Island Updates


Riley School

We enjoyed hosting the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students from the Riley School for a two-day exploration of Hurricane. There time on the island started off with lessons in leadership which were supplemented with fun group challenges and team building activities. The students identified some positive leadership qualities such as being a good listener and clear communicator, how to identify group needs, leading by example, and allowing for everyone’s voice to be heard. They also brainstormed ways in which they could apply these leadership skills back at Riley. 

Students learn how to band lobsters

The afternoon was filled with a variety of activities. Oakley and Josie led them on a history hike around the island, stopping at different points of interest to explain about the quarrying era that used to reside on Hurricane over a century ago. Alice led a lesson about lobsters and the lobster fishery, followed by a hands on art exercise. The evening closed with songs and s’mores around the campfire.

Their second day on the island started off with a hike around the perimeter trail with stops along the way to look at the botany and wildlife that live on Hurricane. An adventure into the intertidal between Two Bush Island and Hurricane proved to be exciting as students flipped over rocks and seaweed to find and identify sea creatures. Some students were brave enough to eat a live green crab. Their last afternoon was spent rocking climbing on the main face above the quarry. Everyone got a chance to try a few routes and expressed words of encouragement to their classmates as they challenged themselves to reach greater heights.

We had a blast with the Riley School students and hope they return to Hurricane soon for another fun filled visit!

Students enjoy a clear, sunny view at the high cliffs on Hurricane

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LNT collaborative programs with Overland

This summer The Hurricane Island Center For Science and Leadership collaborated with Overland to host six separate groups as a stop-over on their Maine Coast Leadership expeditions. The goal for their time on Hurricane was to become certified Leave No Trace trainers. 

To become certified trainers students had to pick one of the seven LNT principles and make a creative presentation on that principle that they then could teach to the rest of the group. This method of training helped students practice public speaking and leadership as they taught their group in an interactive lesson. Several of the Overland students got very creative with their LNT activities. Some highlights included an LNT game show, which was a Jeopardy game created by students that divided categories built around one of the priciples. Some students led the whole group on a hike to find proper pristine camping areas, which had to be 200 feet from water and on a proper camping surface.

Students enjoy some marshmallows cooked on using the mound fire technique.

Students enjoy some marshmallows cooked on using the mound fire technique.

A favorite principle among all groups was “Minimize Campfire Impact.” During this lesson kids got the chance to learn how to make a proper campfire that has no impact on the environment. This required students putting a tarp on the ground and covering it with six inches of dirt. They then found sticks that were already dead, down, and smaller than their wrists, as well as some already down birch bark, which is a great natural fire starter. After they started their fire with their collected sticks and bark we had time to roast and enjoy s’mores. When the fire had completely burned out students were able to lift the tarp and distribute the soil and ash evenly across the ground. The earth underneath the tarp doesn’t even get warm!

Another favorite principle for students to teach was dispose of waste properly. Some kids showed the proper technique for catching food particles in gray water, and how to disperse water (and toothpaste) evenly over a landscape rather than pour it on the ground all in one spot. Others showed the technique for disposing of human waste properly, specifically by acting out the “8 D’s of Dumping”: Desire, Distance, Dig, Drop, Dump, Disguise, Disinfect, and most importantly, Dance.

We thoroughly enjoyed welcoming over 60 Overland students to Hurricane this summer, as well as their amazing leaders Abby Conyers, Fischer Hazen, Maggie Hughes, and Jeremiah Firman. We hope to welcome Overland back next year! 

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Retreat for School Leaders

Twenty teacher leaders and principals from across Maine came to the Hurricane Island Foundation’s inaugural Retreat for School Leaders in July 2013. This course offered “an opportunity to extend your own success as a leader of teaching and learning in your school.”

Over three days, the retreat blended small-group consultation, active team initiatives, and opportunities for conversation with a distinguished staff including Roland Barth, Gordon Donaldson (primary facilitator), Tom Edwards, Gloria Delsandro, and Sue Palfrey.


Hurricane Island proved a unique environment for leadership lessons.  Participants brought “leadership challenges” they face at school and left with plans to address one or two of these challenges.  The personal attention each received during the retreat was a highpoint for many: “I enjoyed being able to talk about issues and really focus on mine…  I found similarities with others’,” one leader reported.  Another said, “It was valuable to hear about other people’s challenges; it added clarity to my own.”

Participants took to the trails in a team-learning initiative, rowed in the waters of Hurricane Sound in a team-coordination initiative, and joined in service teams to contribute to the island’s learning infrastructure. "Conversation focused on leadership dynamics within teams and the strengthening of professional cultures in schools. Living together as a community of learners in the island’s camp-like setting added immeasurably to the Retreat for many. “There was a lot of motivation and energy,” said one participant. “People were very supportive,” reported another, “I was surprised by the trust given by the group.”

All declared, this first Retreat a resounding success.  HIF plans to build on this experience to offer more leadership learning opportunities to teacher leaders and administrators from Maine schools.  The island’s potential as a learning opportunity for leaders will grow in the future.  One teacher leader said it best: “I expected I’d do more listening [when I came to Hurricane] and not as much being listened to; that made this very powerful for me and [my fellow teacher leader from my school.]”


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