Hog Island Happenings - June 2022

Atlantic Puffins floating in the surf off of Eastern Egg Rock
A fan favorite from camper Kathy Lena. This image of Atlantic Puffins floating in the surf off of Eastern Egg Rock was selected to be featured in our Moments in Nature segment. Photo: Kathy Lena.


Our 2022 season is off to a busy start! We resumed camp this year with a full load of sessions and marched closer to our pre-pandemic capacity numbers. The National Audubon Society Executive Team kicked off the summer with a half-week retreat. They were treated to an Eastern Egg Rock landing to see our seabird researchers, in addition to spending the week at Hog Island immersing themselves in the important work of leading Audubon into the next chapter.

National Audubon Society’s Executive Team visits Eastern Egg Rock and Hog Island
National Audubon Society’s Executive Team visited Eastern Egg Rock and Hog Island to learn more about how the Seabird Institute's science and education work in Maine has led to impactful conservation far beyond. Left to Right: Island Supervisor Keara Nelson, holding a Leach's Storm Petrel, Audubon CEO Elizabeth Gray, and Audubon Chief Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer Jamaal Nelson. Photo: Tiffany Huenefeldt.

This summer is also the launch of a new pilot program called Junior Instructors. This paid position allows an early career naturalist to gain work experience and help co-lead workshops at camp. We were so excited to launch the program with young birders Isaiah Scott and Katelyn Shelton! Both of these young people are bound to have amazing careers ahead of them and are ambassadors in the birding community. To learn more about this program, check out our application process – we’ll be taking applications in early 2023.

The Bridge on Hog Island
The Bridge on Hog Island, all spruced up! Photo: Mark Garland.


During our opening week, our Friends of Hog Island team was hard at work getting the island ready for the first group of campers. One of the main projects was revitalising the Bridge, which had sustained some damage during the winter months. Repairs included building a new outside staircase as well as replacing one of the wooden support-beams on the deck. FOHI volunteers Antony Hill, Micheal Leahy, David Morrisette, Pete Synder, Tom Meyers, and Charlie Synder spent many hours in the wood-shop. They all did a wonderful job matching the historical character of the Bridge building.

Additionally, the Bridge also received some new butcher-block countertops, a fresh coat of paint on the exterior and some reorganisation throughout. We would like to thank all the Friends of Hog Island as well as the island staff for helping to transform the Bridge so that we could have a great start to the summer season!

Hog Island Osprey Pair on Long Cove
This amazing photo was taken by Friends of Hog Island's own Kathy Lena. It features the Osprey pair that was nesting under the Hog Island Osprey Cam. The pair recently packed up and moved around the corner to Long Cove, where they are very active and can be spotted catching fish and calling to one another throughout the day. Photo: Kathy Lena.

Friends of Hog Island

During FOHI Opening Work Week, 20 volunteers provided nearly 800 hours of work. Construction, painting and gardening were just some of the tasks on the “to do” list. The camp would not be able to open without the dedicated FOHI volunteers. Since Opening Week, FOHI’s have been hard at work each day to ensure every camper has a great experience on Hog Island. We are looking forward to many more great sessions this season.

Staff Highlight

Meet Elizabeth Mack!

Title: Seasonal Naturalist at Hog Island Audubon Camp
Favorite bird: Arctic Tern or Northern Gannet
Favorite meal at camp: Tofu Stir Fry and Coconut Macaroons
Your top three job perks: Managing the touch tank, learning from campers and instructors, and working in nature every day. 

Moments in Nature

Each week campers impress the Hog Island Staff with their phenomenal abilities to capture spectacular, intimate and sometimes funny moments found within nature. At the end of each week we showcase these photographs at our end-of-session wrap-up slideshow. Below are some of our favorite photographs that showcase Maine's beautiful wildlife so far!

From the Kitchen

The season is off to a wonderful start for the kitchen with lots of fresh and local food from all of our wonderful farms and food vendors. As we came into our first break, we found ourselves with a plethora of tomatoes, so we decided to make some tomato jam. While at first glance tomato may seem like a strange contender for jam, this jam, full of warm spices and fall charm, is everything that you didn't know you needed this summer. Enjoy! 

Tomato Jam

  • 5 lbs. tomatoes - finely chopped
  • 3-1/2 cups of sugar
  • 8 tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. red chili flakes

Combine all ingredients in a large, non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce temperature to a simmer. Stirring regularly, simmer the jam until it reduces to a sticky, jammy mess. This will take between 60 to 90 minutes, depending on how high you keep your heat. 

Cook until the jam has cooked down sufficiently, ideally to 219° to 220°F. Place in freshly-boiled jars, seal, and freeze. 

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