Workshops, Events & Other Programs

There are a variety of programs for adult learners, professional development opportunities for educators, and fun events on Hurricane Island! Please check out our Program Schedule to see what we already have scheduled for 2017 or read below to learn about the different program opportunities on Hurricane.

Bird Banding Workshops

We offer a 7-day introductory course and a 4-day advanced course for both amateur birders and professional biologists to learn the mist-netting and banding skills necessary to participate in monitoring and research programs. These programs feature both hands on experience and in-classroom lectures and discussions.

Wilderness Medical Associates Certification Courses

Become certified as a Wilderness First Responder (WFR), or extend your EMS training.


Spend 2 days on beautiful Hurricane Island gaining first-hand understanding of Permaculture design with Jesse Watson of Midcoast Permaculture Design. Participants will learn how to design their home gardens for resilience and sustainability.   

Courage Earth Retreat

Explore the intersection of our natural and built worlds and how we can learn from “nature as architect.” If you are concerned about our collective mistreatment of our environment and would you like to reconnect with nature, experience a sense of renewal, share a love for the outdoors with kindred spirits and committed peers, and explore actions that you can take in your own life to steward our environment, please join us on Hurricane! 

Learning Retreat for School Leaders

Our 3-day retreat is designed to support school leaders tackling the real challenges they face, within an invigorating and supportive environment. The retreat will help participants acquire new leadership skills, provide time for action planning and the creation of specific plans of improvement.  Participants will work in their own teams as well as in other groupings guided by skilled facilitators, who will assist with your leadership planning.

Teacher/Educator Day

We are offering a free trip to explore and learn more about the programs we offer through the Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership.  If you are a teacher or administrator who would like to learn more about our professional development programs, school programs, and summer programs, we want you to come visit for the day!

Unearthing the quarry town: an archaeological inventory of Hurricane Island

Come learn about Hurricane Island's history as a quarry town and help participate in the archaeological inventory that is already occurring on the island.

Farm-to-Table Dinners

Join us for an exquisite farm-to-table dinner on Hurricane Island. We will be celebrating with the bounty of our beautiful gardens, the skill and artistry of scratch cooking, and the incredible scenery of Hurricane Island. The dinner is prepared and presented by Hurricane Island's dear friend Ladleah Dunn, a trained chef, experienced mariner, and talented farmer who specializes in local foods.




Volunteer Days

Interested in donning work gloves and spending the day on Hurricane Island? We are looking for hearty volunteers interested in gardening, trail maintenance, shingling, painting, cabin improvement, and other projects around the island! In return for a little sweat equity, we will provide you with free lunch and time to hike and explore the island at the end of the day!


If you are looking for summer student program opportunities, please click here.

7-day Beginner Bird Banding Workshop &

4-day Advanced Bird Banding Workshop

Hurricane Island has to be one of my favorite places I’ve banded in this country. The species we’ve captured there range from the bright and colorful Northern Parulas and American Redstarts, to the subtle and challenging Song Sparrows and Winter Wrens, providing an excellent place for beginners to learn and for practiced banders to hone their ageing skills on a variety of birds, all in some of the most gorgeous scenery the Northeast has to offer.
— Lauren Helton, Instructor, IBP

Are you interested in becoming a bird bander? Hurricane Island is happy to offer bird banding workshops taught by world-class instructors from The Institute for Bird Populations

The Institute for Bird Populations studies the abundance, vital rates, and ecology of bird populations to enable scientifically sound conservation of birds and their habitats. They collaborate locally, nationally, and globally with individuals, government agencies, and NGOs in diverse fields to assess the effects of land management actions, climate change, and other ecological stressors on bird populations, and prescribe science-based solutions. 

Why do we band birds?

Bird banding data are useful in both research and management projects. By banding birds, we can identify individuals and track their dispersal and migration, behavior and social structure, life-span and survival rate, and reproductive success and population growth. For example, when banded birds are captured, released alive, and then reported from somewhere else we can trace the movements of that individual. Banded birds have showed us that some species take different routes when they travel south or return north, and once a bird is banded continued observations can be made about that bird without handling it again.

Beginner Bird Banding, July 16-22, 2017

Cost: $2100, Includes all transportation between Hurricane Island and the mainland, all food, housing, and instruction

The seven-day introductory courses are designed to provide both amateur birders and professional biologists with the skills necessary to participate in monitoring and research programs involving bird banding.

Skills taught include:

This course was one of the highlights of my career. Holding a passerine in the hand brings an even greater appreciation for these species.
— Bird Banding Participant
  • Operation of mist-nets and safe extraction of birds
  • Bird-handling skills
  • In-hand ageing and sexing techniques
  • Scoring and recording data using MAPS protocol and forms

Lectures and discussions cover:

  • Avian life histories, energetics, molts, and plumages
  • Banding ethics
  • The permitting process
  • The role of banding in research and monitoring

Advanced Bird Banding, July 12-15, 2017

Cost: $1250, Includes all transportation between Hurricane Island and the mainland, all food, housing, and instruction

The four-day advanced classes are designed for experienced banders who wish to improve their sexing and ageing skills. Participants fine-tune the banding skills they already possess and advance their comprehension of molt strategies and ability to recognize molts limits and plumages on birds in hand. We focus on understanding and identifying the differences between specific adult age classes using the Identification Guide to North American Birds by Peter Pyle. We also spend time addressing advanced skills such as skulling, refining the scoring of various characteristics, and interpreting these characteristics for age and sex determinations.

Before attending an advanced class, participants should be able to handle and set up mist-nets; be able to extract birds from mist-nets; and have familiarity with ageing hatch-year versus after-hatch-year birds.

Wilderness Medical Associates Certification Programs

Early Bird Discount! Receive $50 off your course fee when you register before March 1st.

Hurricane Island offers several certification courses through Wilderness Medical Associates.

*Please wait to purchase all plane tickets and secure all travel arrangements until 30 days before the WMA course start date, or be sure to get travel insurance. If we have to cancel a course due to low enrollment we will notify you by then.

Wilderness Advanced Life Support, May 10-15, 2017

Cost: $1200 (Includes all transportation between Hurricane Island and the mainland, all food, housing, and instruction)

The Wilderness Advanced Life Support (WALS) is WMA International’s most advanced level course. Our 36-hour course is run over 4 - 5 days.  It is open to certified or licensed advanced level medical practitioners involved in rescue, mass casualty, and remote outdoor environments or urban areas in disaster or crisis. This constantly-evolving course is highlighted by discussions of new and innovative ideas and the appropriate application of technologies. The learning environment is challenging, stimulating, and fun.  The cost structure for this course is based on licensure. The appropriate cost will be applied when you register and make a deposit. Please email with questions.

Wilderness First Responder (5 day class), June 7-12, 2017

Cost: $1050 (Includes all transportation between Hurricane Island and the mainland, all food, housing, and instruction)

wilderness first responder group.JPG

Wilderness First Responder (WFR) is the definitive course in medical training for outdoor educators, guides, SAR team members, and others who work or play in remote areas. The curriculum includes all of the essential principles and skills required to assess and manage medical problems in isolated and extreme environments. The five-day format is for individuals and sponsors with less time available for on-site training and requires 25 hours of pre-course preparation. All eligible students who successfully complete the course will receive Wilderness First Responder, Anaphylaxis, and Healthcare Provider level CPR certifications.  No previous medical training is required. Students must be at least 16 years old to participate in the 7-day course. Those under 18 years of age require the written consent of a parent or guardian. Students must be 18 years or older to participate in the 5-day course.

Wilderness EMT, May 15-20, 2017

Cost: $1050 (Includes all transportation between Hurricane Island and the mainland, all food, housing, and instruction)

The WEMT curriculum builds on EMS training and expertise to meet the special challenges of the remote and unconventional environment. It is designed for medical personnel working in rural EMS, search and rescue, law enforcement, disaster response, and on wilderness expeditions. Like all WMA International training, it represents the best application of the available science balanced by considerable clinical experience and the reality of providing medical care in difficult and dangerous places.

Wilderness First Aid (WFA), May 26-28, 2017

Cost: $450 (Includes all transportation between Hurricane Island and the mainland, all food, housing, and instruction)

The best and most comprehensive course of its kind to offer relevant and realistic first-aid training for seasonal outdoor activities or short term wilderness endeavors and pursuits.  Wilderness First Aid is a two-day introduction to general medical concepts and basic life support skills. It is targeted to the outdoor enthusiast on day trips or short adventures. The course is taught by professional instructors with significant patient care and backcountry experience.


Introduction to Permaculture

Join us this Spring for an Introduction to Permaculture on Hurricane Island! Spend 2 days on beautiful Hurricane Island gaining first-hand understanding of Permaculture design with Jesse Watson of Midcoast Permaculture Design. Participants will learn how to design their home gardens for resilience and sustainability.  Permaculture is a design method and set of techniques for creating resilient human habitats while increasing ecosystem health.  It is a synthesis of wise human behavior taken from both modern and ancient sources of inspiration.  


Topics include:

  • Designing for Resilience & Sustainability
  • Permaculture Design Methodology
  • Goal Articulation
  • Analysis Techniques and Options
  • Tree Crops & Perennial Food Systems
  • Home/Garden/Farm Applications
  • Reading the Landscape and Data Collection
  • Real Life Examples and Strategies
  • Dispel Feelings of Not Knowing ‘Where to Start’

Where & When: Weekend of June 8-10, 2018 on Hurricane Island

Cost: $425 for 3 days.  Includes all transportation to/from the island, food, housing, course materials, access to staff and facilities.  12 contact hours. Limited to 15 participants

Facilitated by Jesse Watson of Midcoast Permaculture Design, the Midcoast’s premier edible landscape design firm

Students often come away from our courses with new ways of seeing, thinking and acting in the world.  We strive to give participants in our courses a positive vision for the future and practical tools to make it so.  Register at the link below!

Co-sponsored by:  Midcoast Permaculture Design and Hurricane Island

Link to testimonials:

Midcoast Permaculture Design

For more information please email or

Courage Earth Retreat on Hurricane Island

Check back soon to learn more about the Courage Earth retreat for 2017!

Includes three-nights lodging in rustic camp-style bunkhouses; meals of delicious, whole-grain, organic food; facilitation fees and retreat materials; and boat transportation from Rockland, Maine (mainland) to Hurricane Island. Partial scholarships available.

Space is limited.

Program Information:

Come join us for a Circle of Trust® Retreat on Hurricane Island, ME to renew your relationship with the natural world, others and yourself!

“We are all islands, living in a common sea,” wrote Ann Morrow Lindburgh. Does spending time on an island call to you as a way to nourish your own island soul to address the sea and storms we are living in with courage and attentiveness? Come explore island
time and your own currents, ebbs and flows that make you whole.

Experience the beauty and serenity of Hurricane Island; listen to the sound of the surf and the gulls; breathe the scent of spruce and balsam fir; touch and taste the sea around you; and be inspired by the rising and setting sun and the shimmering sparkles of light reflected off the water and into your soul. By deepening our relationship with the gifts of land and sea, we recover our own gifts to bring back to the shared commons with more clarity and energy.

Who? If you are interested in reconnecting with your inner nature in an inspiring, outdoor setting and reflecting thoughtfully on how your relationship with nature inspires a deeper connection to self, others and the world, come join us for a life- changing adventure on the coast of Maine. Moderate physical mobility is required to navigate the island pathways and carry your bags to and from the boat to the cabins.

Facilitators: Dave Oakes and Holly Wilkinson are Courage & Renewal facilitators from Northern New England who share a love of the land and sea, and are excited by the possibilities for renewal and a rekindled sense of courage that this unique landscape invokes. Using the framework of Courage & Renewal’s Circle of Trust®, built on the work and writing of Parker Palmer, we offer this retreat out at sea on island time where reflection, play and purpose are part of the elements! If you are concerned about our collective mistreatment of our environment and would you like to reconnect with nature, experience a sense of renewal, share a love for the outdoors with kindred spirits and committed peers, and explore actions that you can take in your own life to steward our earth, please feel warmly invited to join us for this 4 day Courage Earth retreat where we will:

  • Pause, be still, disconnect from technology and reconnect with the rhythms of the natural world, self, and others.
  • Spend evening solo time holding our inner questions in the companionship of summer island wisdom
  • Experience a community of mutual support while exploring how our lives can make a BIG difference in a world of great need.
  • Strengthen our capacity to ask open-ended questions, listen whole-heartedly, and share with others what is most meaningful.
  • Explore how to lead and serve out of a place of courage and wholeness.
  • Develop an action plan for stewarding what you believe in and love.

In large group, small group, and solitary settings, you will explore the intersection of our natural and built worlds and how we can learn from “nature as architect.” The problems we are facing are big, but the solutions are BIGGER. Fritjof Capra said: “Healing the universe is an inside job.” Readings, poetry, music, reflective time on the island etc. will provide an invitation for this inner healing work. Note: We will be spending significant time outdoors with the wind, waves, and weather.

Does this resonate with you? To apply for this program or to request additional information, please contact Dave Oakes at: or by phone (207) 230-4025 or Holly Wilkinson at, or (802) 922-1425. Your application and payment can be e-mailed or snail-mailed to us.

Join us for a Place-Based/Project Based Education Retreat on Hurricane Island (September 22-23)


Why Place-Based Learning on Hurricane Island? Hurricane Island is an ideal location for teachers of all grade-levels to experience the power of place-based learning first hand. Using the island’s woods, waters, history, and sustainability systems as examples, participants will design authentic and engaging place-based learning opportunities for their students.


Who is involved?  Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership, Island Institute, Herring Gut Learning Center and Schoodic Institute


Where will it be? Hurricane Island - we will send you lodging info and a list of what you’ll need to bring.


When will it be?  This two day training will be on Friday, Sept. 22 and Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. Participants will travel to Hurricane from Rockland. Hurricane staff will provide transportation to and from the island.  


What are the goals of the training?

  • To bring interested K-12 teachers and experienced place-based educators together to develop place-based education learning experiences for students.
  • To connect island and coastal teachers to each other and to the participating educational support organizations (Herring Gut, Hurricane and II)
  • To explore Hurricane Island and enjoy a retreat style workshop that blends instruction, dedicated work time, and time to relax in a offshore, offline, and off the grid setting.


What will we do? Participants will be exposed to a wide-range of hands on, experiential activities based on the marine and terrestrial environments, sustainability systems including solar energy and composting, island history and the granite industry as well as team building and problem-solving challenges. Instruction in place-based lesson plan development and implementation, standards alignment, and authentic learning data collection and research will be offered. See participant agenda here.


How much will it cost?

The cost of the training (including all meals and transportation) is $300 per person and $250 for teams of 2 or more. Some financial assistance may be available if the cost is a barrier to your participation.

Will CEUs be offered? YES!

How do I sign up? 

A preliminary agenda will be posted in the coming weeks. In the meantime, please feel free to contact us if you have questions or want more information.

Jenn Page —
Yvonne Thomas —
Sam Belknap —


4th Annual Learning Retreat for Maine School Leaders to be held June 26th-28th, 2017!

If you would like to design an individual school retreat separate from our Learning Retreat, please contact Dr. Jenn Page via email or phone to discuss options for your team! (Email:, Cell: 207-992-6362)

The Hurricane Island Foundation is excited to announce the fourth annual Learning Retreat for Maine School Leaders! We invite teachers, principals, and superintendents to join us on Hurricane Island for a retreat that past participants have called “simply amazing” and an “inspiring and energizing experience”. 

Our retreat is designed to support prospective and existing teams of school leaders tackling real challenges, within an invigorating and supportive environment. Retreat facilitators will meet with school leadership teams prior to the retreat to prioritize team goals and clarify objectives to ensure the retreat meets the needs of individual teams.  The retreat itself is a dynamic mix of facilitated time for leaders to collaborate on critical school initiatives and increase their shared leadership capacities, including opportunities for personal and professional renewal on the Island.  Participants will leave the experience with a renewed sense of purpose, a stronger vision for their team, and clear direction for addressing the challenges they face as a team.

Who: School/district teams of teacher leaders (mentors, department heads, team leaders, etc.), principals, and/or superintendents

Where:  Hurricane Island, Penobscot Bay (12 miles offshore from Rockland Harbor)

Why Hurricane Island? Hurricane Island offers a naturally beautiful setting for reflection, renewal, and risk-taking. Whole group presentations, small group discussions, experiential team leadership opportunities, and time with colleagues occur within a backdrop of ocean vistas, lofty evergreens, and granite underpinnings. Imagine being away from the distractions and stressors of everyday life, among a community of learners, departing the island feeling invigorated and refreshed. The Island itself becomes an outdoor living laboratory in which to explore and develop the intrapersonal and interpersonal aspects of leadership. Even the boat ride over is a chance to meet new friends with whom to begin your leadership adventures. Our offshore and off-the-grid environment encourages you to unplug and immerse yourself in the experience.

Facilitators to include:

Dr. Linda Bowe (Graduate Instructor, UMaine, elementary principal, & school coach)

Jeff Crawford (School facilitator, retired teacher and principal)

Dianne Waters (Adult professional development coordinator, retired principal)

Todd West (Current principal and former teacher)

Note: If you are interested in learning more about the retreat, please contact coordinator Jenn Page at Preparation for the retreat will involve a facilitator meeting with team members to prioritize goals & objectives to accomplish while at the retreat. (Follow-up facilitation services will be available after the retreat for an additional cost).

Apply to bring your team of 2 or more today (form below)!  There is no charge to apply. Priority application deadline is March 31st and total capacity is capped at 30 participants. Note: As of 4/7/17 we still have room in the retreat.

Cost: $525/person (Teams greater than 4 receive a $25/person discount)

Includes lodging, meals, and boat transportation to Hurricane Island. CEUs awarded.

PLEASE NOTE: You cannot save your responses once you have started. Additionally, some responses require prior consultation with your team. We suggest editing your responses in a separate document that you save and then transferring them to this online form when you are ready. A word document with all of the questions is available for download by clicking here.

Your Name *
Your Name
Would you be one of the participants in the retreat? *
Is your team newly formed (this school year) or established? *
Who makes up your team? *
Check all that apply
Please list all known team members and indicate if there are any TBD members
Please indicate short and long term goals. Short term goals are likely broader than what can be entirely accomplished at the retreat.
If possible, indicate whether your goals center around a process (how you work together, changes in operations in the school, etc.) or a product (teacher evaluation criteria, curriculum document, etc.)

Participants from the 2015 Learning Retreat for School Leaders

Participants from the 2013 Learning Retreat for School Leaders

Educators! We want you to experience Hurricane Island

We are offering a free trip to explore and learn more about the programs we offer through the Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership.  If you are a teacher or administrator who would like to learn more about our professional development programs, school programs, and summer programs, we want you to come visit for the day!  Teachers: while we are a perfect location for science programs, we offer interdisciplinary offerings merging history, art, math, and English into our programs and we would be happy to work with you to tailor a program to your needs. Administrators: we offer a rejuvenating retreat location for you and your staff to work on the issues that matter most to your school.  Whether you just need a place to get away and focus or you would like professional facilitation, we work with you to meet all of your needs.  Our educator day this year is on April 22nd (Earth Day) and all you need to do is get yourself to and from our office in Rockland. We will take care of the rest!


9:30: Depart Rockland from Journey's End Marina
10:30: Arrive on Hurricane Island
10:30-11:00: Welcome, introductions, overview of the Hurricane Island Foundation and programs
11:00-12:00:  Learn about and participate in island research projects
12:00-12:30: Tour of facilities
12:30-1:15: Lunch {provided}
1:15- 2:15: Full island hike, "walk and talk" about program possibilities on Hurricane
2:15-3:00: More information about our programs, our field station, and our vision for the future of Hurricane Island
3:00-3:30: Final questions, feedback, resources for teachers
3:30: Depart Hurricane Island
5:00: Arrive back in Rockland

This opportunity is available on a first come, first serve basis, please fill out the form below to reserve your spot. We will follow up with you to confirm your spot and send you additional information about your upcoming adventure with us.

Name *
Phone *
Teachers: What grades and subjects do you teach? Administrators: What is your role in your school or district?
Please include any dietary restrictions and allergies

Unearthing the Quarry Town: An Archaeological Inventory of Hurricane Island

A historic town planning map of Hurricane Island from 1910

A historic town planning map of Hurricane Island from 1910

Program Content:

Come experience the history of Hurricane!! This 7-day experiential-based program for educators, and others with an interest in basic archaeology, offers a field component, hands-on lab analysis, and the opportunity to engage in authentic research unique to Hurricane Island. The program will provide participants a solid understanding of the process of setting up dig sites, creating an inventory of artifacts, and practical, hands-on experience excavating different sites around Hurricane Island. For teachers, the fieldwork, readings, and group reflections will build a practical understanding of how archaeology can enhance classroom instruction and enable your students to become active, engaged investigators of their past. The program offers professional development Continuing Education Units (CEU) for recertification credits.

Much of the program will focus on continuing the initial archaeological inventory of Hurricane started in 2015, including:

  • Surveying geology & stratigraphy to identify likely sites
  • Mapping site location and dimensions
  • Understanding 4 main types of artifacts: Metals, Glass, Ceramics, and Pipes
  • Cleaning, identifying, and recording artifacts retrieved
1890 photograph of the inside of one of Hurricane's granite carving sheds

1890 photograph of the inside of one of Hurricane's granite carving sheds

It is recommended that participants read In Small Things Forgotten: An Archaeology of Early American Life, by James Deetz before the program.

About Hurricane Island's Granite Quarry:

By 1826 the quality of Vinalhaven's granite was discovered, which started a 100-year period when the area was one of Maine's largest quarrying centers. The granite quarry on Hurricane Island opened in 1870 and operated until 1914. During that time, the island hosted thousands of people who lived and worked on Hurricane. The remnants of their life can be easily spied all over the island in the form of granite foundations, large iron quarrying equipment, and discarded granite carvings, but no formal inventory has been made to document the smaller artifacts around the island.



After a 38-year career of teaching History and Archaeology in the Brunswick school system Fred Koerber currently makes his livelihood as a lobsterman. An avid historian and environmental advocate, he has served on various public service committees including the Brunswick Recreation and Open Space Task Force and the Comprehensive Planning Committee. In addition, he has been a board member of the Pejepscot Historical Society, the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, and Maine Archaeological Society. When not on the ocean, he is often actively engaged with high school and college students in local historic research projects.

How to get to Rockland, Maine for a Hurricane Island program

By car:

The easiest way to find our Rockland office using GPS or google maps is to type in "Rockland Municipal Fish Pier" into your navigation system. Our office is located at 19 Commercial Street, nestled in Journey's End Marina around sailboats and working waterfront. Long-term parking is located walking distance from our office on Wharf street. Parking passes can be purchased from Journey's End Marina. Click here to download a one-page map showing directions to our office.

By bus:

Concord Coachlines is the only public bus service which comes to Rockland once a day. The Northbound Maine Coastal Route goes from Logan Airport in Boston (departing 11:35 am) to the Rockland Ferry Terminal (arriving 4:10 pm), stopping in Portland, Maine, and other coastal Maine cities along the route. Once you arrive at the Rockland Ferry Terminal, you are walking distance from our office, where the boat departs for programs. You can also call a taxi, or if we have several participants coming from the ferry we can arrange a pick-up for you.

By plane:

The closest airport to our office is the Owls Head or Knox County Regional Airport. From there you are a 10-15 minute taxi ride from our Rockland, Maine office (19 Commercial Street).

Lodging in Rockland, Maine:

The closest lodging (5 minute walk) from our Rockland Office is the Tradewinds Motor Inn