Category Archives: FOSI News

Winter Ecology Walk

Sears Island in Winter. Photo by Ashley Megquire

Friends of Sears Island will host a winter ecology walk on Saturday, March 17th from 10am-noon. Enjoy a late winter walk on Sears Island with Maine Master Naturalist Cyrene Slegona, while searching for animal tracks in the snow, signs of spring, and observing the ever-changing beauty of the island.

This event is free and open to the public. Sears Island is on Sears Island Road off Route 1 just east of Searsport. Participants should park along the causeway at the end of the road and meet at the island gate by 10am. Snowshoes and walking sticks are encouraged but not necessary. Please wear footwear and outdoor gear appropriate for winter hiking. Bring binoculars if desired, as well as water and a snack. Please no pets on guided walks. In the event of inclement weather, this event will be cancelled. For updates and cancellation notifications visit www.friendsofsearsisland.org or facebook.com/friendsofsearsisland, or call 207-975-3878.

 

A History of Air Pollution in Maine

 

 

Processing a sediment core from Upper Hadlock Pond, Acadia National Park. Photo courtesy of Steve Norton

Friends of Sears Island will host a presentation on the history of air pollution in Maine by Dr. Stephen Norton, at the Belfast Free Library on March 7th, at 6:30pm. Humans have only been able to accurately characterize the chemical climate of Earth for about 50 years. To study pollution prior to the 1950s, scientists study the archives of pollution that are stored in soils, tree cores, museum collections of vegetation, ice cores from high elevation and/or high latitude, lake sediments, and peat accumulations in bogs. The evening presentation will focus on what soil surveys, lake and peat sediments can reveal, and if time allows, a few comments on the other archives.

Steve Norton is a Professor Emeritus in the School of Earth and Climate Sciences at the University of Maine. He graduated from Princeton and Harvard University, earning his PhD in 1967. He joined the Department of Geology faculty at the University of Maine in 1968 where he taught and did research until his retirement in 2008. His research is in the field of aquatic geochemistry.

This program is free and open to the public. To learn more about Friends of Sears Island check out www.friendsofsearsisland.org. For program updates in the event of inclement weather, visit www.facebook.com/friendsofsearsisland or call 207-975-3878.

Kids Winter Survival February Break Program on Sears Island

This program is now full!
If you would like to be put on a waiting list, please click to complete a registration form. You will be notified if space opens up.

Have you ever wondered how animals and plants survive the harsh Maine winter? On February 20th from 1:00-3:00pm Friends of Sears Island will host a free winter survival program led by Serena Cole. Serena has been a biology and environmental educator for 30 years. She has led student science groups to Costa Rica, and been involved with citizen science projects at Schoodic Point Educational Research Center. Families will explore the winter woods on Sears Island while learning about plant and animal adaptations to cold climates, as well as outdoor winter survival strategies for humans. At the end of the program kids will have a chance to build a simple shelter to protect against the elements. This program is designed for kids ages 6-12 with an accompanying adult. To participate, please click here to register online.

This event is part of Friends of Sears Island’s “Science Squad,” a place-based after-school program involving children as scientists, explorers, and stewards of their environment. Science Squad is made possible by a grant from the Davis Conservation Foundation. Sears Island is on Sears Island Road off Route 1 just east of Searsport. Registered participants should park along the causeway at the end of the road and meet at the island gate by 1pm. Please wear footwear and outdoor gear appropriate for winter hiking and bring water and a snack. Please no pets at public programs.  In the event of inclement weather, program participants will be notified that the program is cancelled, with a back-up date of Feb. 22nd, 1-3pm. For more information, visit www.friendsofsearsisland.org, facebook.com/friendsofsearsisland or call Aleta at 855-884-2284.

The Rusty Patched Bumble Bee

Photo credit: Dan Mullen

Learn about Maine’s newest
endangered species

Dr. Mark McCollough, endangered species biologist with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will speak on “The Rusty Patched Bumble Bee, Maine Newest Endangered Species” at the Belfast Free Library on February 6th, at 6:30pm. This program is free and open to the public.

The rusty patched bumble bee was added to the Federal Endangered Species List in March 2017. It was once one of Maine’s most abundant and widespread bumble bees, but has disappeared from much of its range. It was last seen in the mid-coast region of Penobscot Bay and may still exist here. Why are the rusty patched bumble bee, yellow-banded bumble bee, and many other pollinator species declining? What can you do to help? Would you like to help search for bumble bees this summer? Mark will discuss the fascinating ecology of this bumble bee and explain several programs that Federal and State agencies are initiating to help pollinator species in the state.

Dr. McCollough has been an endangered species biologist for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the last 15 years. Before that he worked for Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and was leader of the Nongame and Endangered wildlife programs. Mark works on everything from bumble bees to Canada lynx to the elusive Furbish’s lousewort.  Some may know that Mark is also a wildlife artist.  You may own a piece of his art and not know it (Maine’s chickadee and loon automobile license plates as well as Maine’s latest endangered species poster).

The Belfast Free Library and Friends of Sears Island are co-sponsoring this event in cooperation with the Waldo County Soil and Water Conservation District. For more information about the Belfast Free Library, visit www.belfastlibrary.org. To learn more about Friends of Sears Island check out www.friendsofsearsisland.org. Information on the Waldo County Soil and Water Conservation District can be found at: www.waldocountysoilandwater.org. For program updates in the event of inclement weather, visit www.facebook.com/friendsofsearsisland or call 207-975-3878.

“Science Squad,” an After-School Program for Children Ages 6-12

Children search for butterflies in the milkweed field on Sears Island during a monarch butterfly tagging program last fall. (Photo by Ashley Megquier)

Friends of Sears Island (FOSI) recently received a generous grant from the Davis Conservation Foundation to create “Science Squad,” a place-based after-school program involving children as citizen scientists. In the coming year, FOSI will host an after-school program once a month for 12 students and their parents, during each month that school is in session. This program will engage children throughout the seasons as explorers, researchers, and stewards of their local environment. They will also contribute valuable data to a variety of citizen science projects, including FOSI’s database of island biodiversity.

The program kicked off February 6th, at the Belfast Free Library, with a program titled “Alien Invaders,” led by Aleta McKeage of the Waldo County Soil and Water Conservation District. Children learned to identify invasive insects and participate in games and activities to learn about these pests. Our February 20th Winter Break program is full, but you may complete a registration form if you would like to place your child’s name on a waiting list.

Future programs will be announced via our email list, and also on the website. If you would like to be added to our email list, please complete our contact form. Programs have filled up quickly, so be sure to sign up promptly!

The Davis Conservation Foundation has provided considerable support to Friends of Sears Island over the years for conservation and education projects. For more information visit: http://www.davisfoundations.org/dcf/.  To learn more about Friends of Sears Island and our upcoming programs, visit www.friendsofsearsisland.org, www.facebook.com/friendsofsearsisland, or email outreach@friendsofsearsisland.org.

Annual Meeting, Tuesday January 9

Click image to download our 2017 Annual Report.

All Are Welcome!

Friends of Sears Island (FOSI) will hold its annual meeting on Tuesday, January 9, from 1:30-3:30 pm, in Union Hall on the second floor of the Searsport Town Office, 1 Union Street in Searsport. The meeting is open to the general public. Light refreshments will be served.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for anyone to learn more about our organization, and to become more involved,” according to board president Susan White. “At our annual meeting, we’ll take a look back at activities over the last year, and also a look ahead at opportunities and challenges in 2018. We are always looking for new members and new ideas to help fulfill our mission.”

The agenda for the annual meeting will include voting on a slate of board members and officers, the treasurer’s report on 2017 and the budget for 2018. Outreach coordinator Ashley Megquier will present highlights from the last year, and an overview of several programs in the works for the coming year. Following the annual meeting, the regular monthly business meeting will be held, with everyone invited to remain and participate.

Solstice by the Sea: A Celebration of Light

Thursday, December 21, 6-7pm

Community members are invited to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season by sharing in a winter solstice celebration of light on Sears Island. Friends of Sears Island will host the event on December 21st, from 6-7pm. Attendees will enjoy a quiet walk along a path lit with hundreds of luminarias, which will culminate with music, readings, cocoa, and cookies on the beach. This non-denominational event is free and open to all.

Sears Island is located at the end of Sears Island Road off Route 1, just east of Searsport. Participants can park along the causeway at the end of the road, and gather at the island gate just beyond the parking area by 6pm. Dress warmly and and wear footwear appropriate for walking in snow and on the beach, and bring a flashlight or homemade lantern that uses a battery operated light. No flames or pets will be permitted. In the event of inclement weather, this event will be cancelled. For updates, check www.friendsofsearsisland.org, www.facebook.com/friendsofsearsisland, or email outreach@friendsofsearsisland.org.