August 10, 2012

Hog Island Camp: The rebirth comes to life

A unified effort between various groups is taking a camp steeped with history and making it a valuable spot to join with nature again.

By Deirdre Fleming
Staff Writer

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Hog Island Camp, a famous Audubon classroom site on the mid-Maine coast, is rebuilding its Audubon programs with the help of volunteers. Instructor Ryan Pelletier shows a group of young campers that sand fleas found in the sea grasses actually can be edible.

Photos by John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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Anna Schiff, 10, smells a piece of sweet fern bush while exploring Hog Island Camp with her fellow campers.

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This summer, Kieve-Wavus brings 1,000 campers through six week-long programs, in which a day or two are spent on Hog Island; and the Hog Island Audubon programs started again by Kress in 2010 are up to nine weeks this year.

Today, the future of the camp that dates to 1936 remains uncertain. But as several supporters gathered during a youth camp session early last week, the united effort wasn't in question.

"Hog will thrive due to an ongoing collaboration with several partners sharing in the effort and reward," Kennedy said.

As Salmansohn wandered through the camp's newest building -- the 1938 "Fish House" -- where lectures, square dances and camp meetings take place, he was optimistic.

He pointed to the photos of past National Audubon directors, as well as Rachel Carson and the wealthy Todd family. The island's history is steep, Salmansohn said, impossible to sum up in a morning. But he sensed a positive new chapter had begun and it would tell a new story.

"The history here goes back to the 1800s. The summer it closed was a sad, sad summer. But we started with four (Audubon) programs in 2010 and are up to nine this year. It's working," he said.

Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at:

Twitter: Flemingpph


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Additional Photos

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Sandy Buck, who sits on the board of trustees for Maine Audubon, said Hog Island Camp had to close for a year for financial reasons, but is lovingly being brought back.

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Hog Island Camp began in 1936 as an Audubon nature camp and features a number of buildings, including “The Bridge,” which includes the kitchen and dining room for campers.


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