Solstice by the Sea: A Summer Celebration

Join Friends of Sears Island as we celebrate the longest day of the year, Thursday, June 21, from 6:00pm to sundown, about 8:30pm. This is an event for the whole family. Bring a picnic or enjoy savory tacos and other offerings from the popular YumBus food truck and sweet treats from Wild Cow Creamery. There will be live music and readings that celebrate ancient traditions and modern day ceremonies, poems, and songs 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.

 

A few notes on logistics:

  • Bring blankets and/or lawn chairs, as we don’t have picnic tables.
  • Park along the causeway.
  • Sorry, no grills or open fires permitted.
  • Carry in/carry out!
  • There is one ‘porta-potty’ at Sears Island.
  • Please, no pets.

In case of bad weather, please check our Facebook page (facebook.com/friendsofsearsisland) to learn if the event is cancelled.

Sears Island is located on Sears Island Road, off Route 1, just east of Searsport village. For more information, visit www.friendsofsearsisland.org, facebook.com/friendsofsearsisland or call 207-975-3878.

Stewardship Guide now available!

Click image to download the 28-page PDF.

Friends of Sears Island is proud to announce that our stewardship guide, “A Guide to Land Stewardship Planning for Public Access Conservation Lands,” is now available. This guide is based on the work of FOSI. Our organization has worked to create a model of effective and broad reaching land stewardship and systematic management that involves both professionals and volunteers. Based on our process of implementing effective stewardship through careful planning, our guide provides a brief introduction to land management planning appropriate to smaller scale organizations and owners managing conservation lands.

Our emphasis is on centering land management activities around community involvement and outreach as well as ecological principles. The guidelines we offer here are based on our successful process of creating a property that is stewarded by the community with great care and awareness, which has led to greater health of Sears Island’s biodiversity as well as public access and education. The guide also offers practical advice on planning for infrastructure such as trails and facilities. It is intended to form a starting point by outlining important elements of land stewardship planning.

Click the image or use this link to download the 28-page guide, approximately 1MB in size:
https://friendsofsearsisland.org/wpnew/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/FOSI-Stewardship-Guide-18.1-web.pdf

Vernal Pool Exploration for Kids

Children explore a vernal pool along the Homestead Trail on Sears Island.

Sorry, this program is now full. Please complete the registration form to place your child on the waiting list. We will notify you if space becomes available.

Friends of Sears Island will host a vernal pool exploration for kids on May 18th, from 3:30-5:00pm. Aquatic biologist John Tipping of Lotic Inc. and Maine Master Naturalist Cloe Chunn 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 place your child on the waiting list, please CLICK HERE or copy and paste this link into your browser: https://friendsofsearsisland.org/registration-may-18/. 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 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 3:30pm. 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, visit www.friendsofsearsisland.org, facebook.com/friendsofsearsisland or call 207-975-3878.

The Naturalist’s Notebook with Nathaniel Wheelwright

 On Tuesday May 8th, 6:30 pm Bowdoin College biologist Nathaniel T. Wheelwright will discuss his recent book “The Naturalist’s Notebook” at the Belfast Free Library, 106 High Street.

Wheelwright and best-selling author Bernd Heinrich  co-wrote “The Naturalist’s Notebook” to teach nature lovers of all ages to be more mindful, curious and knowledgeable about the natural world, no matter where they live, using a calendar-journal format and Heinrich’s classic illustrations as inspiration. The book’s  unique five-year calendar format helps you create a long-term record and point of comparison for memorable events, such as the first songbird you hear in spring, your first monarch butterfly sighting of summer, or the appearance of the northern lights.

Professor Wheelwright’s presentation will describe the origin of the project and the joys, challenges, and fulfillment of keeping a systematic nature journal. Books will be available to purchase at the program.

Nathaniel T.Wheelwright is the Bass Professor of Natural Sciences at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. The 2015 winner of the Ecological Society of America’s Odum Award for Excellence in Ecology Education, he is also the author of numerous scientific publications and co-editor of Monteverde: Ecology and Conservation of a Tropical Cloud Forest.

Friends of Sears Island (FOSI), is co-sponsoring the program which is free and open to the public. To learn more about FOSI, visit www.friendsofsearsisland.org

For more information about the program, please call the library at 338-3884 ext.10.

Vernal Pool Walk with Aram Calhoun

Aram Calhoun photo

Aram Calhoun will lead a vernal pool walk on Sears Island on Wednesday, May 9th, from 10am-12pm. Program participants will learn about vernal pool fauna and the landscape-scale functions of vernal pools. If time allows, Aram will also show the group some mitigation pools on Sears Island where she conducted research tracking populations of wood frogs and spotted salamanders.

Aram JK Calhoun is a Professor of Wetland Ecology in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology at the University of Maine. Her research focuses on conservation of forested wetlands and vernal pool ecosystems. She is particularly interested in conservation of natural resources on private lands and collaborative approaches to conserving wetlands through locally driven initiatives. Dr. Calhoun is active in working at all levels of government on wetland policy and conservation issues. Aram will be joined by post-doc Dr. Kristine Hoffmann, who is a herpetologist and blue spotted salamander expert.

Friends of Sears Island is hosting this event, which is free and open to the public. Sears Island is on Sears Island Road off Route 1 just east of Searsport. Walk participants should park along the causeway at the end of the road and meet at the island gate by 10am. Please wear footwear and outdoor gear appropriate for hiking and bring water and a snack. No pets are permitted at public programs.  In the event of rain, the program will be cancelled. For more information and program updates, visit www.friendsofsearsisland.org, facebook.com/friendsofsearsisland or call 207-975-3878.

Spring Stewards Day for Kids

Friends of Sears Island will host Spring Stewards Day for Kids, on Friday, April 27th, from 4:00-5:30pm. After a long winter of marine debris washing up on Sears Island, spring is the perfect time for a beach clean-up, and with the celebration of Earth Day this month, this program will focus on pollution and stewardship. Marianne McKinney Randall from the Ban the Bag in Belfast group will teach participants about pollution in our marine environment and what local activists are doing to help with this problem. The program will also include a beach clean-up with kids collecting data on the types of debris found along the beach. This information will be sent to the Ocean Conservancy to be added to their global ocean trash database.

Space is limited for this free program, and advance registration is required. 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. 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 4:00pm. Please wear footwear and outdoor gear appropriate for walking along the beach 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, with a back-up date of April 30th, 4:00-5:30pm. For more information, visit www.friendsofsearsisland.org, facebook.com/friendsofsearsisland or call 207-975-3878.

Fundraising Dinner at Nautilus

Friends of Sears Island invites you to join us for a fundraising dinner at Nautilus Seafood & Grill in Belfast, Wednesday, April 25th, from 5:00pm-9:00pm. Enjoy a delicious meal, and Nautilus 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!

Nautilus Seafood & Grill is located at 3 Main Street in Belfast. A menu and more information about the restaurant can be found at www.nautilusseafoodandgrill.com, and reservations can be made by calling 207-218-4218. To learn more about Friends of Sears Island, visit www.friendsofsearsisland.org.

Wildflower Talk with Clare Cole

Wildflower Talk will Prepare You to Identify Spring Blooms

Northern blue violet growing on Sears Island. Photo by Alison Dibble

Clare Cole will present a wildflower identification slideshow at the Belfast Free Library on April 3rd, at 6:30pm. She will discuss which wildflowers bloom in this area of Maine as the seasons progress from spring to summer, and key characteristics to help you identify various species. Clare is a Maine Master Naturalist.  Her capstone project was identifying the flowering plants at Bangor City Forest. She continued the project and has identified over 250 species of wildflowers and shrubs to date.  She also has a degree in forestry and enjoys hiking and backpacking with her husband and three grown sons.

The Belfast Free Library and Friends of Sears Island are co-sponsoring this event. This program is free and open to the public. 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. For program updates, visit www.facebook.com/friendsofsearsisland or call 207-975-3878.

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

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 June 5th, 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.