Posted on 09 July 2013
During our trip to Maine we were invited to spend the night at the Audubon Camp on Hog Island. The island lies about 1/4 of a mile from the shore, and after a quick skiff ride over we were introduced to quite an unusual and special place. Established in 1936, the camp has been hosting residential sessions led by naturalist all-stars like Kenn Kaufman and Roger Tory Peterson. We had arrived at the tail end of a session called "The Arts of Birding," and as we walked into a clearing surrounded by Wyeth-esque buildings we could see groups of people painting, taking photographs and huddled in groups writing songs.The air was filled with swooping birds and the cries of an Osprey pair that had built a huge nest on a pole just behind the main house.
Artistic Director Sue Schubel greeted us and made sure we put on Guillemot feet to celebrate International Guillemot Day.
Before dinner, we hiked into the interior of the island.
One of the empty cabins on the island contained this mural.
Dinner was a magnificent feast, fresh lobsters that had been caught just hours earlier from traps in the surrounding waters. Sue had placed laminated diagrams of the lobster on the tables, so we could learn what parts we were stuffing into our gobs. To our delight, she even gave an impromptu anatomy lesson.
Sue's skills seemed unlimited as she helped bring out one of the dessert courses she designed and helped create: "Cream Puffins".
At night we attended the end-of-camp program, an evening of singing, stories and art highlighted by the musical talents of Bill Thompson III, a blogger and editor at Birdwatchers Digest who ruled the proceedings with the ferver of a tent revival preacher. As the raucous gathering broke up and we made our way to the cabin as a soft rain started to fall, I could tell that the magic of Hog Island had taken root. A beautiful place populated with passionate people – we'll definitely be back.
To learn more about Project Puffin click here. For Hog Island and the programs held there, click here. My paintings will be hanging in the Project Puffin Visitor Center until October. Half the proceeds from the painting sales go to Project Puffin. You can learn more here.
Check out the Hog Island Osprey cam here!