Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Return to Hog Island!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The famous Hog Island Audubon Camp in Maine is back in full swing this summer with a tasty menu of sessions for nature enthusiasts of all ages and interests. Julie Zickefoose and I will be instructors during the "Joy of Birding" week June 24 to 29. You can find out some details here.

If you look at an atlas of the state of Maine, you'll note that there are numerous islands named Hog. One can only presume that these islands were so-named because that's where early residents of Maine kept their swine—presumably safe from predators and, being on an island, naturally prevented from roaming. But there's only one Hog Island with an impressive history of nature study and education—that's the one in Muscongus Bay, Maine—and that's the one we're heading back to in June. Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank are among the island's legendary instructors, dating back to the camp's founding in 1936.

Among this coming season's well-known instructors are Scott Weidensaul, Sara Morris, Pete Dunne, Lang Elliott, Donald Kroodsma, Sue Schubel, and Steve Kress who is the camp's director and is best known for Project Puffin, which helped to restore breeding populations of the Atlantic puffin (and other endangered seabird species) to islands off the New England coast.

I've written about Hog Island numerous times here at Bill of the Birds, including this post about visiting nearby Harbor Island, and this one about the last time we were instructors there.

The Hog Island experience is a unique one. The island is magically beautiful and just large enough that you can take a long hike around its perimeter and feel you are leaving the modern world behind. The sessions are informative and fun and the birding is really great, especially if you don't often get to see species that are common to the northern woods or to the northeastern Atlantic coast.

Every day is a new adventure. The food is great. The accommodations are rustic but comfy. And the air is clean and cool. We love going to Hog Island even more because our kids, Phoebe and Liam, get to come along. They play all day along the rocky shores and in the dark, mystical woods surrounding the camp, building cairns and imagining there are woodland sprites playing tricks there and pirates coming ashore to bury their loot. Like I said, Hog Island is magic.

Write it down, friends: Joy of Birding, June 24 to 29, 2012! Hope to see you there!


On December 13, 2011 at 3:52 PM Erica said...

A note from your friendly Hog Island Registrar here...

About 1/2 the spots in this session are already sold, so if you are considering making Hog Island part of your summer, now is the time to reserve your place! Also there are earlybird discounts for registrations received by Dec 15 ($50 off) and Jan 15th ($25 off).

See the website for all program listings.

Hope to see you next year on the island!

607-257-7308 x14

On December 14, 2011 at 3:27 PM trump said...
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On December 14, 2011 at 10:33 PM Chatterbirds said...

Nice to see that this camp for young birders will be happening again. It does indeed sound magical.

On December 15, 2011 at 11:22 AM Gillian Olson said...

Beautiful pictures, love the puffin.

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On December 31, 2011 at 6:48 PM birdchaser said...

I miss Hog Island! Lucky enough to help with 6 sessions up there. Hope to get back someday. Kids keep asking when we're going back.