BREMEN, Maine, March 2, 2006 — Scholarships are available for Audubon staff, interns and chapter members to attend residential sessions this summer at Hog Island Audubon Camp in Bremen.
Accessible only by boat, Hog Island Audubon Camp is located on a 330-acre coastal wildlife sanctuary in midcoast Maine. Since 1936, its summer sessions for adults, educators, young people and families have been led by some of the most respected naturalists and environmental educators in the nation.
“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.”
Campers awake to the sound of woodland bird and lobster boats and spend the day exploring the island’s spruce forests, fern-filled meadows, and rocky tide pools. Evenings feature presentations by special guests. Sessions include gourmet meals and lodging in rustic 19th-century buildings.
“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.”
Sessions in 2006 include a Hog Island Reunion for alumni to relax, reflect and reconnect with nature and old friends (July 24-26, $195) as well as an Audubon Leadership Workshop for Audubon chapter or center leaders to network with peers and learn how to raise funds, energize volunteers, incorporate Audubon initiatives and offer compelling nature programs (August 13-19, $700).
Hog Island Audubon Camp’s other 2006 offerings include:
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.
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.
Bird 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.
“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….”
Ever since my first summer at the Audubon Camp, I wondered if a sea kayaking session might someday be offered as a week-long session. Apparently, I was not the only one who was aware of the island’s sea kayaking potential because a few Camp Directors have toyed with the idea, but it wasn’t until this past summer that the first such session became a reality. Since the kayakers would be off-island most of the day, the island facilities would be available for an on-land session, so a Nature Photography session was offered at the same time. While the kayakers were busy paddling, the photographers had the island and its endless photo opportunities all to themselves.
There’s no better way to discover the Maine Coast than exploring it by kayak
The 1998 Nature Photography camp was led by professional photographer, and native Mainer, Mark Warner. Mark wanted to keep the numbers low so that each camper could have individual attention; thus, enrollment was limited to twelve. The course of study focused on everything from the basics of equipment care and selection to the technical aspects of using a camera in the field. The campers had a great time and Mark was a real addition to the staff.
The inaugural “Naturalizing by Sea Kayak” session had sixteen eager people sign up. Most were visiting Hog Island and trying out sea kayaks for the first time, while a few alumni were taking the course to reacquaint themselves with that Hog Island Magic we all know so well. We rented nineteen sea kayaks from a local outfitter and hired Muscongus Bay sea kayaking veteran Mark Digirolamo — a registered Maine guide and naturalist — to be our guide for the week. A few novice kayakers were anxious about what lay ahead of them and whether they would eventually get the hang of their sea kayak. Fortunately, Mark’s steady encouragement, teaching, and years of experience soon quieted their nerves.
On our first full day, I led a half-day Map and Compass class for half of the group and Mark led the required kayak introduction and safety class for the other half of the group. Mark’s session covered paddling techniques, wet exits, self and assisted rescues, nautical chart reading, tide awareness, and other essential kayaking skills. By day’s end, even the more apprehensive beginners were feeling so confident that after dinner we took a short paddle as a group. The next day began cool, and threatening rain as we headed south to Loud’s Island in groups of two for safety. Because of an approaching thunderstorm we sat on the sandy Loud’s beach in our rain gear, ate lunch, continued conversations, and were given a impromptu natural history lesson on life of the exposed intertidal zone led by Bonnie Bochan. In spite of the storm, the first full day of exploring went well and all were excited about the rest of the week.
At midweek the campers had a day off and took a long, pleasant boat ride aboard the PUFFIN IV to Monhegan Island. The day was spent exploring the many trails, sunning on high cliffs, and generally taking in the feel of a fabled island, supported and shared by tourists and lobstermen. On several occasions during the week we came across seals hauled-out on islands, sleeping and sunning themselves. We had opportunities to have close encounters with seas at high tide when the seals were generally in the water. While paddling we often had curious seals swimming near and sometimes startling us when they surfaced so close you could almost touch them with the kayak blade.
Our last day was an all-day paddle up Muscongus Bay and further up the Medomak River channel. That evening we offered a final paddle and a few of us were lucky enough to see the climbing pillars of hazy white light that could only be the ethereal and mysterious northern lights. There are moments when I think back on that week and the vision of the seals cavorting and splashing around us is both hazy and clear …. like a dream.
We’ll remember gazing at the intertidal zone waving rockweed and kelp; patterns of color and texture; taking breaks on sun-warmed rocks; talking about how beautiful the Maine coast is; good people; good food; night paddles; Hog Island each night; and the eerie glow of phosphoresence in the water, eye level with the eiders and seals