All posts by Rolf Olsen

Solstice by the Sea: A summer celebration!

Last year’s Children’s Procession!

Join Friends of Sears Island as we celebrate the longest day of the year, Friday, June 21, from 6:00pm to 8:30pm on Sears Island! This is an event for the whole family. Bring a picnic, or hamburgers, veggie burgers, and hot dogs from the Searsport Lions Club and ice cream from Stone Fox Farm Creamery will be available for purchase. There will be live fiddle music for a portion of the evening and readings that celebrate solstice traditions, as well as sidewalk chalk fun and a sun-themed processional to welcome the official start of summer. All are invited to wear flower crowns, to dress as faeries and elves, or otherwise adorn themselves in a way that expresses the enchantment of a magical midsummer’s eve on the Maine coast! This event is free and open to all, with a suggested donation of $5 per person or $10 per family to support Friends of Sears Island’s education and conservation efforts.
Please bring blankets or lawn chairs for your comfort, as there are no picnic tables. No grills or open fires are permitted on Sears Island. Please leave your pets at home and be prepared to carry out what you carry in. Porta-potties will be available near the island gate. Parking will be along the causeway; please park along the guardrail facing south. In the event of poor weather, please check our Facebook page (facebook.com/friendsofsearsisland) to learn if the event is cancelled.
Sears Island is located at the end of Sears Island Road, off Route 1, just east of Searsport village. For more information, call 207-975-3878 or email Outreach@friendsofsearsisland.org.

Harborwalk Dinner to Support FOSI

Friends of Sears Island invites you to join us for a fundraising dinner at Harborwalk Restaurant in Belfast, Wednesday, May 22nd, from 4:00pm-8:00pm. Enjoy a delicious meal, and Harborwalk will graciously donate 10% of your tab to Friends of Sears Island to support conservation and education programs. This is a great opportunity to support a local business and a local nonprofit!

Harborwalk Restaurant is located at 37 Front Street in Belfast. A menu and more information about the restaurant can be found at http://www.frontstreetpub.com/,  and reservations can be made by calling 207-338-0488.

Science Squad: Vernal Pool Exploration for Kids

Friends of Sears Island will host a vernal pool exploration for kids on Monday, May 20, from 4:00-5:30pm. Aquatic biologist John Tipping of Lotic Inc. will assist children in finding and identifying creatures living in the vernal pool. Program participants will also collect data on their findings, which will be recorded in the Sears Island database of biodiversity.

This program is for kids ages 6-12 with an accompanying adult. To sign-up, please CLICK HERE. 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

Sears Island is located 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 4:00pm. Please wear footwear and clothing that can get wet and bring water and a snack. No pets are permitted at public programs. In the event of inclement weather, program participants will be notified that the program is cancelled. For more information, call 207-975-3878.

Photo caption:  Children explore a vernal pool with John Tipping on Sears Island.

Avian Haven Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center

Friends of Sears Island and the Belfast Free Library will co-host a presentation titled “Lessons from Avian Haven Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center: A Citizen’s Guide to Helping the Birds of Maine,” with Laura Suomi-Lecker, on May 7th at 6:30pm at the Belfast Free Library. Laura will discuss common reasons why birds are admitted to Avian Haven Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center in Freedom and what public citizens can do to help our local birds.  Recent cases of Avian Haven will be highlighted, including injured eagles, owls, hawks, loons, and many species of songbirds.

Laura Suomi-Lecker is the education and outreach coordinator and long-time volunteer with Avian Haven and also the Technical Director at Somerset County Soil and Water Conservation District where she does a variety of bird-related programs. For more information on Avian Haven, visit https://www.avianhaven.org/.

This event will take place in the Abbott Room at the Belfast Free Library and is free and open to the public. For more information, please call the library at 207-338-3884, ext.10. To learn more about Friends of Sears Island visit www.friendsofsearsisland.org.

Photo caption: This barred owl is a recent intake at Avian Haven. This owl from Pittston arrived on December 7, with a broken tibiotarsus that was surgically pinned by Dr. Neville. All pins have since been removed and owl is flying and eating well.

Photo credit:  Courtesy of Avian Haven

Earth Day Program for Kids

Sears Island Western Shore

Sorry, the program is now full! If you’d like to be on the waiting list, please complete the registration form and we will contact you if space becomes available.

Friends of Sears Island will host a stewardship-themed program for children in celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd, from 4:00-5:30pm on Sears Island. Through hands-on activities and games, participating kids will learn what it means to be a steward of the environment and leave with ideas about actions they can take in their everyday lives to help the earth. Samantha Langlois will also share about the Plastic Challenge happening in our community this month, and the program will culminate in a beach clean-up. This free program is for children ages 6-12 accompanied by an adult. To participate, advance registration is required as space and materials are limited. Please register at: https://friendsofsearsisland.org/registration-april-22-2019/.

This event is part of Friends of Sears Island’s “Science Squad,” an after-school program involving children as scientists, explorers, and stewards of their environment. Sears Island is located 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 4:00pm. No pets are permitted at public programs. In the event of inclement weather, this program will have a rain date of April 24th.

“Searching for Spring” Phenology Program

Forsythia, an early spring bloomer. Photo credit: Marc Ryckaert

Friends of Sears Island will host a presentation titled “Searching for Spring: An Overview of Phenology Research and Citizen Science Initiatives in Maine” by Elisabeth Maxwell on Wednesday, April 10th at 6:30pm at the Belfast Free Library. Phenology is the study of seasonal changes in plants and animals. Without even realizing it, we all observe phenology events that occur around us: the first snow fall, bird migrations, leaves changing color, flowering of our favorite plants, and so much more! This presentation will introduce what phenology is, how it is observed, and describe some of the current research efforts taking place around the state. Elisabeth Maxwell is a co-coordinator for Signs of the Seasons, a citizen science monitoring program that trains and supports participants of all ages throughout New England in recording phenology. Using their backyards as laboratories, participants in the Signs of the Seasons program help scientists document the local effects of global climate change.

This event will take place in the Abbott Room at the Belfast Free Library and is free and open to the public. For more information and to learn more about Friends of Sears Island visit www.friendsofsearsisland.org or www.facebook.com/friendsofsearsisland. To learn more about the Signs of the Seasons Program, visit https://extension.umaine.edu/signs-of-the-seasons/.

Track and Sign Exploration for Youth on Sears Island

Sorry, the program is now full! If you’d like to be on the waiting list, please complete the registration form and we will contact you if space becomes available.

Join Friends of Sears Island for a Track and Sign Exploration program for children on Wednesday, March 27th from 4:00-5:30pm. This free program will be led by Caitlin Horigan on Sears Island. Letting our curiosity lead us, we’ll explore what tracks and animal signs we come upon together. We’ll learn about what animals live in this ecosystem and their behaviors during this time of year. This program will likely involve some off-trail walking and standing, so please wear snowshoes or tall boots if you have them and dress for the weather!

This program is for kids ages 6-12 with an accompanying adult, and advance registration is required as space is limited. To sign-up, please CLICK HERE. This event is part of Friends of Sears Island’s “Science Squad,” an after-school program involving children as scientists, explorers, and stewards of their environment.

Caitlin Horigan has been mentoring youth in a wide variety of settings and various countries for over 18 years. Currently, she is facilitating nature connection activities in public schools and after-school programs in mid-coast Maine. Her introduction to tracking, bird language, plant medicine, shelter building, scout skills and off grid living began when she worked for the Maine Primitive Skills School. Caitlin is a Wilderness First Responder and is pursuing a Recreational Maine Guide license.

Sears Island is located 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 4:00pm. No pets are permitted at public programs. In the event of inclement weather, program participants will be notified that the program is cancelled. For more information, visit www.friendsofsearsisland.org, facebook.com/friendsofsearsisland or call 207-975-3878.

Photo caption: Children exploring the winter woods.

Photo credit: Caitlin Horigan

Wildlife Track and Sign Talk with Sandra Mitchell

DUE TO TODAY’S SNOW, RESCHEDULED TO TUESDAY, MARCH 5th AT 6:30PM!

Friends of Sears Island and the Belfast Free Library will co-sponsor a presentation titled “Learning to Read Tracks, and Using Them to Enter the Secret Lives of Wild Animals” by Sandra Mitchell on Monday, March 4th at 6:30pm at the Belfast Free Library. Sandra will discuss most of the major species of wildlife people can expect to see in their yards and the woods of Maine. This includes not only tracks, but the signs associated with animals and their travels, such as browse, scat, dens, burrows, nests, and more. This promises to be a great introduction to what the beginning naturalist should know about the critters in their environment! Sandra Mitchell is a Registered Maine Guide and an avid amateur naturalist. She is a Certified CyberTracker, and enjoys investigating natural mysteries. Her website is https://www.wildlynxnature.com/.

This event will take place in the Abbott Room at the Belfast Free Library and is free and open to the public. For more information, please call the library at 207-338-3884, ext.10. To learn more about Friends of Sears Island visit www.friendsofsearsisland.org.

Photo credit: Ashley Megquier

Dinner at Delvino’s Will Support FOSI!

Friends of Sears Island invites you to join us for a fundraising dinner at Delvino’s Grill & Pasta House in Belfast, Wednesday, February 20th, from 4:00pm-8:00pm. Enjoy a delicious meal, and Delvino’s will graciously donate 10% of your tab to Friends of Sears Island to support conservation and education programs. This is a great opportunity to support a local business and a local nonprofit!

Delvino’s is located at 52 Main Street in Belfast. A menu and more information about the restaurant can be found at www.delvinos.com, and reservations can be made by calling 207-338-4565. To learn more about Friends of Sears Island, visit www.friendsofsearsisland.org.

Photo credit: Eldon Loblein

For the Birds: A Backyard Birding Program for Kids

Friends of Sears Island will host a backyard birding workshop for kids at the Belfast Free Library on Wednesday, February 6th, from 4:00-5:15pm. The program will be led by Rob Burke, who is always on the lookout for birds. He lives in Newburgh and is a retired science teacher as well as a Friends of Sears Island board member. Rob will teach children how to identify the birds that overwinter in Maine, and about the Great Backyard Bird Count, which is led by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society and happening from February 15-18, 2019. Participants will make their own bird field guides to take home as well as a homemade bird feeder, and will leave with all of the datasheets and instructions necessary to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count with their families. This is a great way to practice citizen science at home, with all ages! More than 160,000 people worldwide participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count each year to study the abundance and distribution of birds.

This program is for kids ages 6-12 with an accompanying adult. To sign-up, please visit https://friendsofsearsisland.org/registration-february-6-science-squad/. This event is part of Friends of Sears Island’s “Science Squad,” an after-school program involving children as scientists, explorers, and stewards of their environment.

Registered participants can plan to meet in the Abbott Room, on the ground floor of the library. For more information, visit www.friendsofsearsisland.org, facebook.com/friendsofsearsisland or call 207-975-3878.

Photo credit: Rob Burke