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

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.