Category Archives: FOSI News

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

Solstice by the Sea Canceled…

Despite this morning’s glorious sunrise over Penobscot Bay and Sears Island, tomorrow will almost certainly bring drenching rain, so we must regretfully cancel tomorrow’s Solstice by the Sea celebration. We hope you will still find ways tomorrow evening to celebrate the return of the light, following your own traditions and with people you love, in a place that’s safe and dry.

We are enormously grateful for such powerful interest in this event. As we continue our efforts to preserve and protect this extraordinary island and its many natural treasures, knowing so many people find joy here gives purpose and meaning to our work. We look forward to celebrating the beauty and history of Sears Island with you in the future.

“Light is to darkness what love is to fear; in the presence of one the other disappears.” -Marianne Williamson

Warm regards,
Friends of Sears Island Board of Directors

Nature Observation and Journaling Program for Kids

Sorry, but this program is now full! You can still use the registration form to put your child on the waiting list, and we will contact you if space becomes available.

Friends of Sears Island will host a nature journaling workshop for kids at the Belfast Free Library on Monday, November 26th, from 4:00-5:30pm. The program will be led by Jenni Judkins, of the Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition. Jenni will teach children ways of exploring the world around them and discuss the value of keeping a personal record of your observations, imaginations, and inspirations. Participants will draw, color, and write while getting to know more about the plants and animals who share the Belfast Bay Watershed with us. There will be several activity stations and many take home ideas.

This program is for kids ages 6-12 with an accompanying adult. CLICK HERE to register your child. 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. Science Squad is made possible by a grant from the Davis Conservation Foundation. Jenni Judkins is the Natural Literacy Educator for the Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition. She has extensive experience teaching in classrooms and outdoors, a degree in biology, and a lifelong love of nature and its wonders.

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.

Animal Bones Identification and Exploration Program for Kids

Skull specimens in Dirigo Learning’s collection. Photo by Robin Huntley

Sorry, but this program is now full! You can still use the registration form to put your child on the waiting list, and we will contact you if space becomes available.

Friends of Sears Island and Dirigo Learning will host an animal bones exploration workshop for kids at the Belfast Free Library on Monday, October 22, from 4:30-6:00pm. The program will be led by Robin Huntley, of Dirigo Learning. During this hands-on workshop, participants will learn to recognize the key identifying characteristics of a host of familiar creatures.  Children will get to closely examine a variety of skulls, antlers, teeth, and other bones to look for clues about a creature’s diet, habitat, and behavior.  Showcased during the workshop will be Dirigo Learning’s bone collection, made up of over 35 different skull, bone, tooth, and antler specimens from birds, mammals, and fish.  Animals from the Maine landscape will be emphasized during the place-based program, and nearly all of the specimens included in Dirigo Learning’s bone collection have been gathered locally.

This program is for kids ages 6-12 with an accompanying adult. To sign-up, please visit https://friendsofsearsisland.org/registration-october-22/. 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. Science Squad is made possible by a grant from the Davis Conservation Foundation. Program co-sponsor Dirigo Learning is a Community-Based Education Network affiliate for Midcoast and Central Maine whose mission is to promote community-based education by cultivation of learning experiences rooted within local landscape and culture.

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.

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 https://friendsofsearsisland.org/sept-10-science-squad-registration/, 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 www.friendsofsearsisland.org or http://facebook.com/friendsofsearsisland. To learn more about Monarch Watch, visit www.monarchwatch.org.

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.

Dinner at Harborwalk to support FOSI

Friends of Sears Island invites you to join us for a fundraising dinner at Harborwalk Restaurant in Belfast, Wednesday, August 8th, from 5:00pm-9:00pm. 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. To learn more about Friends of Sears Island, visit www.friendsofsearsisland.org.