by Lena Gallitano, North Carolina Audubon Board Member
Hog Island … the very name conjures up images that have little to do with an idyllic, forested island with a beautiful rocky Maine shoreline. Years ago, Hog Island likely lived up to its name as a local farmer used it, yes, to graze his hogs. No fences needed. But today the slang definition of hog “to appropriate selfishly; take more than ones share” better defines this National Audubon treasure as campers and visitors over the years have taken with them more than their share of memories and experiences. Lifetime friendships and even life partners are a product of Hog Island but equally important is the rejuvenation of our spiritual well-being that comes with time spent on the island. Whether it’s the flora, fauna, food, programs, people or just the escape from our normal routine, participants often say time spent on Hog Island has been a positive life changing experience.
Educators, teens and adults, over the last 75 years, have experienced this remarkable place. Wake Audubon sponsored a Wake County teacher in the 1980’s to attend an environmental educator camp so that knowledge could be shared with Wake county students. In September, I volunteered at Hog Island and was inspired by the people and programs. Scott Weidensaul, nature writer and author of Living on the Wind and other books; Dr. Steve Kress, Director of Project Puffin who successfully restored Atlantic Puffins in Maine at Eastern Egg Rock; and, other Project Puffin staff who talked about their seabird restoration work. The ripples from teachers and campers relating their knowledge and experiences continue to spread far and wide – not just in North Carolina, but across the United States.
And now it’s time to give back so others will be able to share the magic of Hog Island for years to come. Friends of Hog Island is dusting off the cobwebs and working to reinvigorate the energy of the past to support Hog Island into the future. Take a moment to explore the website, subscribe to the mailing list, and check out the 2011 calendar for a camp opportunity and perhaps you too will discover the magic of Hog Island.