June C. (née Dabritz) Larouche died at the Maine Veteran’s Home in Bangor, Maine, on February 21, 2017. She enjoyed 92 years of life, the last half at her beloved Hirundo Wildlife Refuge.
June came from Buffalo, NY, where she worked at Sylvania. She moved to Sudbury, Massachusetts, where she worked as a librarian at the GTE/Sylvania facility in Needham, Massachusetts. At Needham, she met Oliver Larouche (d. 1996), and they were married shortly before their retirements from long careers at GTE. They moved to Old Town, Maine, where they developed the Hirundo Wildlife Refuge as a non-profit organization along Pushaw Stream, expanding it to over 2,000 acres. In 1983 they deeded the Hirundo land to the University of Maine, cementing a long-term collaboration.
Oliver and June funded research on fish, birds and mammals, transforming Hirundo into a living laboratory. Naming the refuge Hirundo, the Latin word for swallow, Ollie lined the open fields with scores of tree swallow nest boxes and the Pushaw Stream with wood duck nest boxes. The Parker Reed Shelter provides a forum for meetings and gatherings. At Hirundo the public is encouraged to accept “Nature on its own terms.”
June leaves her close friend and caregiver Holly Cullen of Hudson, Maine, her nephew Dean Chagnon of Maryland, and her beloved dog Lydia and four cats. With no memorial service at her request, June was interred at the Lawndale Cemetery on April 25. Memorial donations are welcome to the Hirundo Wildlife Trust (P.O.Box 266, Orono, Maine 04473), where they will be applied to the Larouche Family Fund for such purposes as student internships at Hirundo, thus continuing the life’s work of Oliver and June.
Thanks to you, the Larouche Family is the Winner of the People’s Choice Award 2016 of the Natural Resources Council of Maine!
The family is honored for multi-generational commitment to conservation embodied in the Hirundo Wildlife Refuge during at NRCM’s Conservation Leadership Awards event on Wednesday, September 14 in South Portland.
Thank you for your support!
Always more to do….thanks to the dedicated volunteers who get it done!
Theta Chi Service Day at the Refuge
On November 21, 2015 Theta Chi Brothers spent Saturday afternoon increasing American Woodcock habitat in the Thornplum field and expanding interpretive sites along Indian Pipe trail.
Togethter with Rad Mayfield, Bucky Owen (HWR Trustees) and HWR volunteer Irene Syphers, the group took on ‘armed’ hawthorns and cleared two large areas in the field. Opening the field creates a singing field for the American Woodcock, attracting females and in turn increases the woodcook population at the Refuge.The advertising call of the male woodcock is a harbinger of spring. With the help of Theta Chi Brothers there will be more opportunities for ‘Woodcock Walks” at the Refuge in the spring, for visitors of all ages. Thank you Theta Chi!
If you want more info on this fascinating, little bird: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/American_Woodcock/id
A smaller team of Brothers worked togehter with Roger Merchant (HWR Trustee) along the Indian Pipe trail, located behind Gate 6. They deliberated on how to best to expose critical viewing areas with minimal disturbance to the forest, and established five sites. The Indian Pipe trail is a unique trail in the Refuge. A portion of it is situated on higher ground, including the highest point (186 feet!), allowing the site to be much drier than the surrounding area. Red Oak and American Beech trees prevail in this portion, making it visually and audibly rich. Additionally, and of great importance to wildlife these mast trees provide food for many mammals and birds alike.
Thank you for your help making this trail and the forest more accessible to visitors!
The University of Maine GREEN TEAM holds cookies sale in support of Hirundo Wildlife Refuge
Green Team members have showed their commitment of support through trail work, representing the Refuge at the UMaine Homecoming at the Hirundo table and their recent cookie sale. It came as a surprise to all of us at the Refuge!
UMaine Green Team members gathered to pass on the gift of $160. Pictured from left to right Gloria Vollmers, Treasurer, Hirundo Wildlife Trust, Jayson Peltier (Philanthropy Chair), Paige Theberge (member), Gwen Walsh (Social Chair), and handing over the check is Sabrina Vivian (President). Thank you for your on-going support!
We thank the Green Team for their consideration and on-going support.
Take a look what else the Green Team is up to: Green Team
Business Partnership Campaign gets support from local businesses
We thank these local businesses for their support:
Patron Rotary Club of Old Town
Supporter Cyr Bus Line, Old Town
Owen J Folsom Sand and Gravel, 299 Gilman Falls Ave Old Town, ME 04468
In-kind donation Old Town Canoes Thank you for the generous in-kind donation helping us upgrade our aging canoe fleet.
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Orono-Old Town Kiwanis Club
donated $400 for school and public programming.Thank you!
The 67TH ANNUAL AUCTION is coming up: Dates: JULY 18, 19, & 20.
If you have any items to donate please contact
Where: Kiwanis Auction Barns, Outer Forest Ave, Orono ME 04473.
Gates open at 5 PM each night and close around 11 or when people stop spending money!!
Do you have something you want to donate and need us to pick it up…schedule a pickup at (207) 866-4816
Mugs with a Purpose and Art Education students with a mission
On May 8th the Parker Reed shelter was used for a very special occasion. The Service Learning project of UMaine’s AED474: From Art to Empathy course with Nicole McGuigan, Elizabeth (EB) Miller, Hannah Berta and Abigail LeBlanc and course professor Constant Albertson had reached its goal. The students raised $2930 by selling $10 ceramic mugs that they made this semester. After subtracting incurred cost the group donated $2730 to Hirundo towards the purchase of research and educational materials. Dick Andren gratefully accepted the donation given from 5 pairs of hands.
“On behalf of the Hirundo Board, we express our deepest gratitude to the members and teacher of the Art and Empathy class for your efforts to create and sell beautiful mugs for the benefit of the Hirundo Wildlife Refuge. We are so very honored that you selected us as the recipient of your caring and inspired endeavor. The monetary gain is much needed to maintain and operate the Refuge as an ongoing free community resource for recreation and education in the beauty of Nature.” Stephanie Larouche, Chair
Hirundo’s NEW bridge!
Thanks to Fred Bryant, Gerry Lapointe, Bob Stevens and The Penobscot County Community Works Program.
UMaine students selling art to support Hirundo Wildlife Refuge
Art students at the University of Maine in Orono have taken on a new project to support educational programs for children at the nearby Hirundo Wildlife Refuge in Alton.
In the advanced art education course taught by Constant Albertson, a small group of students are crafting mugs to be sold for $10 each at several upcoming UMaine campus events:
• April 5, 6-7 p.m Opening reception for the UMaine Department of Art
Student Exhibition, at Lord Hall Gallery.
• April 6, 12:30-1:30 p.m. The Maine Art Education Association 2013 Spring Conference, at the lunch reception.
• April 22, noon-4 p.m Earth Day Celebration at the Memorial Union at UMaine Campus Map
• April 27, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The H.O.P.E. Festival at the New Balance Student
Recreation Center – 22 Hilltop Road, University of Maine,
Orono – Phone: (207) 581-1082
Each handcrafted mug features a unique design inspired by nature.
The goal of the four students in the class — Hannah Berta of Rockport, Elizabeth Miller of Kittery, Abigail LeBlanc of Brewer, and Nicole McGuigan of Woolwich — is to make and sell 500 mugs, and to work together to spread awareness about Hirundo Wildlife Refuge, a 2,400-acre nature preserve just 10 miles from the UMaine Orono campus.
“[Hirundo] is so important to the community and really does a great job with providing programs,” said Albertson. “One of the aims of this project is to give them some attention so that more people will know they’re there.”
The students spend more than a month researching causes that are important to them before deciding to support the wildlife refuge through art.
The Hirundo land was deeded to UMaine in 1983, cementing a long-term collaboration based on research and scientific studies. The land spans Pushaw and Dead Streams, Lac D’Or (a lake) and vast wetlands, including domed bog and maple and juniper swamps. On the property, visitors hike, snowshoe and cross-country ski on a 7-mile trail system that meanders through meadows, mixed hardwood and evergreen forests. Visitors can also paddle canoes free of charge.
The refuge is the home to many mammals — including moose, deer, fox, muskrat, beaver, otter, black bear, bobcat, fisher, and ermine — and a wide variety of birds, according to Hirundo’s website, www.hirundomaine.org. In fact, “Hirundo” is the Latin word for swallow, which come to the refuge in flocks to nest in nest boxes.
The refuge is open year round, from 9 a.m. to dusk. Admission is free, but donations are strongly encouraged. Visitors should sign the log book available at Gate 1, Gate 2, Gate 3 or Gate 6.
For future sale locations and information, call Albertson at 581-3251 or visit the students’ website at artempathy.wordpress.com/. To learn about Hirundo, visit www.hirundomaine.org. For information about UMaine, visit umaine.edu.
Hirundo Receives Grant from King Foundation
The Stephen & Tabitha King Foundation awarded $15,000 grant to Hirundo Wildlife Refuge in support of the Next Generation Science Standards Field Experiences Project. The grant will support the 5th grade Student’s Environmental Monitoring Project. Students will study fresh-water mussel ecology and mercury accumulations in the mussels. Our goal is to provide all 5th grade students from Old Town Elementary School (approximately 100 students) with an inquiry-based science project.The project offers practical experience with fundamental scientific principles, including creating a hypothesis, field data collection, data analysis and interpretation, and presentation of conclusions.
Alton School makes generous gift to Hirundo Wildlife Refuge
A proud group of 2nd and 3rd grade students, along with teacher Cathy Fox, presented a $300 dollar check to Hirundo Wildlife Refuge. The presentation was followed by the concerned question of a second grader: “Will the Refuge stay open now?”
This generous donation was the result of the energy and creativity of the students, teachers and volunteers from the Alton School, who raised the money by creating and selling crafts and recipe books. The crafts were made by the entire Alton School. The fair was held and setup by the 2nd,3rd, and 4th grade classes. Monies were collected by Laura Sanborn, Cathy Fox, and principal Nathan Dyer.
These funds will help to support Hirundo’s programs for the public. Even more important, however, is that this donation is a concrete demonstration of public support forand commitment to Hirundo’s efforts.
“We look forward to many years of working together with the community and to helping local youth develop a life-long connection to the natural world. They are our future”, says Stephanie Larouche, Chair of Hirundo’s Board of Trustees. Hirundo Wildlife Refuge would also like to express its thanks and admiration to Phoebe Sanborn, along with the children and families who participated in this impressive effort.
2012 Summer canoeing season highlights community collaboration!
Hirundo is proud to offer canoe tours for up to 20 people in two, 28 foot war canoes, made possible through the support by Penobscot River Keepers, Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department and Bucky and Sue Owen.
The Penobscot Riverkeepers, Mike and B.J. Maybury, kindly loaned the Refuge two of their war canoe fleet to allow safe exploration of the Hirundo waterways. These boats are extremely stable, with seats mounted higher than in a regular canoe, comfortable for people of all ages. The boats are able to hold up to twelve paddlers and require a minimum of six paddlers.
A group of strong volunteers were on hand to move these 300 pound canoes to their summer location, the new canoe shelter. It was built by the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department with materials donated by Bucky and Sue Owen.
Smiling volunteers from left to right front row Bucky Owen, Dick Andren, Jerry Longcore, second row, Karl Hill, Jerry Lapoint, Fred Bryant.
We would like to thank Mike and B.J. Maybury for lending us their canoes. Without the generous donation of Bucky and Sue Owen and the building expertise and labor of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department we would not be able to properly protect the boats. Thank you all for your tireless support of Hirundo Wildlife Refuge, allowing us to offer expanded programming.
If you would like a guided group tour in a war canoe please call 207-207-394-2171.
Photos by Gudrun Keszöcze