Previous Newsletters

Greetings from the Friends
The birds are back, the leaves are back, the Park Manager is back, and the summer visitors are back at Holbrook Island Sanctuary. It was a mild winter followed by an unusual spring. I still can't decide if the spring came earlier or later than usual. I think it was some of each, depending on how you measure it. We are having more daylight right now than at any other time of the year, so it's a great time to spend some of that extra daylight at the Sanctuary.
Between Park Manager Tammy Bishop and a crew of hardworking volunteer trail maintainers, the trails have been cleared on the mainland and the island, and are ready for your enjoyment. Hiking the trails is a great way to get outdoors, unwind, and tune in to the happenings of nature all around us. Spending a few quiet moments sitting on a log can reveal a lot about the birds, squirrels, and insects that we are normally too busy to notice.
Tammy has hired two summer interns, sponsored by the Friends. The interns will do a lot of much-needed maintenance, as well as some special projects, and will help out with groups that come to volunteer at the Sanctuary. They will also organize and lead some of the public programs which are listed later in this newsletter.
The Friends are pleased to report that work has begun on the long-awaited interpretive trail at Fresh Pond. Volunteers have begun setting numbered posts in the ground at various points of interest along the trail. When it is completed, visitors will be able to pick up at the parking area a brochure that describes many plants and possibly some animals that might be seen near each numbered post. We hope that once visitors become familiar with the plants and animals featured on the interpretive trail they will be able to recognize them throughout the Sanctuary.
I would like to thank all those donors who responded so generously to our annual fundraising appeal in March. We truly appreciate your contributions that enable the Sanctuary to be the wonderful place it is. Please come out and enjoy all the Sanctuary has to offer, or just take a deep breath and think of all the oxygen the plants there are pumping out right now!

Cathy Rees, HISC Secretary

                                                   Spring at the Sanctuary

Park Manager Tammy Bishop reports that despite the recent wet weather the Sanctuary is in good shape and ready for visitors. Boating facilities are in place, and the trails are constantly being improved. The summer interns began their 10 week employment in early June, and are learning about and helping with the multitude of tasks necessary for keeping the Park running. Tammy has obtained funding for some bog bridging on portions of the Ice Works and Beaver Flowage trails.

The "I Hiked Holbrook" and "Maine State Park Passport" programs are on-going; please contact Park Headquarters for more information. Tammy attended the annual meeting of Maine State Park Managers in May at the Tanglewood Summer Camp in Camden, for discussions of business, policies, and topics pertinent to operations of state parks.

Welcome to our Summer Interns:

Matthew Campbell is from Augusta, Maine, and recently graduated from the University of Maine at Orono, with degrees in Biology and Psychology. With many additional interests, Matt is also passionate about music (playing the trumpet, guitar, piano, and drums) and about writing (hoping to write and publish fictional short stories and novels). He would rather be working outdoors than at an indoor desk job.

Kendall Mirda, from Union, New Jersey, has completed her sophomore year at Unity College in Unity, Maine, double-majoring in Parks, Recreation and Ecotourism, and Wildlife Conservation. Working at Holbrook ties in nicely with her fields of study, as Kendall loves the outdoors, and helping the public learn about the beauty of natural areas. She also enjoys drawing, walking, hiking, four-wheeling, and babysitting.

Bird Walk

Cathy Rees attended the annual Holbrook Island Sanctuary Warbler Walk on May 12, lead by Michael Good of Downeast Nature Tours, and reports: "Although the date was a little earlier than usual, we spotted and heard many of the usual suspects. The Black-throated Green Warblers kept singing throughout the walk, and we had a couple of excellent views of these beautiful birds that epitomize the coastal spruce forest to me. The most elusive bird was probably the Blackburnian Warbler, whom we had been hearing but couldn't locate high in the trees, until finally he showed himself in a brief flash right along the trail before flying into the dense spruce canopy near the end of the Back Shore Trail. The beach was quiet, with nothing but a couple of herring gulls on the further shore. Back in the woods, we heard the year-round denizens of the forest: chickadees, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Golden-crowned Kinglets, and Brown Creepers. Notably absent were the fly-catchers, who seemed to have not yet arrived; the beaver flowage was rather quiet without them, except for the Swamp Sparrows and Red-winged Blackbirds. And just when we had returned to the cars and were lamenting that we hadn't seen any raptors, we briefly spotted a hawk that we couldn't identify. Altogether, the walk produced a nice list of birds, 9 species of warbler, and 29 species in total, showing the mixed species flocks that typify spring migration along the Maine

A Bit of History is New Again

Reta Hunter, a long-time friend and member of the Holbrook Island Sanctuary entities, has worked for several years compiling and documenting the history of Holbrook Island and the Harris family's residency there. As a native of Harborside, Reta has many childhood memories of special days she spent on Holbrook Island with her Dad and the Harris sisters, and holds dear all the people involved in the history of the Harris family on Holbrook Island. This undertaking, a labor of love, fulfilled Reta's wish to record and preserve the story of a very special island and family, so that it would both not be forgotten, and be available for others to enjoy.

Many people have shared information with Reta: Keith Andrews loaned his grand-mother Libby's diary of days during the 1940-1950s, when she and her husband, Alan Stewart, lived on the island as caretakers. Keith recalls his memories of weekends, summers, and vacations spent there as a child. Marilyn Peasley Lymburner shared diary entries of her parents, caretakers Jim and Gertie Peasley. Hal and Andrea Snow tell their story of more recent years as caretakers, at the end of Anita's life on the island. Phil and Pat Farr share stories of their lives as park managers. Victor Dyer and Dot Bakeman are among other people who have helped to recall the history of Holbrook Island and the Harris family. Albert Sandecki writes about the Holbrook Island Sanctuary Corporation. Many photographs which belonged to Anita and Marian are included in the book.

After sifting through these lifetimes of memories and photographs, Reta has organized the book into eight chapters, beginning with the early history of the island, then covering Edward Harris developing the buildings on his "Storybook Farm" island, the sisters Anita and Marian growing up there, the different caretaker years, and ending with Anita working to preserve and donate the island as an essential part of Holbrook Island Sanctuary.

Reta's book, "Anita's Island," is being printed, and will be ready and available at the end of this month. She has paid for fifty copies of the book to be printed, and will place one copy in the Brooksville Public Library. For further information, and if anyone wishes to purchase a soft-cover copy of this book, at $20.00, please contact Reta at either 207-223-4411 or 207-326-4434.

The mainland portion of the Sanctuary is also steeped in history. The parcels which were ultimately assembled into the Sanctuary had been peoples' farms and homesteads, with the names of those owners now reflected in the names on the trails. Existing paths, animal trails, and farm roads were developed over time into the trails, by Park Manager Phil Farr. Bakeman Farm Trail passes by remnants of the old farmhouse; Aaron Trail travels past the Aaron homestead site and fields on its way to Fresh Pond. The Back Shore Trail passes along old Bakeman and Hutchins farm roads, by many old foundations. Ice harvested from Fresh Pond was hauled along the Ice Works Trail with
teams of horses to area farms and homesteads; you may see old sled marks. Old family names are also remembered in the cemeteries: Gray, Howard, and Bakeman. So today, visitors can enjoy some of this area's history while exploring the Sanctuary's various ecosystems and habitats, and diversity of plant and animal life. There are beaches and mud flats, rocky coasts and shorelines, marshes and ponds, wetlands and meadows, forests and wooded uplands, just waiting to be explored; the tops of hills in this area are actually old volcanoes. And we can all be thankful that Anita Harris and other people had the foresight to preserve all of this for our enjoyment and education.

Spring 2011
Greeting from the Friends
It has been a strange winter. Mild, one might say, and dry too. It sounds as though it has been an unusual winter for many parts of the country. At least we can say that the hiking has been good. At the Sanctuary, you can enjoy a beautiful walk anytime while your feet stay mostly dry. Although the mid-section of the Beaver Flowage Trail was re-routed up-slope last year in order to protect the wetland, some sections of the old bog bridging closer to the wetland are still in place. If you remember their location and can find your way to them, you can see additional views of the wetland. There is a big patch of rhodora out there, and it would be great to see it in bloom this spring. take a look at the end of May.
The friends have been talking about adding interpretation to some of the trails at the sanctuary for a very long time, so we are excited at the prospect of having the first interpretive trail installed this year on the Fresh Pond Trail. The numbered posts along the trail will correspond with a brochure put together by Friends' member Zachary Holderby. Much thanks to Zach for all his hard work.

Aislinn Sarnacki, reporter for the "Outdoor" pages of the Bangor Daily News, recently wrote about Holbrook Island Sanctuar State Park in her "Act Out with Aislinn, One Minute Hikes" around Maine column. After visiting Holbrook, she wrote a fine article in the February 23, 2012 edition. the article included a description of the Park, directions, information, and a photo of the Mountain Loop Trail. You can go to the paper's website to see more. Thank you, Aislinn.

Tammy Bishop will return as Park Manager again this year, scheduled to start around the middle of April. She is currently accepting applications for two summer intern positions (sponsored by the Friends) and will begin interviewing candidates once she resumes her position (See the Job posting later in this newsletter). The Friends will also sponsor summer programs again this year, and have already scheduled the annual spring warbler bird walk with Michael Good. This is always a great walk, and Michael has a way of bringing out the more elusive birds and making even the regulars seem special. whether you are a beginner or an advanced birder, this walk is easy, fun, and enlightening. So, if you haven't been out hiking yet this winter or spring, there is no reason not to go now. The Sanctuary is open everyday. That's plenty of time to enjoy the trails!

 Cathy Rees, FHIS Chairperson

Winter at the Sanctuary

John Ashmore, a long-time resident of Harborside, has donated his half-acre parcel, subject to reservation of life estate, to the State of Maine, Department of Conservation, Bureau of Parks and Lands, to become part of Holbrook Island Sanctuary State Park. John's parcel is located at the head of the Fresh Pond Trail, on Otis Gray Road, off Cape Rosier Road. Over the many years they have lived there, John and his late wife, Pamela, have been neighbors and supporters of the Park. As the Fresh Pond Trail leads along the edge of their property, they have greeted many of our visitors. The Friends thank you, John, for your very special and wonderful donation to the Sanctuary.

Liz Hotchkiss, Co-Chair of the Trails Committee reports:
What a beautiful non-winter it has been. Much to the dismay of snow-shoers and cross country skiers, we have had minimal snow cover. The positive note is that the trails in Holbrook Island Sanctuary have been clear and navigable for most of the winter. Walking the trails on a beautiful, bright, clear, 40 degree day, the views we saw were spectacular. The absence of green deciduous foliage allowed us to see through the trees to the vistas which are usually hidden during the other three seasons. Ascending the Summit Trail heights, we could see across Eggemoggin Reach to the Pumpkin Island lighthouse. From another area on the summit, we could see to our a grand vista of Islesboro (the island in the middle of Penobscot Bay). Just before returning back down the trail, looking due north, we could see Holbrook Island, and clear over to Castine harbor and village. Looking west at this spot, we could see the marsh lands of Beaver Flowage trail, and even farther to the waters of Goose Falls.

The open winter has allowed us to work on the "Secret Symbol" sign posts located along the mainland trails, renewing them with new blazes, changing the symbols, and replacing them in new locations. These "Secret Symbols" must be identified and logged by young hikers, kindergarten though eighth grade, who participate in the "I Hiked Holbrook" program. Once all of the symbols, one per each mainland trail, have been recorded on a special card, the hikers receive an "I Hiked Holbrook Island Sanctuary State Park" t-shirt and certificate. This summer will be the fourth season for this program.

Special thanks to Ned Hildreth, a trail maintainer, who cleaned, repaired, and numbered all the Fresh Pond duck boxes in January. Now the boxes are ready for the upcoming nesting season. Thank you, Ned.

Thank you also to all our members for their generous donations, which provide the firends with the funds to, among other things, provide interns, materials, and supplies to maintain the trails and equipment, for everyone's enjoyment. Your help keeps the Park functioning in a smooth and professional manner. Thanks again for your support. We are in your backyard. Come and join us for your next outdoor adventure!

Preparing for the 2012 Season

Welcome back, Tammy! we are looking forward to your return mid-April, and know that you will have a multitude of things to organize and accomplish in preparation for the busy season ahead.

Help Wanted: College students who enjoy the outdoors and want to spend the summer at Holbrook Island Sanctuary State Park. There are currently two internship positions open. Interns work 40 hours per week, are provided with a rustic apartment, have two days off per week, and work a total of 10 weeks during the summer. A stipend equivalent to $8/hour will be paid. Duties include maintaining the Sanctuary's facilities, equipment, and trails, and answering questions from Park visitors. The interns will also develop and present a public program, and assist with other programs and presenters. If interested, please send a letter, resume, and three references to: Holbrook Island Sanctuary State Park, c/o Tammy Bishop, PO Box 35, Brooksville, ME 04617. For questions, contact Tammy after April 16th at: 207-326-4012, or

The full schedule of summer programs will be posted in the next newsletter, but we want everyone to know about the bird walk, which will take place prior to the publication of the summer newsletter.

Annual Bird Walk: Michael Good, of Downeast Nature Tours in Bar harbor, will help us greet both the returning migrant birds as well as the resident ones on Saturday, May 12. Meet at 8:00 AM at the Back Shore Trail parking lot on Indian Bar Road. Be prepared for an easy hike thorugh diverse habitats. Bring binocualrs and bug repellent.

Paddle on Goose Pond: Friends' member Zachary Holderby plans to lead an early summer paddle on Goose Pond. Bring your canoe or kayak; launching will be at the Goose Falls bridge parking area. Keep an eye on the newspaper and our website, as we will announce the date and time as paddling season approaches.

Electronic media and delivery: www., our new website, is up and running. this was developed by Zachary Holderby, reviewed and approved by the Parks and Land Interpretive Specialist, and will be maintained by Zach. The various pages present natural and historical information, a Park map with directions and trail descriptions, schedule of events, some photos, portions of recent issues of the Goosefeathers Gazette, a comment section, and a donation form. Many thanks to Zach for his

In conjunction with this, the friends are discussing the possibility of sending out the Goosefeathers Gazette newsletter electronically. If you might wish to receive this newsletter by e-mail instead of by postal delivery. please let us know. For our "housekeeping" purposes we would also appreciate your checking your mailing label information on the last page of the newsletter, and making any changes or corrections needed.

A Little History and a Milestone

Pat Farr has maintained a file of the Goosefeathers Gazettes over the years, and reports that the first edition was published in June-July, 1995. How time flies! so the next edition, Summer 2012, will mark the seventeenth anniversary of its publication. The title "Goosefeathers Gazette" was suggested at the time by Hal Snow. Hal's father and grandfather relayed the story to him that before Callahan Mine constructed the falls on Goose Pond, as the tide ebbed and flowed the pond filled up with fluffy brownish-white tidal foam, which old timers called "goose feathers". They probably called it something else, too, as the white and brown foam would discolor the white paint on their boats!

Photo: Team of Oxen waiting to pull a sled on the Harris Farm

Keeping the Sanctuary in Bloom

Dear Friends,

     In spite of the weather and all the uncertainty each early spring day brings, I am thinking about pollination. I find it fascinating that beneath our radar, bees, moths, beetles, ants, and the like make their way to flowers, both big and small, in order to get nourishment in the form of nectar. Unknowingly and incidentally, they pick up some pollen on their way and deposit it on another flower of the same species, while continuing to forage. Pollination by one means or another is necessary for plants to produce seeds. those seeds become our food - think apples, raspberries, beans, and squash. without the pollinators, we would be hungry indeed. How such a vital activity can go on successfully, year after year, in the face of our lack of understanding, and worse, our instinct to immediately kill most insects at first sight, is truly a wonder.

     So it is with the Sanctuary. I think of our members as performing a sort of pollination by providing an essential service to Holbrook Island Sanctuary, beneath the radar of the general public. Because it is a State Park, we take for granted that it will always be open and there for us to enjoy. But Holbrook Island Sanctuary is different, as funding to cover its operating costs comes from a number of different sources. Last fiscal year less than 2 percent of the total costs to run the Sanctuary came from the State's general fund. About 15 percent of our costs were received from the State's loon license plate fund. The lion's share of costs, over 55 percent, were covered by the Anita Harris Trust Fund. Our members generously contributed the balance, just over 27 percent, of the costs needed to operate the Sanctuary. These member contributions gave Tammy Bishop, the Park Manager, the funds to purchase equipment, material, and supplies for much needed repairs and maintenance, to present summer educational programs open to the public free of charge, and just as importantly that 27 percent also funded the two summer inters, who provided the people-power to help Tammy keep up with the task list.

     Whether the general public contributes or even notices the work that goes on to keep the Sanctuary open, our members continue to come through for the Sanctuary. For this we owe a huge round of thanks. Life certainly would be less rich without apples, raspberries, beans, squash, and Holbrook Island Sanctuary. thank you all for your continued membership and support.

 Cathy Rees, FHIS Chairperson


Fall 2011
Greeting from the Friends

     I like to think of this time of year as the season of dancing leaves. As you bike or drive along and look back, you can see how fallen leaves are caught up in the wind turbulence as you pass. they are lifted into a brief dance before they settle back onto the pavement. Sometimes, the wind just picks them up as you stand there and watch. The dancing leaves provide a way for us to see some of the invisible forces of nature at work.
    Contending with some of the same forces of nature at the Santuary was our new Park Manager, Tammy Bishop. This was Tammy's second summer as Manager, and from all accounts things ran smoothly. Tammy provided visitors and children, both at the Sanctuary and off-site, with a variety of public programs, sponsored by the Friends. She had help from the two summer interns and the volunteer trail maintainers with keeping the Sanctuary and the trails looking great.

    At the annual meeting of the Holbrook Island Sanctuary Corporation (the Friends' parent organization) we received good news: the Anita Harris Trust Fund had increased substantially since last year. This is the fund, originally donated by Anita Harris, and invested and managed by the State, from which most of the operating expenses for the Sanctuary are paid. While it has been a big help to fund the Park Manager position on a part time rather than full time basis, the market appreciation of the fund has also been a significant factor. It is still necessary, however, to draw from principal appreciation to make ends meet. Only $744 was contributed to the Sanctuary from the State's general fund, and another $8,048 was contributed from the loon account, which is the fund of money donated to state parks from peoples' purchase of the loon license plates. Financially, the Anita Harris Trust Fund is in better shape than it has been in previous years, with better management by the State and with a boost from the market.

    Although you will not be receiving another newsletter until next spring, you should know that the Sanctuary is open for you all year. Plan a hike, a snowshoe, a ski, or a picnic in the off-season, and see the Sanctuary in a new light. There will be wildlife to see and hear, and discoveries to be made. And don't forget to look for the dancing leaves before the snow flies.

                                                                                                           Cathy Rees, FHIS Chairperson

Report on the 2011 Season

   Park Manager Tammy Bishop reports that the 2011 summer season went very well. Although public use of the Sanctuary was down compared to last year, as was also true in other state parks, there was still a steady flow of visitors enjoying a variety of activities in the great outdoors. The summer interns had a wonderful educational experience working in a state park, worked hard, and completed many projects though out their ten week season.

     Educational and informative programs presented at the Sanctuary included: bird walk and identification, various insects which are damaging our trees, bats, presentation of owls, bagpipes, and building bird houses. Away from the Sanctuary, Tammy and the interns helped children at Camp CaPella and the Maine Discovery Museum build bird houses and pine cone feeders. Over 100 kits were assembled!

     Overnight guests on Holbrook Island included children and counselors from the Maine Discovery Museum (who saw a meteor shower on one of their two visits), and from the Mountain Alliance, a group of high school volunteers from the Boone, NC area, who apply to be accepted into the program, and travel to different places to perform volunteer projects. This group dug the new hole for the island outhouse and picked up trash from the beaches.

     On the trails: the beaver Flowage Trail has been re-routed, and temporary signs have been posted on the trail. Tammy, the interns, and the volunteer trail maintainers have cut away many blown-down trees (including 29 after Hurricane Irene) and hazardous limbs, and have applied many blazes to trails. Projects for the Fresh Pond trail, including bog-briging and 4x4 posts for the new self-guided interpretive trail, are still on-going.

     Holbrook Island Sanctuary's trail system is now listed on This free on-line website provides much information for people-powered trails in the State of Maine. Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund and Maine Conservation Corps participated in the project, with volunteers taking GPS points on the trails. The website shows seven geo-caches within the Sanctuary.

     By the time you receive this newsletter, Tammy will have prepared the Sanctuary and Park Headquarters for the off-season, but she has already done some preliminary planning for the 2012 season. The Friends thank you Tammy, for your wonderful job managing the Sanctuary this year!

Other Reflections on the 2011 Season

From our two summer interns:
Gail Manzo writes - When my summer season at Holbrook Island Sanctuary began in mid-May, is when the rains came. So I spent many hours in the garage, drying, sanding, painting and lettering signs. But when the signs were done and re-mounted onto their posts, I had the pleasure of hiking each trail in the midst of spring. How beautiful it is! Then we worked on the biggest project of the season: re-routing the Beaver Flowage Trail. After a few days of hard labor, and with the help of volunteer trail maintainers John and Heidi Cobb, it was completed! Phew! Then the Brooksville and Blue Hill Elementary Schools arrived. Now it was official: the summer season had begun. The local people and tourists came in droves. I enjoyed making contact with as many of them as possible, giving directions, asking where they were from, and hearing their stories of how they came to this place. I told them, as they told me, just how lucky I am and what a priviledge it is to be able to work and live in such a beautiful place.

Elizabeth Clifford looks back - Working this past summer at Holbrook island sanctuary was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I really enjoyed working there, and did so many different things, from painting to trail clearing. How many people get to be able to finish their summer job, then look back a week later and really truly miss going to work in the mornings. I was fortunate to be one of those people. Working with Tammy and gail was so much fun; there was never a boring minute. We painted, blazed trails, mowed, weed-wacked, etc. Everything was great. The island was amazing; it was neat to see the graves. I went on a journey on eday looking for Captain Jesse Holbrook and Lucinda someone. Their grave sites really should be on the map of the Island. Anita Harris was such a fascinating person, how she took all the time to consider the different aspects of her will and all the guidelines. I think she would have been a really interesting person to meet.

The Friends thank you, Gail and Elizabeth, for all the enthusiasm you brought to your summer work at the Sanctuary!

We also thank the volunteer trail maintainers for their hard work and help in keeping the trails cleared, safe, and blazed for our summer visitors. Tammy received many appreciative compliments on the nice condition of the Sanctuary trails. Our 2011 volunteer trail maintianers, who collectively spent 65 hours of work on the trails, were: John, Heidi, and Johnnie Cobb, Ned Hildreth, Phil and Carol Neal, Jane Ploughman, John Vincent, Peter and Martha Smith, and Laurie Wardell. In addition, before and after her internship, Gail Manzo spent an additional 320 hours. Our thanks to all of you!

Other Projects and News

     The three students in the Brooksville Elementary School Kindergarten class, led by their teacher, Cammie Lepper, and their physical education teacher, Dwayne Carter, have adpopted a fall Learning Adventure project to hike all of Holbrook's trail before Thanksgiving. As they hike along the trails, they will be searching for items that begin with letter of the alphabet which they are studying, and then recording those items in a photo book. (Some photos are on the previous page.) The class usually hikes on Monday mornings, and people are welcome to join them. The students are looking foward to receiving their "I Hiked Holbrook" T-shirts and certificates upon completion of this project, which they certainly will have earned! With generous reciprocity, the students, staff and families of the school have already given back to Holbrook by hosting a community breakfast, on September 24, as a benefit fro the Friends of Holbrook Island Sanctuary. Staff of the school and friends' Will and Liz Hotchkiss prepared a slideshow and photo display depicting some of the activities, flora, and fauna at the Sanctuary. We thank you for the approximately $500 that you raised!

     Several different entities work together to manage and support Holbrook island Sanctuary State Park, abiding by the guidelines and instructions set forth by Anita Harris in her will, codicil, and trust. The State of Maine (through the Department of Conservation, Bureau of Parks and Lands), Holbrook Island Corporation, and the Friends of Holbrook Island Sanctuary (the citizens' support organization) all work together to manage the operations and finances of the Sanctuary and its place in the state park system.

     The Holbrook Island Sanctuary Corporation, established in 1962, held its annual meeting in August. Officers, who are also members of the Board of Directors, and additional Directors elected for the current year are:

Sandecki, Pres. & Chairman
Richard Bakeman, V-Pres. & V-Chairman
Barbara Weymouth, Treasurer
Cathy Rees, Secretary
Hal Snow, Director
Reta Hunter, Director
Brad Tenney, Director
Ellen Best, Director and Counsel for the Trust

     The Friends of Holbrook Island Sanctuary, established in 1995, also held its annual meeting in August. The state of officers nominated and elected for the coming years is listed below. Cathy Rees would like to retire from her position in this organization at the end of this coming year.

          Cathy Rees, Chaiperson
          Will Hotchkiss, Vice-Chairperson
          Mercuria Cumbo, Secretary
          Barbara Weymouth, Treasurer
         Will & Liz Hotchkiss, Co-Chairpersons of Trails Committee
         Pat Farr, Chairperson of Fundraising Committee
         Martha Smith, Newsletter Editor

Spring 2011
Greeting from the Friends

     By the time you read this the Sanctuary may have emerged from beneath its heavy blanket of snow - then again, maybe not. What a winter this has been! An excellent one for skiing and snowshoeing. Fortunately, most of our wildlife are better equipped to deal with snow without the aid of specialized footwear. Spring is on its way though, the days are getting noticeably longer.

     Tammy Bishop, our new Park Manager, will be coming back to her job in April. We welcome her return. We have budgeted for two full-time college interns again for 10 weeks each this summer. We are hoping to find a couple of hardworking students who want to find out what it takes to keep the Sanctuary running smoothly throughout the busy summer season. The interns will also be responsible for arranging a series of public programs, leading some of them and recruiting experts to lead others. It can be an adventure and a rewarding experience for a young person to spend their summer at the Sanctuary.

     Have you ever wondered about some of the plants and wildlife you have seen along a trail? The Friends are working on an interpretive trail at Fresh Pond. We hope to have it up and running this summer. The "I Hiked Holbrook" program for youngsters is ongoing. This program is designed to get young people outdoors and active. Once they have hiked all of the trails in the Sanctuary, they receive a t-shirt and certificate of completion. I know that some kids have been hiking trails in snowshoes!

     One of our volunteers is also working on a website. We are currently waiting for approval from the Bureau of Parks and Lands to go public. In addition to accessing trail maps from the comfort of your home, we hope to be able to give you the option of viewing Goosefeathers on-line instead of receiving a paper copy. We can also use the website to keep everyone updated on events and programs at the Sanctuary.

     Just a reminder that the Sanctuary has been open all winter and will continue to be open every day of the year. Take some time out for a visit. Every season has something new and inspiring to offer.

Cathy Rees - FHIS Chairperson

Save the Date

     Join birdwatcher extraordinaire, Michael Good of Downeast Nature Tours on Saturday, May 21 at 8:00 AM for a walk through the Sanctuary to spot the newest migrant arrivals and many of our old avian friends. Meet at the Backshore Trail parking lot with sturdy footwear, bug dope and binoculars for a leisurely two hour walk.

In Memoriam

     April 8th marks one year since the death of Francis W. Hatch, Jr. Frank Hatch, although he was born and lived in Massachusetts, had long standing ties to Castine, Maine as a summer resident. The Holbrook Island Sanctuary Corporation, the body responsible for overseeing the Anita Harris Trust fund, was honored to have Frank Hatch as a board member as the Castine representative. He was an experienced advisor and was instrumental in bringing the Corporation and the State together to chart a path forward that would arrest the depletion of the trust fund. He contributed generously to Holbrook Island Sanctuary and to the work of the Friends.

     The HIS Corporation was just one of the many boards and organizations that Frank Hatch participated and worked tirelessly for. He led a long life of public service and as an environmental advocate. As a Massachesttes House of Representative he wrote the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act, the first wetlands protection law in the country. After he left the Massachusetts house he became chairperson of the Conservation Law Foundation. It was under his leadership that the Foundation successfully sued the State of Massachusetts and required them to clean up Boston Harbor. Frank was on the Board of Trustees for Natural Resources Defense Council for over 30 years. In this organization he was instrumental in helping the NRDC form a partnership with the Maine People's Alliance and successfully sued Holtrachem for dumping Mercury in the Penobscot River.

He is much missed by all.

On the Trails

     Friends board member Liz Hotchkiss has been training for a big hike on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) this summer. She has spent a lot of time in the Sanctuary walking and snowshoeing this winter. On average she has been on the trails about three days per a week and has reported seeing a lot tracks from fellow hikers, snowshoers, skiers, and from the resident wildlife. The snow records so many things we may never see, such as the place where an owl left its wing prints in the snow as it snatched a small bird. Liz also took advantage of the ice on fresh Pond to walk right out and check on the Wood Duck boxes.

     The Brooksville Elementary School Explorers Club has been to the Sanctuary a number of times this winter. They got to try out their snowshoes (purchased with funding from the Friends) on the Summit, Mountain Loop and the Ice Works trails. At school they used the snowshoes several other times. The school principal was longing for her own pair one day.

     Some trees are down on the trails, but there is nothing on the trails you cannot get around. There might be some muddy spots for awhile so you will be better off on the higher elevation trails. While the snow and the quiet of the winter are passing, there are still wonderful opportunities for hiking with your friends or in solitude at the Sanctuary.


Winter 2010
Greetings from the Friends
            Now that summer is officially over, we can look back and feel gratified that the weather this year somehow made up for all that rain last summer. This was a great year for everyone’s garden and it turned out to be an exceptional one for the Sanctuary too. Attendance was far above that of last year according to our new Park Manager Tammy Bishop. Tammy got settled in sometime in July and was assisted by our two summer interns Heather Breton and Kris Earl. Together they managed to keep the Sanctuary running smoothly. The trail volunteers did a great job maintaining the trails and according to Tammy, the visitors noticed! We had a number of young people complete the “I Hiked Holbrook” program this summer and we are hoping a few more will finish hiking all the trails before the snow flies this winter.

During this year of transition we have many people to thank for doing a little or a lot of extra work to make this a great summer. Thanks to the Department of Parks and Recreation: Mike Leighton, Blaine Winchester and others for looking after the Sanctuary before Tammy was able to come on full time. Thanks to Phil Farr who volunteered beyond the call of duty. Thanks to the trail volunteers for all their hard work. The Friends extend our gratitude to everyone for their help in keeping the Sanctuary running during this year of transition and extend our thanks to all of our members for your continued support.

Our 1st Work Crew on Fresh Pond Trail

            It was a wonderful fall day in Holbrook Sanctuary on October 2.  The fall foliage was spectacular with the colors of the season.  Thanks to a very special donation to the Sanctuary, earmarked for trail maintenance on the Fresh Pond Trail, the volunteer trail maintainers were called in for a work day.  Martha and Peter Smith, Heidi, John and Johnny Cobb, Michael Maynard, Phil Neal, Ned Hildreth, Jerry Estabrook, Jacky Pike, Jane Ploughman, John Vincent, Gail (from Millinocket), Liz and Will Hotchkiss and Park Manager Tammy Bishop arrived at the trail head to start the project at 9 am sharp. 

            A few weeks earlier Tammy Bishop had traveled down east and procured 4”x 8”x 10’ cedar planking to use as board walk on the wet areas on the trail.  The planks were carried at least one half mile down the trail to where the beavers’ dam had flooded the trail making it impassable without hip waders.  A few of the planks were held back and chain sawed at about 18 inches to provide supports or feet for each of the planks.  Once all the pieces were in place, everyone took turns driving the large spikes through the planks and into the supports making a safe and secure walkway over a very wet area on the trail. Oh my gosh!  It was fun, hard work and very purposeful.  The work was completed in 1/5th the time expected and all participants marveled at what can be done by an energetic dedicated crew of volunteers.  Once the job was completed an unexpected picnic spread provided by Tammy Bishop was shared by all participants.  The trail maintainers are eagerly waiting for next spring and their next work crew call out.  All of the volunteers extend a heartfelt thanks to our anonymous donor.  Thanks to you, we now have a safe, dry trail for our visitors to enjoy!

I Hiked Holbrook

Congratulations goes out to the latest hikers to complete all the trails at the Sanctuary:

Sloan Phillips
Jaden Phillips
Cole Lepper
Jake Lepper
Joseph Bray

I HIKED HOLBROOK ISLAND SANCTURY STATE PARK enjoyed its 3rd season this past summer.

Annual Bird Walk

          The annual bird walk led by Michael Good at the end of May was a success again this year. As we searched and listened for resident and migratory birds, 27 species made their presence known. Michael captured several birds in his spotting scope for all to see. Among the cooperative subjects were the common yellow throat and the black throated green warbler. The very vocal oven bird eluded our sight as usual. We heard another ventriloquist - the winter wren. We strained our ears as we tried to distinguish the chip note of the black-throated green warbler from that of the yellow-rumped warbler. We saw a flock of cedar waxwings busy feeding at the end of the Backshore Trail and we got a brief glimpse at the alder flycatcher and the swamp sparrow at the beaver flowage. While we did not see any unusual or extraordinary birds on the walk, we did get to know all the usual suspects just a little bit better. Many thanks to Michael for fearlessly leading this walk once again.

Birds we saw included:

Alder flycatcher, Black throated green warbler, Blackburnian warbler, Blue-headed vireo, Cedar waxwing, Chickadee, Common yellowthroat, Crows, Golden-crowned kinglet, Grackle, Hairy woodpecker, Hermit thrush, Herring gull, Junko, Mourning dove, Northern parula warbler, Oven bird, Phoebe, Pileated woodpecker, Purple finch, Red-breasted nuthatch, Red-winged blackbird, Robin, Swamp sparrow, White-throated sparrow, Winter wren, Yellow-rumped warbler

Report from the Park Manager

          Tammy Bishop is the new Park Manager at the Sanctuary. She has reported that public use appears to have increased over last year for the season. She thinks that the State’s Passport Program has helped increase visitation among all state parks as well as the Sanctuary. Tammy estimates visitation by checking trailheads, and disappearance of brochures.

            Tammy was very happy with the interns that Phil Farr had hired for the summer and was appreciative of their work. Two groups used the barn over the summer and there were a number of day use groups, some of them quite large. She has been thankful for the work of the Friends and for all the members who contribute money to support the Sanctuary and the various programs. The “Build a Birdhouse” program resulted in over 400 kits being assembled. The interns also led several programs. Tammy praised the trail volunteers and Will and Liz Hotchkiss for their work. She received many compliments on the condition of the trails throughout the summer.

          Tammy handled most of the equipment problems that inevitably happen throughout the summer, but needed to purchase a new outboard motor. Thankfully, funds from the State were available. The solar system on the island is running about half of the lights and outlets in the barn and seems to have functioned very well. Tammy has winterized all the equipment and has put in her last day for the season. She will be back on the job next spring, but in the meantime, the Sanctuary is still open for your enjoyment. The road to the bar will be plowed during the winter and we hope to see lots of you out hiking, snowshoeing and skiing before the sap begins to run again.