Monthly Archives: August 2018

Monarch Butterfly Tagging Program

Photo by Ashley Megquier

Friends of Sears Island will be hosting two free programs on monarch butterflies with Serena Cole. The first program will be held Friday, September 7th, from 1:00-3:00pm for adults. This program does not require advance registration and anyone interested in attending can gather at the island gate by 1:00pm. The second program will be held after-school on Monday, September 10th, from 4:00-5:30pm for children ages 6-12 and an accompanying adult. This program will be part of FOSI’s Science Squad program for youth, and requires advance registration at, as space is limited. UPDATE August 30: The Science Squad program for Children is now full. You may still submit a registration request to be placed on the waiting list.

During both programs, Cole will teach program attendees about monarch life cycles, habitat, migration patterns, and will lead the group on a hike to the milkweed field on Sears Island, a certified Monarch Waystation. At the field, participants will have the opportunity to look for butterflies and carefully net and assist with tagging them as part of the Monarch Watch program, which tracks the annual butterfly migration. FOSI is also looking for a few volunteers to continue tagging monarchs on Sears Island for several weeks during peak monarch migration. Those who attend one of these programs will be considered trained and can request sticker tags and a data sheet. Please note, tag quantities are limited and will be distributed on a first come, first served basis to willing volunteers.

Serena Cole 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. 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. Bring water, a snack, and insect repellent. Please no pets on guided walks. In the event of steady rain, the programs will be cancelled, but there is a rain date of September 12th for the Science Squad butterfly program for kids. For more information and updates, visit or To learn more about Monarch Watch, visit

Sears Island Clams: Biology, Ecology, and Management

Photo credit: Brian Beal

Join Friends of Sears Island for a program on clam biology, ecology, and management with Dr. Brian Beal on August 16th, from 9:30-11:30am on Sears Island. Participants can expect to learn about the basic biology of soft-shell clams, Mya arenaria, and their relationship to other organisms in the intertidal ecosystem of Sears Island. Searsport and Stockton Springs were once the clam capital of Maine. Learn about factors affecting clam populations, and why there are so few clams today in this region of the Maine coast. In addition, participants will learn how to fly clam shells (it’s fun and easy)!

Dr. Brian Beal is professor of marine ecology at the University of Maine at Machias, and Director of the Marine Science Field Station at the Downeast Institute on Great Wass Island in the town of Beals. He is an experimental marine biologist who studies the interactions of various intertidal species, most notably shellfish. Dr. Beal conducts applied marine research, the results of which can be used to help manage commercially important shellfish.