greeting the visiting groups of American Birding Association members on their way out for a boat trip to see the puffins on Eastern Egg Rock, swimming off the dock with Ayla, a boat trip and birding with Art Borror, evening slide presentations for reminiscing in the new chairs in the Fish House, and even a gallery opening in the Bridge!

We just thought you might all like to hear more about your wonderful Island!

The Week in Review

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at Hog Island before you arrive for your camp session? Well, this should give you an idea.

A group of dedicated alumni, members of the Friends of Hog Island (FOHI) — to which all “graduating” program participants automatically belong — gathers a week before the first ornithology session to help the staff open the camp.

They have a very busy week: cleaning, scraping, painting, gardening, building, clearing and building trails, and putting in the tide gauge.

And of course there are the rewards: eating Janii’s gourmet feasts, greeting the visiting groups of American Birding Association members on their way out for a boat trip to see the puffins on Eastern Egg Rock, swimming off the dock with Ayla, a boat trip and birding with Art Borror, evening slide presentations for reminiscing in the new chairs in the Fish House, and even a gallery opening in the Bridge!

We just thought you might all like to hear more about your wonderful Island!