18 February 2015

Hog Island Audubon Camp

This island is so beautiful it really makes my heart ache!
Why, it seems to me God's own heaven
can hardly be more perfect.
- Mabel Loomis Todd

Hog Island Audubon Camp has been on my wishlist of destinations for many years now. Roger Tory Peterson, Allan Cruickshank, Rachel Carson, Scott Weidensaul, Kenn Kaufman, and many more have spent time there, taught classes there, been a part of birding history, and now I get to add my name to the distinguished list.

Photo by Stephen Kress

In college I was interested in everything and nothing. Two semesters I volunteered at a banding station but then like the wind my attention went elsewhere. Years later I taught "Ornithology" classes but I mostly was trying to get kids to appreciate the biology of birds and the fact that they exist.  I couldn't identify flycatchers or gulls but I was somehow qualified to take kids in the woods to a pond that had Black-crowned Night Herons and Wood Storks.

The real birding came later. In 2007 I started working at Green Cay Nature Center and I immersed myself in identifying spring migrants.  I was hooked on warblers like an addiction and it hasn't stopped since. Now my vacations consist of birding trips and my work is once again back in the world of birds.

Photo by Stephen Kress

This summer I will be working and living at the Hog Island Audubon Camp as the Program Manager. I won't be an instructor but more of a director of people as they go from boats to dining halls to cabins.  I also plan to do a lot of birding and really delve into the allure of The Hog.
Photo by Stephen Kress

If Hog Island is on your wish list, why don't you join me? We still have openings for a few of the sessions. I think the Hands-on Bird Science led by Scott Weidensaul is going to be especially interesting. Bird banding, songbird recording, taxidermy, you name it!  Or for those beginner birders try Breaking Into Birding.  We have something for all walks of life.  If you're an educator we have Educator's Week or if you're just a birding fan we have Joy of Birding or Field Ornithology. The best part - this is a summer camp for adults. For many of us, that's something that feels right, that feels nostalgic.  Why not go to camp this summer? I'm going to be there, I hope you join me!

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