Researching plant life in Acadia National Park.Researching plant life in Acadia National Park. Credit: Michelle DoucetteSince our founding in 1969, the COA community has enjoyed a rich, collaborative relationship with Acadia National Park, conducting myriad research projects within its borders, working with planners, rangers, and scientists, developing interpretive exhibits, and utilizing our innovative educational approach to train the next generation of conservation leaders.

As the ANP community celebrates the centennial in 2016, so too does College of the Atlantic! 

Conducting field research in Acadia National Park.Conducting field research in Acadia National Park.It’s all happening here
We’ve got a robust schedule of events celebrating our connection to Acadia National Park in 2016. Our activities aim to educate, entertain, and inspire both long-time fans of Acadia and first-time visitors. We hope you’ll be able to join us!

Our George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History, which is housed in the original 1916 ANP headquarters, will be the center of activity during much of the season. We’ve created a museum-wide special exhibition to highlight decades of student- and faculty-led research projects, and added a full-size diorama of peregrine falcon mounts on a two-story rock face simulating Acadia’s Champlain Mountain. A touch tank exhibit, designed as part of a student project, will focus on Acadia’s intertidal areas and the challenge of balancing conservation with access, while herbarium specimens from the 1890 collection of an original member of the Champlain Society—a group of young men from Harvard who spent their summers on the island, studying plants, birds, insects, fish, geology, hydrology, and meteorology—will be on display. The exhibition opens June 21.

Illuminating images
Acadia is a visually stunning park, and we’re proud to be co-hosting a show of nature and landscape photography by noted Acadia photographer Tom Blagden in our Ethel H. Blum Gallery with our partners at Friends of Acadia. Blagden, the author of First Light: Acadia National Park and Maine’s Mount Desert Island (Westcliffe, 2003), has been a photographer since 1980, and his work has graced the covers of Smithsonian, Audubon, Outdoor Photographer, and Nature Conservancy magazines. The show runs from July 14 through August 26, with a special lecture from Blagden on August 22.

Outdoor sculpture
Acadia’s granite cliffs and stunning vistas serve as inspiration for the artists represented in WhereEnjoying winter's wonders in Acadia. The park is an incredible resource for recreation as well as research.Enjoying winter's wonders in Acadia. The park is an incredible resource for recreation as well as research. Mountains Meet the Sea, an outdoor sculpture exhibition curated by June LaCombe (’75). The show includes signature work from 20 New England artists and features the sculpture of Miles Chapin ’10. Friday, June 24 through Saturday, October 29.

Books, books, books
A fascinating collection of literary minds will explore the complex and subtle nuances of the park during Acadia Authors’ Night, Tuesday, July 19. Ten writers, including Carl Little, David Hackett Fisher, and Ron Epp, will read from works of poetry, biography, history, and art criticism.

The rich and varied plant life of the park is the focus of a new book, Wild Gardens of Acadia, written by COA professor Anne Kozak. Anne presents her new work in a conversation with ANP volunteer Sue Leiter July 25.

Summer salon
COA’s celebrated summer salon, Coffee and Conversation, will feature weekly guests exploring the history, architecture, natural history, conservation policy, and other aspects of Acadia. Speakers include ANP Superintendent Kevin Schneider, COA alumna and ANP Deputy Chief of Interpretation Christie Anastasia, architect Sarge Gardiner, MDI Historical Society Director Tim Garrity, and 2015 ANP Artist-in-Residence Jennifer Booher.

Inspiring ideas
College of the Atlantic is proud to be a sponsor of TEDx Dirigo Ebb+Flow, a half-day conference of ideas, inspirations, and reflections on the past, present, and future of the Acadia area. The event takes place at Bar Harbor’s Criterion Theatre on May 20, with an opening celebration at COA May 19.

The Acadia Centennial Lecture series will feature a slew of compelling speakers, including College of the Atlantic President Darron Collins ’92. Collins is slated to speak sometime in the fall, and his talk will focus on the theme of the series, which is “Conservation in the 21st Century.”

And more…
COA is also sponsoring a number of one- and two-week summer stay programs that will take place in and around Acadia. These include a conservation photography intensive, an active week hiking and biking in the park, and the Wonder of Acadia summer institute for high school students.

Acadia National Park, beautiful in every season.Acadia National Park, beautiful in every season. Credit: Hilary Rose Dawson

 Jordan Pond and The Bubbles, Acadia National Park.Jordan Pond and The Bubbles, Acadia National Park. Credit: Julia Desantis