Somes-Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary

A Little Engine That Could: A Small Organization’s Role Fostering Conservation and Community Connections

Friday, October 9, 2020 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
La Rochelle, 127 West Street, Bar Harbor
Speaker: Billy Helprin, Director, Somes-Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary, Somesville, Maine

The Somes-Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1985 with a mission of wildlife habitat conservation and ecological education in the Somes Pond watershed, but today reaches well beyond with its education and research work. Long term and more recent research and monitoring projects include loon breeding success, alewife migration, aquatic invasive species surveys, and Courtesy Boat Inspections for aquatic invasives. The Sanctuary has been a host site for the University of Maine Sensing Storm Surge research project and other larger scale investigations. With only one year-round staff person, the Sanctuary extends the reach of its programs by working with a wide range of partners and volunteers. Billy will describe efforts on Mt. Desert Island to cross organizational boundaries, capitalize on natural strengths of each group, and work together to accomplish much more than by going it alone. One of the goals of this work is the development of stronger connections between young people (and older folks too) and nature. Those bonds, formed by engagement and greater understanding, are critical to our social, economic, and environmental future.

Billy Helprin has been the Director of the Somes-Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary on Mt. Desert Island (MDI) since 2015. Billy coordinates multiple wildlife research and monitoring projects; provides professional development for teachers and learning experiences for students aimed at increasing interdisciplinary thinking, raising scientific literacy, and connecting people to their local outdoor environments; and manages the lands and waters that comprise the Sanctuary.

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