An open letter to National Audubon

Juanita Roushdy is the president of the Friends of Hog Island. David Yarnold is president and CEO of National Audubon.

Dear David,

Since my last e-mail to you on September 10, 2010, many things have happened regarding Hog Island in Maine.  I personally still have faith in National Audubon that it will [intlink id=”3157″ type=”post”]defer it’s decision[/intlink] to [intlink id=”3150″ type=”post”]transfer ownership[/intlink] to Camp Kieve for at least 2 years. Doing so will give the [intlink id=”1322″ type=”page”]Friends of Hog Island[/intlink] and the [intlink id=”2694″ type=”post”]new programming[/intlink] under Project Puffin and Steve Kress time to prove that  Hog Island can truly be financially successful with the right mix — management, volunteers, programs.

The program model in 2010 was in the black, and, because of high ratings, high early response, and teacher programs, [intlink id=”3104″ type=”post”]2011[/intlink] is promising to be even more financially successful. The new partnership formed with Camp Kieve could continue without leasing or turning over ownership. The new partnership with Road Scholar is proving successful and providing another demographic .

Since September 10, 2010, the Friends of Hog Island has incorporated, filed for 501(c)(3) status, adopted [intlink id=”3141″ type=”page”]by-laws[/intlink], [intlink id=”3136″ type=”page”]formed a board[/intlink] with such members as Kenn Kaufman, Walt Pomeroy, and Scott Weidensaul, and revamped its [intlink id=”2843″ type=”page”]website[/intlink]. It has in hand, without asking, donations in the five figures; it has a fundraising package ready to be mailed; and is working on a fundraising plan for the 75th anniversary and beyond, including an endowment. It is reconnecting and building its volunteer base; and most important, it has located missing camper lists for the past 20 years and is currently putting that information into electronic format — another 5,000 plus names.

The Friends of Hog Island believes in openness and transparency and to that end has kept its [intlink id=”12″ type=”category”]website updated[/intlink] with any discussion about Hog Island. Please browse through it to learn about the board, the [intlink id=”1126″ type=”post”]history[/intlink], and past campers’ [intlink id=”1121″ type=”page”]unsolicited testimonies[/intlink].

There is a large grass-roots support for the Audubon Camp at Hog Island. Grass-roots support is what National Audubon was built on. It was the reason that Toyota chose, out of all the excellent conservation groups, Audubon for its Together Green program. None had as broad-based grass-roots support as Audubon.

I would be happy to come to New York and meet with you at your convenience.

Sincerely,

Juanita

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

There’s always a rainbow at Hog Island

Juanita helps clear debris from Eastern Egg Rock during September service session

Do you remember being at Audubon camp on Hog Island for the first time and hearing a strange word dropped into conversations and introductions – “fowee” “fohigh”. What did it mean? At the end of the session, you realized it was one of those delightful acronyms, which have become part of our lexicon, meaning Friends of Hog Island (FOHI).

Do you remember, too, how when you left you were eager to continue receiving news about an island that held special meaning and made you smile when you thought about it?

Well, we have good news! Friends of Hog Island formally formed in 1998 will shortly become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit group. You will be able to support your beloved island and buildings directly. Friends once again have heeded the call to assure Hog Island’s future.

The recent Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) service program at Hog and the subsequent FOHI workweek to close up the camp produced fertile discussion and positive actions. Concerned over the closing of the camp in 2009 owing to lack of funds, the participants and FOHI sought positive solutions and came up with reconstituting FOHI as a 501(c)(3) with the goal of providing an annual supplementary income stream for the camp.

A board is currently being formed with Juanita Roushdy, a FOHI who moved from North Carolina to just up the road from Hog Island, as President; Kenn Kaufman, noted author and Hog Island instructor, Scott Weidensaul, Hog Island instructor, nature writer, and dedicated FOHI; Steve Kress, Director of Project Puffin and the person responsible for the cost-covering programs this year; David Klinger, a former president of FOHI and long-time friend of Hog; Gaye Phillips, another dedicated and long-time FOHI who comes each year from Dallas Texas with her husband, Robert, for the FOHI work weeks.

Now that’s good news! So, here is some more.

Where do FOHI’s get their energy? This is a question asked by many. September 19-24 was the first-ever FOHI workweek to close up the camp, and energy surged.

In 5 days, 16 FOHIs stripped beds, washed linens; vacuumed and swept all buildings; put away furniture; scraped and painted outdoor trim; glazed windows; primed and painted the new rooms in the Crow’s Nest; removed screens on all buildings; put up winter shutters; and completed a myriad other winterizing tasks., including kitchen duties.

But perhaps the most gratifying and most demanding task was removing and cutting up a gargantuan pile of lobster traps and other marine debris from Eastern Egg Rock. Sally Sanderson, a FOHI volunteer, upon seeing the pile on the rocks thought to herself, “there’s no way we’re going to be able to remove all of that in one trip.” Three hours later, 7 FOHIs and Eric and Sue’s Herculean efforts in rowing the trash-laden dory back and forth had cleared the island and left it once again ready for next year’s nesting.

Although we didn’t see a rainbow during the workweek, the good humor and beaming smiles made up for it.

Keep an eye out for more news of FOHI as it moves forward and be part of this wonderful energy that the Audubon Camp at Hog Island nurtures.

Juanita is a full-time resident of Bremen, ME and lives just up the road from Hog Island. She is currently on the board of Audubon North Carolina and founded and was president of the Cape Fear Audubon Society in Wilmington, NC. During her professional career she was Senior Editor and later Director of Community Relations at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C. She’s an active volunteer, birder, and conservationist.

Report on the FOHI Festival

It has been said by those who were there, that the Audubon Camp on Hog Island was like a family in the early years, with Carl and Susie Buchheister, Allan and Helen Cruickshank, Don and Elizabeth Borror, Joe and Lu Cadbury, Bart and Ginny Cadbury, Farida Wiley, and Margaret Wall. There was a special camaraderie that developed among the staff as they returned year after year, devoted to each other and to the environmental education cause they served. Continue reading