Category Archives: Past Programs

Hirundo Wildlife Refuge is a Finalist and Needs Your Vote for the People’s Choice Award 

The Larouche family of Hirundo Wildlife Refuge (HWR) in Old Town is one of five finalists for the annual People’s Choice Award of the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM). NRCM is Maine’s largest environmental organization.

Several generations of the Larouche family acquired more than 2400 acres in Old Town, along Pushaw Stream. The family decided to share their property with the community, initially for passive recreation, wildlife rehabilitation and more recently, to become a leading environmental education center that offers seven miles of trails, a fleet of canoes and active, diverse educational programs for individuals, families and children. Area schools, home-schooled children, scouts and local recreational programs are among those who frequently visit the Refuge.

The Larouche family established a trust fund and deeded the property to the University of Maine. A staff person, volunteers and active HWR Board of Trustees manages the reserve for the benefit of the community.

Plans are underway to create a fully accessible trail so that seniors and people with disabilities will be able to enjoy HWR.

To vote for the Larouche’s four generation, multi-decade commitment and efforts to enrich Maine’s wild heritage and education through Hirundo Wildlife Refuge, go to the NRCM website: and click on The People’s Choice Award or click here Vote-for-nrcms-2016-peoples-choice-award/

Thank you for your support!


Pushaw to the Penobscot

 Saturday, July 16  (Rain date July 17)  Time: 8 am to 4 pm

Pushaw to the Penobscot – A Paddle through Time                          Canoe Trip with cultural and ecological focus

Check out the pictures:

The objective of this event was to raise awareness to the cultural and ecological role of the waterways in Maine, Pushaw Stream and the Penobscot River in particular. Fourty-three of us  traveled in five 28-foot canoes retracing steps (paddle strokes) of cultures from long ago.

Canoes will rafted together for talks and wildlife observations. We will have 4-5 stops along the way to talk about archeology, past climates, Penobscot Nation use of the area, Penobscot River Restoration, fish migration, and much more! It is an easy 10 mile – downstream paddle!

Historic records indicate that hunters and gatherers lived in the area as early as 9,000 years ago (earlier than the pyramids) and used waterways for transportation and the shores for setting up small settlements. They also used specific type of stone found along Pushaw Stream to fashion tools and other implements.

Prior to 1830, when the first dam was built along the Penobscot River, alewives & eels made their way up along the Penobscot into Pushaw Stream.  Since the last dam removal in 2013, a large influx of anadromous fish migration has been recorded, unprecedented since 1830. Thus far this year 800,000 Alewives passed through the fish counter at Pushaw Dam.

Wednesday April 13, 2016,  7-9 pm        Garden Seminar Poster
Garden Party & Silent Auction

Hirundo Wildlife Refuge in collaboration with the Old Town Museum and UMaine Cooperative Extension cordially invite you to a Garden Seminar and Silent Auction on April 13, 2016 from 7-9 pm at the Old Town Museum 353 Main Street in Old Town (opposite the USW – United Steelworkers Local 80 building).

Celebrate the upcoming gardening season with guest speaker Kate Garland, Horticulturist for UMaine Cooperative Extension. In her talk “Welcome Bees to your Garden”, she briefly introduce why bees are in trouble and then outline ways people can create a more welcoming and supportive landscape for Native pollinators using Native plants. Topics will include plant selection, best management practices, and habitat development. Kate will be joined by Eric Venturini who studied the influence that bee pasture has on native bee communities in Maine’s lowbush blueberry fields. Please see Eric’s article “What’s the buzz about bees” in our latest newsletter Volume 12, Spring_2016

Kate Garland serves as the Horticulturist for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Penobscot County by helping gardeners improve efficiency and build horticultural skills, through educational avenues including workshops, newsletters, social media posts, and one-on-one support. She coordinates the Master Gardener Volunteer program, and works with school and community gardens to develop plans that will build sustainability and improve community impact. Kate’s work also involves supporting and coordinating a team of Maine Harvest for Hunger volunteers who are growing, gleaning and distributing thousands of pounds of food annually to shelters, pantries, and individuals struggling with food insecurity in and around Penobscot County. Follow the link for more info on Yard & Garden  Plants for the Maine Landscape

We thank our sponsors:

WymansWyman’s of Maine – think Blueberries

F.L. Putnam Investment Management Company

Wendy Bush

for supporting this event and the local communities

Once again, local greenhouses and business donated plants, goods and services for the silent auction,  among them native plants, flower baskets, oil change, wild life photographs, wild meadow flower seeds, herb baskets, sets of greeting cards, Bioluminescent Kayak Trip for 2, photos by local artists and much more… Our thanks for making the silent auction possible goes to:

• Ellis’ Greenhouse in Hudson  • Evermay Nursery in Old Town  • Bagley’s Greenhouse  in Orono  • Little Field Gardens Nursery in Orono   • Dave’s Service Center in Old Town  • Fringe Salon in Orono  • Castine Kayak Adventures  • Rideout Gardens Nursery in Eddington  • Hutching’s Greenhouse in Eddington • REBEL HILL FARM in Clifton • Roger Merchant ….

6:00 pm doors open – Silent auction bidding begins, find the perfect gift !
7:00 pm – Kate Garland, featured speaker
8:00 pm – Refreshments Coffee, tea and snacks provided
Silent auction bidding continues – Last chance to bid on that special plant!
Visit the info booth: NATIVE PLANTS & how you can support NATIVE POLLINATORS
8:30 pm – Auction closes
8:45 pm – Bank call
9:00 pm – End of program

If you enjoyed last year’s garden party be sure to join us again. Doors open at 6:00 pm. Please call for reservations 207-394-2171 by April 12. Suggested donation $2

WINTER FAMILY DAY – Saturday Feb. 13, 2016 10 am – 3 pm

Ultimate Dogsledding Experience

Admittance: Members: free Non-members: $5 adults; children under 12 free

Schedule of Events

Winter Family Poster by Sally Jones

Continue reading

Saturday, December 19, 2015 Christmas Bird Count 9 am – 3 pm

Hirundo joined the annual Orono-Old Town Christmas Bird Count. It was a VERY quiet morning at the Refuge. We flushed grouse and that was it! Not even a chickadee. Thanks to Rad Mayfield for guiding the group.Eyes&Ears_of_Christmas_Bird_Count_2015_1441


Halloween at Hirundo 2015

Saturday October 24, 2015  1 – 4 pm

A beautiful autumn afternoon. We had a blast. Sally Jones prepared fall crafts and lead another share-crow construction. Congratulation to those who took on the challenge for apple bobbing. Good job everyone. The fastest time in the hay bale rolling was 16.44 sec. I wonder if anyone will beat it in 2016? This years share-crow was adorned with a raven head. Ravens are elusive but can be heard and seen quite regularly at the Refuge. Make sure you join us next year at Halloween at Hirundo!

Foraging for mushrooms, safely – Saturday October 3, 2015 10 am – 1 pm

The workshop focuses on basic identification skills and concepts needed to learn to identify common mushrooms. The workshop, led by State Mycologist Seanna Annis includes a mushroom walk and collection of specimens of your choice and their identification using field guides. Please bring a lunch and field guide, if you have one.


Summer Family Day – Sunday August 16, 2015                                                                                                       10:30 am – 5 pm

 Everyone enjoyed the day at the Refuge. We hope to see YOU next year.

Dick Andren,  Board of Trustee member

Dick Andren, Board of Trustee member

Hirundo welcomes this first time volunteer!

Hirundo welcomes this first time volunteer!

Look at the size of this spider!!

Look at the size of this spider!!

Many spiders in a field!

Many spiders in a field!

Wolf spider are hunters, they move quickly!, with excellent eyesight

Wolf spider are hunters, they move quickly!, with excellent eyesight



Kris Sader put the final touches on the caddisfly silkscreen

Kris Sader put the final touches on the caddisfly silkscreen

First you add a little paint to the screen

First you add a little paint to the screen

..then you apply pressure and squeeze the paint through

..then you apply pressure and squeeze the paint through

See how well the paint is sticking?

See how well the paint is sticking?

My first silk-screened T-shirt!

My first silk-screened T-shirt!

A is for alewife and C is for caddisfly

A is for alewife and C is for caddisfly

Silkscreened t-shirts drying in the summer breeze

Silkscreened t-shirts drying in the summer breeze

Fish collection at Lac d'Or

Fish collection at Lac d’Or

Shinners from Lac d'Or

Shinners from Lac d’Or

A young photographer digitizes the family outing

A young photographer digitizes the family outing

Pushaw to Penobscot – A Paddle through Time                                                                                                      Canoe Trip with cultural and ecological focus                                                                                                         Saturday July 18, 2015 from 9:00 am – 3 pm                                                                                                      

What a day we had! 60 people piled into six 28-foot canoes and set out to explore canoe route of very old. Great paddling weather. Overcast skies and 3 brief showers kept us comfortably cool.  Beautiful scenery, a blooming pickerel marsh was among the favourite, and wildlife sightings such as the Barred Owl, the beaver which left its den right below the canoes, Balded Eagles, hawks, Eastern Kingbird. We had picked a luncheon spot which had seen other visitors only about 8,000 years before present. Lesson learned: everyone like a luncheon spot that is high & dry and with a view. A grand time was had by all.


Distance: 10 miles


We thank our sponsors for their support: 
Varney                                                                                                                                       Varney I Insurance & Bonding, Old Town

F.L. Putnam Invest Management Company, Portland

Mike & B.J. Maybury 

Penobscot Nation

YMCA Old Town / Orono

Early Birding by Canoe – Breakfast, Talk & Paddle                                                                           Explore Local Environments Series, Part I –                                                                                                        Saturday May 23, 2015  7 am – 12 pm

Do you want to see that early bird? Join Rad Mayfield for an introduction to birds frequenting Hirundo over breakfast, followed by a paddle along Pushaw Stream.                                                          Meet at the Parker Reed shelter accessible through Gate 1. Reservation requested by May 21 call 394-2171. Suggested donation $10. 

Rad is a teacher at Old Town HS and bird bander in charge of the MOLT MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) banding station in Orono. If you are interested helping out during the bird banding season contact Rad at

This is the first paddle in a series of four observing and comparing bird populations at Hirundo Wildlife Refuge, Sunkhaze Meadows, Fields Pond and Blackman Stream at the Maine Forest & Logging Museum.

Breathe in Spring”- Introduction to Qui Gong – Saturday May 30, 2015 at 9 am

Shiwa Noh will guide you through simple but very effective Qi-gong exercises, breathing deep, absorbing all the vibrant energy from the nature during this introductory class. “Spring is an excellent time to Practice”.

Please register by calling 394-2171, registration deadline May 29. Suggested donation $5 Open to all levels and ages. Please wear comfortable clothes and shoes.

Qi-Gong is ancient Chinese internal Martial Art form, Qi(ki) means Energy, Gong means Study or Cultivation, as together it is Study of energy. This simple practices has been base for many Internal Martial Arts, which strengthens, build flexibility, energized the body. It emphasizes the correct body postures and synchronization of breath and movements.

Shiwa Noh is native of Korea, has been dancing all her life, from traditional Korean Dance, to Argentine Tango. She has BFA from UC Irvine, in Choreography. She began studying Internal Martial Arts in 2003, since 2013, she operates Noh Way School of Tai-chi, and Tango, which offers variety styles of social Dance in Bangor. She has been participating various fundraising performances in Maine, and passionate about spreading Tai-chi, and Argentine Tango to communities to bring people, culture and good health together.

Early Riser Canoeing – Saturday June 6 from 7 – 10 am

Begin the day on the quiet water of Pushaw Stream listing to the bird’s morning calls and watch for otter, mink, muskrat, beaver, deer and moose in and along the stream. We will travel in 28-foot canoes. All levels welcome. Meet at the Parker Reed shelter, accessible through Gate 1. Registration requested, please call 394-2171 by June 5. Suggested donations $5