Short Course on Island History, June 2019

Harpswell Heritage Land Trust (HHLT) is offering a Short Course on Island History in June of 2019. This series provides a stimulating, in-depth learning opportunity for adults. We recruit knowledgeable and passionate instructors and class sizes are kept small.

Fees are per two-session topic: $60 for HHLT members and $70 for non-members (click here for more information about joining as a member). This fee includes a one-and-a-half-hour classroom session and a four-hour field trip on an island, including boat transportation by Seacoast Tours of Freeport.

If you would like to sign up for the classroom session only, you are welcome to do so for $5.

Because the field trip builds upon knowledge from the classroom session, we ask that you not sign up for the field trip if you do not expect to also attend the classroom session on the same topic.

Registration is first-come, first-served. We will maintain a waiting list when courses fill to capacity. Scholarships are available.

Both field trips are full but there is still space in the classroom sessions. Click here to register. Email outreach@hhltmaine.org to get on the waiting list.

Malaga Island

Classroom session: Monday, June 17, 6-7:30 p.m. at Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, 153 Harpswell Neck Road, Harpswell

Field trip: Saturday, June 22, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Malaga Island. Boat transportation provided from Holbrook Wharf. Please bring your own lunch and water.

Malaga Island, located at the mouth of the New Meadows River in Phippsburg, has an important cultural history. The island was home to a mixed-race fishing community from the mid-1800s to 1912 when the residents were forcibly removed by the State of Maine. Since acquiring the island, Maine Coast Heritage Trust has worked with various partners, including the University of Southern Maine, to better understand the island’s archaeological history and to help share this unfortunate story from Maine’s past. Kate McBrien and Caitlin Gerber will be sharing the story of Malaga’s past, present, and future.

Getting on and off Malaga Island can be a bit tricky with seaweed and rocks to maneuver around. Once on the island, there are bugs and poison ivy. We recommend layers and bug spray.

Kate McBrien is an historian and independent museum professional, having most recently served as the Chief Curator and Director of Public Engagement for the Maine Historical Society. In 2012, she curated the award-winning exhibit Malaga Island, Fragmented Lives for the Maine State Museum in Augusta, Maine. She continues to research this history and works with community descendants to uncover and document their past.

As a Regional Land Steward for Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT), Caitlin Gerber works with a variety of partners and volunteers, to care for MCHT’s popular island preserves in Casco Bay. She also manages the Land Conservation Internship Program—providing Maine college students work at land trusts—and helps manage MCHT’s volunteer program. Caitlin has an undergraduate degree in Marine Biology from Dalhousie University and a Masters degree in Community Planning and Development: Land Use and Environment from University of Southern Maine. She was born and raised in Maine and feels fortunate to play a role in conserving the coast.

Eagle Island

Classroom session: Thursday, June 27 from 6-7:30 p.m. at Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, 153 Harpswell Neck Road, Harpswell

Field trip: Saturday, June 29 from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Eagle Island. Boat transportation provided from the Dolphin Marina and Restaurant. Please bring your own lunch and water.

The primary focus of the presentation will be Admiral Robert E. Peary’s naval career, Arctic explorations and generous family whose donation of Eagle Island in 1967 enabled it to become a focal point of civic engagement and the national treasure that it is today. Featuring historic photographs, the presentation will traverse through decades of history and explore Eagle Island from its geologic formation to its recent designation as a national historic landmark. Participants of the course will be prepared with a strong foundation of knowledge to build upon when they visit Eagle Island.

Owen Blease manages Eagle Island State Historic Site for the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry. He takes great pleasure in engaging volunteers and park staff in projects that preserve Eagle Island’s cultural and environmental resources, enhance the experience of visitors, and contribute to the success of outdoor recreation in Maine.