Natural History Week at Bearnstow

June 2228, 2014

Bearnstow lies on 65 acres of nearly pristine woodland alongside 2,400 feet of Parker Pond’s rocky shoreline. In a walk along the trails beside the lake and the brook, we can see a vast variety of vegetationaccording to one state forester, “more than any other site I have visited.” Since 1922 the property’s natural environment has been carefully protected, first by Colby College biology professor Webster Chester, and then by Bearnstow.

We have a registered State of Maine “Big Tree” (an Alleghany service berry), erratic boulders, clay subsoil, ground pines, trailing arbutus, five kinds of native evergreens visible from one vista, reindeer moss, and lichen once used to make lavender dye. The pure water of Parker Pond is phenomenal: over the years it has never failed to test drinking safe.



Attend Natural History Week 2014

Scheduled for June 2228, join us for the entire weekor for as many days as you canof informal exploration and investigation of Bearnstow’s great biological diversity. Walk the trails with visiting naturalists and attend their presentations. Contributions by daytime guests are requested for the nature walks and presentations. Lunches and dinners will also be available: lunch $10, dinner $15. Call 207-293-2280 for reservations.

Accommodations are provided for overnight guests (see Housing & Meals). Arrive on Sunday, June 22 (or later in the week), and stay for as many days as you wish through Saturday noon, June 28. Enjoy the other facilities Bearnstow has to offer — cook hot dogs and s’mores outdoors, swim, canoe, and enjoy quiet time by the lake. Fees for overnight guests are: $75.00 first day per person, $60 per day subsequent days; children under 10 (housed with parents) half price. Register by downloading and printing the Guest Registration form: PDF version or MSWord version.

Watch this page for announcements of visiting naturalists and their pesentation topics as they become available.



Natural History Week 2013

Bearnstow was pleased to present four natural history programs in four days during the final week of June 2013. These included our own local naturalist and a horticulturist from New York, two foresters from the Maine State Forestry Service, a freshwater biologist from the Nature Conservancy, and a local archaeologist. Photos in the slide shows below capture only a few moments of the week’s presentations. Hold mouse over photos to pause slide changes.

Monday, June 24, Carol Gregory, Bearnstow Staff Naturalist, and Jack Gambino, Horticulturist, Former Parks Supervisor, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation. See program (PDF).

Tuesday, June 25, Kevin Doran, Natural Science Educator, Maine Forest Service; and Morten Moesswilde, District Forester, Maine Forest Service. See program (PDF).


Wednesday, June 26: David Courtemanch, Freshwater Science and Policy Specialist, The Nature Conservancy. Assisted by Matt Scott, formerly of the TNC. See program (PDF).


Thursday, June 27: Mark Hedden, Archeologist, Vienna, Maine. Showing of the documentary, The Petroglyphs of Maine See program (PDF).




Naturalists’ Week at Bearnstow Summer 2012
Held August 26 to September 1

Pete Warny (ecologist, New York City) and Alene Onion (invertebrate biologist, New York
State Department of Environmental Conservation) at the Naturalists’ Week at Bearnstow


Peter Warny, a former ecologist with the Nature Conservancy and National Audubon Society, travels extensively across America, focusing on wetlands habitats and documenting changes in the food webs composed of aquatic insects, fish, amphibians, and reptiles. Peter led nature walks around the camp to examine plants, animals, and the geology of rocks and minerals. During evening presentations, Peter spoke about recent field surveys to Louisiana marshes and the Florida Gulf of Mexico as well as current eco-phenomena in the Northeast, in both urban and rural landscapes such as New York, Cape Cod, and Pennsylvania.

The slide show gives highlights of the August 28 nature walk at The Ledges and along Uncle Daniel’s Brook, led by Pete Warny. Photos by Dasha Chernova



Alene Onion with her daughter
on the Hudson River

Alene Onion is the coordinator of the New York State WAVE program, which stands for “Wadeable Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators” and harvests the effort of numerous volunteers to define the water quality in New York State. Aquatic macroinvertebrates are small invertebrates visible by eye that live solely in aquatic ecosystems. Scientists and habitat managers use these organisms as bioindicators—“canaries in the coal mine”—to tell us if the water body has been impacted by a pollution event. Healthy water bodies will have an abundant diversity of aquatic macroinvertebrates, whereas polluted systems will have only the most robust creatures.

Alene is an employee of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. She lives in Albany, New York, with her daughter and husband and frequently travels to her family’s home on Parker Pond. As a child she regularly attended day camp at Bearnstow.

On Monday, August 27, Alene brought us to the sandy beach at the cove, and our group found and identified numerous invertebrates in the sand and under rocks. The verdict: Parker Pond’s water quality is excellent.