In one of our longest-running projects, the Southern Maryland Audubon Society awards scholarships to local educators that allow them to attend first-class environmental programs. Since 1936, the Audubon Camp in Maine has offered birding and nature programs for adults, teens, families, and conservation leaders on Hog Island in Muscongus Bay. Teachers in Southern Maryland can find an informational PDF here to apply for the programs titled Field Ornithology or Sharing Nature: An Educators Week. We also welcome teen applicants, aged fourteen to seventeen years, for the program Mountains to Sea Birding for Teens.
Field Ornithology includes excursions to both mainland and coastal habitats, including offshore islands, windswept blueberry barrens, lush grasslands, and sphagnum bog forests (sensitive puffin-nesting islands will be observed by boat). Immerse yourself in a week of all things avian, from bird biology to nesting behavior, songs, migration and conservation. Learn in small-group settings about field identification. Add some of the most respected bird experts in the country, and you have Field Ornithology on Hog Island. You’ll learn in the woods and on the water – experiencing the dawn chorus with experts in bird song at your side; landing on seabird nesting islands to observe nesting behavior at arm’s-length; discussing coloniality in the midst of a raucous heronry. You’ll come home with amazing memories – and a solid understanding of bird biology and ecology.
In Sharing Nature, educators learn practical approaches and add inspiration to their environmental education curriculum during this action-packed week. Our experienced and enthusiastic instructors share their favorite approaches, methods, and activities for engaging both children and adults with nature. Workshops using techniques in art, music, theater, journaling, and other disciplines will be presented, as well as a host of classic Audubon Camp field trips, including a boat trip to the restored Atlantic Puffin and Tern colony on Eastern Egg Rock, intertidal explorations, and hiking through Hog Island’s unspoiled spruce-fir forest. These experiences provide a wonderful opportunity to be learning outside in a beautiful setting, while also considering how you can take back some of these insights and methods to your students back home. (Read a testimonial from one of our scholarship-winning educators!)
Mountains to Sea Birding for Teens is an exciting camp for teens ages 14 – 17. This intensive 5-night program will cover boreal to coastal bird species in Maine. Teens will spend part of the week at Maine Audubon’s Borestone Mountain Sanctuary looking for northern Maine bird species. The remaining part of the week they will stay on Hog Island and explore the coast for shorebirds, nesting species, and puffins! A service component will be included during the week so that teens can be hands-on and experience a tour of the Mad River Decoys by Audubon, including a paint-your-own decoy activity. Teens will learn about conservation projects around the world and see how decoys are produced to bring back species. An emphasis will also be placed on creating field notebooks throughout the week.
Read on for a testimonial by one of our former scholarship winners!
A board member also attended Audubon’s Hog Island camp. Read her story from the September 2017 Osprey newsletter.
All photos on this page by Tiffany Farrell.