Illustrations from the book. Courtesy of Bruce Hutchison

SCARBOROUGH — Local resident Andrew Fersch and Cape Elizabeth resident Bruce Hutchison have written a children’s book, “The Piping Plover,” about the endangered piping plovers that live at Higgins Beach in Scarborough. Fifty percent of the profit will be donated to Maine Audubon’s Piping Plover Recovery Project.

“Piping plovers are one of Maine’s endangered species. These small, sand-colored shorebirds arrive on Maine’s beaches every summer to nest and bring the next generation of plovers into the world,” said Fersch. “However, with increasingly limited habitat due to development and human-caused disturbances, these little birds are increasingly vulnerable and their numbers are shrinking. Some beaches have seen their numbers increase more than Scarborough and so we wanted to create something to try to help people understand the situation and care for these amazing birds at a place we all love, Higgins Beach.”

Fersch, a local writer and educator, has written the book. Fersch is a former South Portland resident and served on the Conservation Commission and as chair of the Open Space Committee. Hutchison, a well-known artist who lives and works out of Cape Elizabeth, has illustrated the piece. Fersch and Hutchison are publishing the book themselves. They have been working on the project for almost two years.

The story is about a young girl who finds and takes of care of the piping plovers, and then educates her community about making the beach a safe place for both birds and humans.

“I modeled the main character after my daughter as our family goes to Higgins very regularly, and she is always curious about the birds she sees,” Fersch explained. “We teamed up to create this children’s book because the piping plover is an amazing creature, and one that needs all our help.”

With Fersch’s writing, Hutchison began illustrating the piece.


“I was immediately hooked by Andrew’s text,” Hutchison said. “The setting, Higgins Beach, is one that I’m very familiar with and fond of. As for creating illustrations to accompany the text, it was great working with Andrew. We discussed possible options for each page and every time came to a consensus on composition and subject matter. I would then compose a pencil sketch for Andrew’s approval. Upon approval, which went very smoothly, I would begin rendering the final artwork with my traditional tools, pen and ink on scratch board and watercolors. Bringing the story to life visually was one of the most satisfying projects I have ever been a part of in my 42 years as an illustrator.”

Fersch and Hutchison hope that the book will inspire readers to care about piping plovers and act on their behalf.

“I believe Bruce and I have a shared hope, which is that people will first become more aware of the situation, and then will be inspired to act to protect this place we all love,” Fersch said. “Not everything we consume inspires us to direct action, but we get to choose what we consume, and we’re hopeful that what we’ve created is inspiring enough to get people who otherwise might not act on this to act on it.”

The book will be high quality in a cloth hardcover, with full dust jackets and measure 8 inches by 10 inches.

Hutchison said that his hope is “that this story will serve as an inspiration for young and old to become involved in a cause they believe in and to work together towards a common goal and a brighter tomorrow.”

To support the project, visit the Kickstarter page at

To learn more about the Maine Audubon’s Piping Plover Recovery Project, visit

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