Category Archives: Past Programs

Getting ready for Outdoor Adventures

Snow Shoeing Clinic 

The clinic began with an introduction to the history, anatomy and sizing of snowshoes. The participants chose from a selection of modern and traditional snowshoes for their hike along Pushaw Stream. Sunshine, just the right snow conditions and numerous sightings wildlife signs made the snowshoe hike an entertaining practice run!

Date:  Saturday, January 20, 2018

Time: 10am to 12pm

Location: Hirundo Wildlife Refuge 1107 West Old Town Road (Gate 1) Old Town, ME, 04468 United States (map)

Introduction and practice of snow shoeing. No experience necessary.  Bring shoes if you have them or reserve a  pair by calling Hirundo at 394-2171. Meet at the Parker Reed shelter, accessible through Gate 1. Additional information available: 394-2171 or web@hirundomaine.

Cost:    $10/Adult (members $8); $5/Child (members $3).  Children 5 and under are FREE. Registration requested.

Keeping busy

Full moon paddle – Beaver Moon Paddle

Saturday, November 4, 2017 –  4:45 pm

The moon was a little slow to reveal its brightness, thick clouds low on the horizon,  hid its usually spectacular rise. Beaver sightings and splashing were plentiful, most we have ever seen. A great finale for the paddling season! Thanks for everyone involved.

Check back in May 2018 for a new series of Full Moon Paddles at Hirundo!


Perseid Shower Observation                                                                                                          Friday, August 11, 2017 9pm – 4am (rain date August 12, 2017)

The Perseid Meteor Shower is among the best meteor showers during the year with 50+ meteors per hour. The greatest number of meteors occur in the morning of August 12. Join us, behind the Emera Astronomy Center in Orono, to watch this annual spectacle on August 11th or August 12th (rain date), weather depending. Bring your chair, or blanket & pillow, non-alcoholic beverage and wishes.

Shawn Laatsch, Director of the Emera Astronomy Center and M.F. Jordan Planetarium at UMaine, will give a guided Constellation Tour as part of the introduction to the Perseids. Do you want to know more about the night-sky? Follow Shawn’s Blog  Eye on Maine Skies

We will set up an insect trap  to attract night-flying insects such as moth and beetles. An entomologist will be at hand helping you to identify the nocturnal insects.

Reserve your place under the stars by August 9th. Space is limited Click here to register           Suggested donation $5 adults, $3 children under 12.

Location:  Emera Astronomy Center 167 Rangeley Rd University of Maine  Orono, Maine 04469                             Map: Emera Astronomy Center 

Perhaps you are interested in the upcoming Solar Eclipse? The Emera Astronomy Center offers a program about the phenomena of eclipses “Totality -Explore the Wonder of Eclipses”. Why not combine both programs!             More information: Event Calendar

Spiders-a silent world – Saturday, August 5th 2017 10am

Take a 1-hour trip into the world of spiders with your guide, Donne Sinderson.

Donne is an amateur arachnologist and Maine Master Naturalist, that started learning about spiders four years ago. She will introduce the different types of spiders, how their survival strategy differs and then head out to look for them in field, forest and around buildings.No experience necessary but curiosity required.



3rd Annual Garden Party & Silent Auction

Hirundo Wildlife Refuge in collaborations with University of Maine Cooperate Extension and the Old Town Elementary School invites you to its

Ready for spring           Photo: Gudrun Keszöcze

 3rd Annual Garden Party & Silent Auction

         Wednesday April 19, 2017  6:30 – 9 pm

             Old Town Elementary School, 576 Stillwater Ave.

$ 5 for Hirundo members or $7 for non-members – incl. light refreshments              Reservations by April 16, 2016 call 207.394.2171 or here On-line  Registration

 Get hands-on experience in mini workshops about grafting, pruning of small fruit crops, growing micro greens and flower arrangement. Workshops are on a 30 minute rotation schedule beginning at 6:30 pm and ending at  8:00 pm. GardenPartyPoster

About the workshops

Herb Crosby took up grafting 10 years ago and keeps his backyard as a grafting laboratory.  The workshop offers an overview on grafting, including different type of grafting techniques, tools and materials and scion for your tree at home. How to prune small fruit and apple trees will be the focus of Kirby Ellis.  Ellis is the owner of Ellis’ Forest Management & Greenhouse /Nursery in Hudson. Kate Garland will discuss how to increase nutrition and flavor of your meals with homegrown micro greens, young edible greens that can be grown right at your windowsill. The workshop centers on choosing, planting, maintaining and harvesting micro greens. Each participant will take her/his planting home to enjoy. Garland serves as the Horticulturist for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Penobscot County by helping gardeners improve efficiency and build horticultural skills, and coordinates the Master Gardener Volunteer program. Young gardeners will have an opportunity to learn about worm composting with Master Gardener Pat Bears hands-on demonstration.

Refreshments and silent auction items

For more information or to request a disability accommodation, please contact Gudrun Keszöcze at or 207.944.9259.

We thank local business for their support:

Ellis’ Greenhouse and Nursery                       Everymay Nursery
Bagley’s Greenhouse                                     Rebell Hill Farm
University of Maine Roger Clapp Greenhouses & Littlefield Garden
DePaola Landscaping & Property Maintenance
cityLife –Nature Kits                                       Sanctuary Wellness Spa                       The-Yardsmith           

Ruffed Grouse Population Ecology in Maine Forests

Saturday, April 8, 2017   10 AM – 12 PM

“Ruffed Grouse Population Ecology in Maine Forests”

by  Erik Blomberg, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor of Wildlife Ecology, University of Maine                    Penobscot Valley Chapter of SWOAM, Hirundo Wildlife Refuge, and Maine Forest Service collaboration

Location:                                                                                                                                                                                          Maine Forest Service Central Region Headquarters,                     Maine Forest Service /Forestry Bureau/

Many small woodland owners have wildlife as a major focus in forest management objectives.  Dr. Blomberg presents his experience with ruffed grouse in varied forest habitats.

In 2014 the Wildlife Demographics Lab at the University of Maine and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife began the first large-scale investigation of ruffed grouse ecology in Maine.  Over three years we have captured and radio-marked hundreds of grouse to better-understand their survival, harvest, and general habits throughout their annual cycle.  During this talk I will discuss preliminary results from the first three years of our work.

Directions:  Take Route I-95 North or South to Old Town exit 197 .  Travel in easterly direction toward Old Town.  Turn left at the DeWitt Airfield entrance.  Turn right at the sign for the Maine Forest Service.

Registration is requested by April 5, 2017. Please respond by e-mail to Larry Beauregard, SWOAM Penobscot Valley Chapter Leader, at  or by phone at (207) 989-6158.

Spring Trail Day 2017

Volunteer Opportunity at Spring Maintenance Trail Day                                                           April 23, 2017 from 8:30 am – 3 pm  

Where:  1107 West Old Town Road (Gate 1) in Old Town.

What & How: We will be working on the trails north & south of Rt.43. The work will include removing blow downs and cutting back vegetation with hand tools. No experience necessary.

Are you or is your group looking for a way to support the community?

Please let us know if you are coming by no later than April 21. This will help us provide snacks and plan for trail groups. We hope you can join us for the day, or for a half-day, morning (8:30 am – 12 noon), or afternoon (12:30 – 3:00 pm). Call at 394-2171,, or click here to register

Please dress for the weather, bring a lunch, loppers or small handsaw, if you have them. The ground could be damp, so sturdy footwear would be good. Bring lunch and water. If you have hand tools like a small hand saw or brush loppers, bring them along. Meet at the barn – directions available upon arrival.

Directions from the South: Take the I-95 N. Take the ME-43 exit 197 to Old Town/Hudson. Go 0.3 mi to the end of the off ramp, and turn left onto Rt. 43 (Hudson Rd). Go west 4.75 miles and look for the large red sign (Gate 1) on your right (north side of Rt. 43). Enter at Gate 1, follow gravel road 0.5 miles to the Pine Tree Parking area.  Please park there and look for the signs to the barn.

Cancelled – for lack of snow – Will be rescheduled!

Introduction to Snowshoeing – Sunday, January 15, 1 – 3 pm

Pushaw Stream

Pushaw Stream

You never strapped on snowshoes before and are curious how it all works? Sign up for this two hour session and explore the Refuge with the Hirundo’s naturalist.
Limited number of adult and children snowshoes available.
Call 207-394-2171 for reservations by Saturday, January 14.
Cost: $5 per person


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.