Hog Island Goes Solar

Bart and Virginia Cadbury had no way of knowing what their grandson, some 60 years later, would do for their beloved Hog Island. Benjamin Cadbury Wong, son of Peggy Cadbury and Ching Wong, knew he wanted to do something for Hog Island but what. Two years ago while volunteering at camp, he learned of our dream of being solar powered. He knew then how he could give and contribute to the wellbeing of the camp and planet.

Benjamin, a systems engineer with SunPower Corporation in California, put together a proposal and submitted it to his company. They donated at cost 92 solar panels and 72 micro inverters – the heart of the system. Dwayne Escola, systems design and engineer with Northeast Smart Energy LLC, donated his time and expertise. FOHI paid for shipping and materials. Eric Snyder, Hog Island Facilities Manager, was the linchpin in bringing the solar project to fruition. FOHI volunteers under the guidance of Benjamin, Dwayne, and Eric put it all together.

On September 24, 2016, the switch was turned on and the Hog Island Audubon Camp became solar powered. Two buildings – the Fish House and the Bridge – support solar panels that will provide 70-90% of the camp’s needs, including those of the mainland facility. Benjamin also provided a means whereby the daily energy production can be used as an educational online tool during camp and off-season. During the winter, energy produced will become electrical credits that can be used during the season. We expect the system to pay for itself within 2-3 years.

Twenty-nine FOHI volunteers excited at their part in the camp’s history donated  more than 1,000 hours – some came for a day just to be part of it. The roof team spent long hours in sun and drizzle – Ben, Dwayne, Eric, Adrian, Anthony, Pete, James, Phil; the rest of us were the ground team.

The Hog Island Audubon Camp’s solar system became reality through teamwork, passion, and love for Hog Island. Friendships were forged and mutual respect for every member of the team was the norm. With this kind of caring FOHI will continue to “make promises and keep them.” The camp has a bright future, indeed.

There is no doubt that the solar project is the star of FOHI’s closing week, but an update on some of the other projects will be posted later. Thank you all for your dedication and trust in the camp’s future.

Note: Bart Cadbury was Director of the Hog Island Camp, 1958-68. 

Here Comes 2016 and We’re Ready

Yes, it’s 2016 and we’re ready. Well almost.  Registration for the camp is going gangbusters and has two Family Camps this year. Likewise volunteers are signing up for their favorite sessions. FOHI has some new board members.  And, the camp celebrates its 80th anniversary, while FOHI in its current incarnation completed five successful years and kept its promises. Who would have thought way back in 2010 that 2016 would be a year of celebration!

Camp Programs

Once again, Steve Kress and his indefatigable team of camp directors have put together another knock-it-out-of-the-park season. Four sessions already have waiting lists, but there is room in other sessions.

Happy Family Campers
Happy Family Campers

Whatever you choose, you’ll have the experience of a lifetime. Cannot afford to attend? Then apply for a scholarship – deadline is January 15, 2016. Or, register soon and get the SNOWBIRD discount of $25.

It is worth checking out the line-up of instructors as well. You’ll be surprised at the breadth and depth of knowledge represented – all waiting for you to absorb and share with others when you return home!

FOHI Celebrates

FOHI has been fortunate to have a wellspring of loyal supporters since it received its 501(c)3 nonprofit status  in March 2011, retroactive to October 2010, when the application was filed.

FOHI Volunteers expressing how we feel!
FOHI Volunteers expressing how we feel!

They have remained resolute in their commitment to making the Hog Island Audubon Camp sustainable through financial and volunteer support. FOHI  in its current incarnation celebrates five years of keeping its promises, without fail. When you have a seeming unattainable climb to achieve, it serves to look back and see how far you have come;  you’ll be surprised; the summit is attainable!

Welcome Our New Board Members

Our new board members have graciously agreed to help us continue the climb. Nancy Dickinson, formerly at Cornell Lab of Ornithology  now dedicates her time volunteering at FOHI and Hog Island.  Charles Duncan is currently an instructor at Hog Island and shorebird expert with experience in conservation nonprofits. Anthony La Creta takes over as FOHI’s treasurer and has wide financial experience. Loree Niola, a former emergency services volunteer among other things is now a dedicated volunteer at Hog Island with many valuable skills.

With hellos, are goodbyes. Gaye Phillips, our outgoing Treasurer, has been a long-time supporter of the Hog Island Audubon Camp and retains a lot of historic knowledge. She signed up for the maiden voyage of the new FOHI and set up our finances and data keeping

Gaye Phillips
Gaye Phillips

She had  no idea whether we would sink or have fair winds. She only knew that she, too, shared and believed in FOHI’s mission to make the camp financially sustainable.

Her experience as an auditor was a perfect match. She has been one of the building blocks and we thank her for all her many late nights working on FOHI’s monthly statements. Thank you, Gaye. We couldn’t have done it without your dedication and perseverance. FOHI is an all-volunteer organization!

FOHI Volunteers

FOHI volunteers rock! Our volunteer team gets stronger and stronger each season, with many coming back for multiple weeks. We’ve also been lucky to have a number of new volunteers who have likewise been infused with Hog Island’s magic and will be back. Join the team that contributes to the ongoing success of the camp. Don’t wait. Sign-up. We laugh and work.

The Amazing Resilience of Hog Island

It’s early August, and it’s hard to believe that the Audubon Camp at Hog Island has already this year seen a steady stream of campers arrive – wondering what’s in store for them. Have they made the right decision to attend? At the end of their session, they bubble over with enthusiasm

Campers linger waiting until the last minute to get on the boat!
Campers linger waiting until the last minute to get on the boat!

and joy, resolving to return in any capacity they can. Some linger on the dock waiting for the very last boat to the mainland, hoping it won’t come. They know they made the right decision.

For the staff, volunteers, and instructors, they likewise are beaming, exhausted, but beaming. Yet again, they have managed to inspire and assure a meaningful and joyful learning experience for each camper.

So long, farewell . . .
So long, farewell . . .

Not only is camp registration at 94% this year but FOHI volunteer spots were at capacity early on with waiting lists for some sessions. The island works its magic and we all heed its call.

Some highlights

In June, the Joy of Birding session found Paul Winter 7-time Grammy award winner captivating campers. He will be back!

Two new sessions, Breaking into Birding and Hands-On Birding were big hits, so they’ll be included in the 2016 line up. Don’t miss out.

In July, despite the loss of Rachel and Steve’s chicks, Big and Little, to a Bald Eagle, Raptor Rapture campers saw an osprey chick from a neighboring island banded at the camp; then, on a field trip, they saw three juvenile Peregrine Falcons practice their flying skills, including locking talons and tumbling – quite a show stopper!

Rob holds newly banded Osprey chick - photo by Nancy Dickinson
Rob holds newly banded Osprey chick – photo by Nancy Dickinson
"A Woman of the World" reading in the Fish House - the story of Mabel Loomis Todd and Hog Island.
“A Woman of the World” reading in the Fish House – the story of Mabel Loomis Todd and Hog Island.

Speaking of show stopper, the second reading of A Woman of the World, a one-woman play about Mabel Loomis Todd and Hog Island was enjoyed by all at Arts of Birding and Raptor Rapture. Former camper Rebecca Gilman wrote the play. Watch for news of FOHI’s fundraising performance in 2016.

Every session at the camp has been packed with learning, good food, camaraderie, laughter, and wonderment. A few spaces still remain in Seabird Biology, September 6-11.

FOHIs keep on smiling

The Hummingbird Garden coming into bud

The FOHI touch of volunteers and donors is everywhere on the island from the rainbow of nodding flowers in the gardens and on the tables to art on the Fish House and Port Hole doors to new showers, new kitchen items, and more.

The most obvious is the gift of a pontoon to FOHI, which we then gave to Hog Island; Volunteers now enjoy a seat on their boat ride to and from the island – quite a treat! It also makes the transport of heavy items much easier.

Another gift often overlooked in the effervescence of the camp is FOHI’s annual donation of $50,000, which this year surprised Steve Kress when the FOHIs took the stage and asked him to join them. Lottie then handed him the check!

FOHI volunteers continue their gift of time and are the first on the island and the last to leave. They open and close it and keep it going throughout the season along with the dedicated staff.

Helen, Laura, Kathy, and Charlie aboard the pontoon!
Helen, Laura, Kathy, and Charlie aboard the pontoon!
FOHIs, Sally, Lottie, Emma, and Betsy, surprise Steve with the annual $50,000 check.

It’s not too late

Come join us as a camper or volunteer. You won’t regret it.

Join us for FOHI closing week, September  20-26, and help put the camp to bed, make some repairs, eat great food, enjoy autumn sunsets and best of all know that you’ll be part of the fabulous FOHI team that is helping the camp toward long-term success.

You, too, will leave with a big smile knowing that you will be back.



Camp registration for the 2016 sessions will open on October 15, 2015.

For volunteers, the FOHI sign-up form will be ready November 1!

Check out our Facebook page for more photos.

See you on the island . . .




Has anyone seen Spring?

Mother Nature keeps teasing us with hints of spring – longer days, warmer sun, birds singing, but she still has not shed her winter mantel. Snow still embraces the landscape here in Bremen and ponds and waterways are still frozen, although the ice is not quite as thick. It’s hard to believe that Hog Island was frozen in this winter as were the lobster boats. At least that ice has dissipated and we can now reach the island by boat. It had been 40 years since the bay water had frozen according to a local lobsterman.

Hog Island frozen in
Hog Island frozen in

The Hog Island spirit is alive and vibrant

Despite the long winter, registration for camp is at an all-time high of 86 percent with several sessions sold out. For many of us, this is sheer rhapsody. Spaces are still left in several of the sessions: Hands-On Birding with Scott Weidensaul, Breaking into Birding, with Pete Dunne, and Maine Seabird Biology. Sign up for some of the last remaining spots or put your name on a wait list for other sessions: www.hogisland.audubon.org

The same is true for the volunteer slots. We have a few left, so don’t hesitate, sign-up.

Paul Winter, seven-time Grammy award winner, will be at Joy of Birding, which is sold out, but check out the other talented instructors that will be at Hog island in 2015; their range of expertise and talent will surprise you.

Paul Winter
Paul Winter


Nature constantly changes yet remains the same, so it is with Hog Island. We  have some new staff this year.  Eva Matthews is our registrar (Jamie left to be with her new family); in the kitchen, Ryan Frazier is our chef and Cleo Bell our new assistant chef.


Seabird Sue Schubel  accepted an offer she couldn’t refuse: Assistant Seabird Island Manager; her first love is with the islands and the seabirds. We’ll miss her as FOHI Volunteer Coordinator, but Juanita Roushdy will strive to partially fill her shoes.

Seabird Sue holding a baby tern
Seabird Sue holding a baby tern

Sue will be back for the FOHI closing weeks when the birds have left their summer islands. The camp and island will still be as warm and welcoming as it has always been.

Rachel and Steve, the resident Hog Island ospreys are on their way back to the nest and will arrive any day now. Watch them  at www.explore.org and click on the Osprey photo. Maybe you’ll see them fly in!

FOHI’s much-awaited annual newsletter is now ready. In it you’ll find news about all that you accomplished in 2014 for the camp plus some fun photographs. FOHI has some projects for 2015 that we hope to complete including solar panels for the Bridge. FOHI volunteers rock!

Wish list

We love our workhorse scow but it is on its last legs! We need a 16ft Carolina Skiff or something similar- gently used is fine, too. We also need a 12 or 15 passenger van. Last but not least, for the kitchen, some Ciambro storage containers. Contact Juanita at president@fohi.org for details.

Don’t hesitate any longer to sign up as a camper or volunteer. See you soon!






Summer’s gone

Can it be that the Hog Island 2014 season is over and the 2015 sessions are already 40% full! That we’ve already had our first big snow! So much has happened.

Friends and More

We welcomed visits from old friends David Klinger and Victor Gabay and from new friends at National Audubon’s headquarters in New York – Susan Lunden,

David and Nina
David and Nina

Gary Langham, Mary Beth Henson, and Teresa Hall. Artists in residence at the Bingham Cottages, Rebecca Gilman, playwright, and Tom Schaefer, author, brought the promise of exciting projects to come in 2015: a new play about Mabel Loomis Todd and a new book about Hog Island.

Three successfully fledged and banded Ospreys thrilled campers at Raptor Rapture, as did the new resident Merlin pair and their three fledglings. The sight of the Small Reach Regatta, with its 47 traditional wooden boats and owners, charmed everyone during their week-long stay.  The Schooner Roseway and crew arrived to volunteer and accomplished a lot.  National Audubon held its first-ever Diversity Summit at the camp. The premiere of a spoof by Julie Seifert on Cinderella –  Guillerella -was performed at International Guillemot Day.

Oh, Those Numbers

We love numbers and the 2014 season makes us smile. A record 26 FOHIs opened the camp.

Pete, Jim, Pat, Kathy - the SWAT team
Pete, Jim, Pat, Kathy – the SWAT team

But before that a FOHI swat team of 4 arrived to work with Eric to make extra rooms and install new showers and toilets – Pete Snyder, Kathy Dodge, and Pat and Jim Sanborn. Volunteer slots for most sessions were full. Registration was at 90% capacity, up from 2013. The new Raptor Rapture program sold out and brought new raptor instructors: experts Rob Bierregaard and Yoshi Leshem (from Israel), who said they now understood what draws us to the island year after year – they, too, caught the Hog Island fever.

And What About Those Volunteers

They never disappoint. Ruth Woodall was our star volunteer, whipping us all into shape, and donating over 7 weeks. Ruth, you are an inspiration to us all.

Ruth arranging flowers
Ruth arranging flowers

Many were returning for the second, third, or fourth time – and are becoming “seasoned.”  Some shared their talents by giving a workshop – Jean McKay, Nina Stoyan-Rosenzweig, and Carolyn Zaino. Stephanie Herrick regraded many of the trails to the cabins by herself. Julie Seifert entered the Hog Island library books into LibraryThing, a social media site for book lovers!

One of our volunteers, Nancy Dickinson, became the star “Turnover Tornado.” She turned up every end-of-session day to help us make beds and clean for the next session. Thank you, Nancy. Joe Beaudette was everywhere helping then singing and playing guitar in the evening. Peggy and Betsy Cadbury came for FOHI opening week and then returned for the closing week; volunteers enjoyed their stories of their many years living at the camp with their father Bart Cadbury. Volunteers, Your Rock!

Watch out for our annual newsletter after the holidays. In it, we’ll list every one of our treasured volunteers. Also check out our Facebook page for more volunteer news. Volunteers are already signing up for 2015, so don’t hesitate sign up now for one or more weeks.

Our Campers

Last but not least are the wonderful campers who arrive often hesitant and end up smiling, laughing, and learning

Robert, Betsy, Peggy, Gaye, and Helen wave so long
Robert, Betsy, Peggy, Gaye, and Helen wave so long

far more than they expected and making new friends.  Somewhat cut off from the frantic pace of the mainland, they turned their eyes and mind toward nature and rediscovered a peace within themselves. Nature is the common bond. One camper expressed

“I never knew there could be so many nice people in one place.”

 And, Finally

Steve Kress and his team have exciting new sessions for 2015, including seven-time Grammy Award winner Paul Winter, together with Pete Dunne. Registration is at 40% so far, so check out the new sessions – you won’t be disappointed.

And . . .

Nightjar and its crew and captain set sail for southern climes – we wish them fair winds and following seas.

Exultation is the going
Of an inland soul to sea, —
Past the houses, past the headlands,
Into deep eternity!

Bred as we, among the mountains,
Can the sailor understand
The divine intoxication
Of the first league out from land?

Emily Dickinson