Acadia Field School

Schoodic Blueberry Hill

Crashing surf, granite ledges, and coastal forests rich with biodiversity create an outdoor classroom that fosters new learning and inspiration. The Acadia Field School is a unique partnership between Acadia National Park and College of the Atlantic that invites you to rediscover nature through the lens of science, art, and the power of place.

Rates include full meals and activities described for the weekend program of your choice. Lodging is also available — select the residential option when you register. All programs will be held at the Schoodic Education and Research Center (SERC) on Maine's beautiful Schoodic Peninsula. Programs are primarily intended for an adult audience though accompanied youth are welcome. 

The Acadia Field School is no longer accepting registrations for 2012. Please contact us if you'd like more information about future offerings!

Fall Focus on Acadia — October 5–7

Duck Brook BridgeFall is a special time at Acadia National Park.  Cool air, few bugs and fewer visitors make autumn an ideal time to see and photograph the coast of Maine. Forests explode in a riot of color, sunrise and sunset are at more reasonable times and the beauty of the mountains and ocean are as always dramatic. Throw in the rich history and local color and you have a photographer’s dream. This workshop will take advantage of the area’s beauty as a backdrop to discuss, explore and experience the art of capturing nature’s beauty. Youth under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Please register by September 26, 2012.

What to Expect

Otter CliffsThe weekend will be busy, with expeditions to different sites in and around Acadia taking photographs and talking about light, composition, and the entire photographic process.  We will rise early to take advantage of early morning sunrises, and linger to capture early evening sunsets - and, if the weather cooperates,  we’ll try for some starlight photographs.  Acadia is one of the few places on the east coast that can boast a clear night sky.

During the day on Saturday we’ll travel from the Schoodic Peninsula to Mount Desert Island to traverse the Park Loop Road looking for that special light and moment worth capturing.  We’ll spend time in the forests around Sieur de Monts Spring to photograph the colors of fall, along the shore where red foliage and pink granite are contrasted by the rocky coast, and on the summit of Cadillac Mountain where the view never disappoints.  Along the way we’ll stop to examine Acadia’s historic carriage roads, photographing roads, bridges and a gate lodge.  We will also visit College of the Atlantic's campus, home to beautiful seaside gardens, oceanfront cottages, and the Dorr Museum of Natural History. For lunch, we'll visit the Jordan Pond House which boasts not only one of the most iconic views in the park but also has traditional popovers filled with strawberry preserves.

At each stop Bob Thayer, naturalist and photographer, will present interpretive details of the area and discuss techniques for possible photographs.  You will then have time to experiment with your own vision.


As with any photo excursion the light and weather will ultimately determine the best places to stop for photographs.  This schedule provides a general overview of activities and destinations, but will remain flexible to the opportunities presented by the weather.  Meal times and travel may vary to accommodate photographic opportunities.

Friday, October 5      

3:00 – Arrive at SERC and settle into your accommodations
4:30 – Greetings/Introduction
5:30 – Short walk to Schoodic Point to photograph sunset
7:00 – Dinner
8:30 – Star photography (weather-dependent) or evening program         

Saturday, October 6       

6:00 – Sunrise
7:30 – Breakfast
8:30 – Travel to Mount Desert Island and tour the Park Loop Road
12:00 – Lunch
Late afternoon – Return to Schoodic Peninsula
6:30 – Sunset
7:00 – Dinner
8:30 – Star photography (weather-dependent)
9:00 – Group discussion of photography topics         

Sunday, October 7

6:00 – Sunrise
7:30 – Breakfast
8:30 – Explore and photograph the Schoodic area
12:00 – Lunch farewell

What to Bring

In addition to any clothing or personal items you may need, the following items are recommended:

Extra batteries
Remote shutter release (for star photography)
Camera instruction manual (unless you know your camera that well)
Clothing for a variety of weather conditions (it may be cold, especially at night)
Sturdy, comfortable footwear (such as light hiking boots)
Water bottle
Rain gear (just in case)

About your guide

Bob Thayer's background is in science and education, and over the past 30 years he has developed a passion for photography. As a naturalist for Acadia National Park, Bob is able to combine his love of nature and his skills as a photographer. He has written three books on the park: “The Park Loop Road,” “Beyond the Park Loop Road,” and “Acadia’s Carriage Roads” and for four years has led Acadia's photography walk "Focus on Acadia."

Schooled in black and white photography, Bob’s interest in color and audio-visual production grew with the advancement of slide films. With the advent of digital photography Bob continues to explore new avenues in image capture, processing, and presentation. Bob's skill as a naturalist and passion for photography will help you discover the beauty of Acadia in a new way.

Getting to Schoodic

The Schoodic Education and Research Center is located on the Schoodic Peninsula, a little over an hour from Bar Harbor by car.

Download Directions to SERC (PDF)

Learn more about SERC on the SERC Institute website, or download our Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)

SERC Campus Map

For more information

For program inquiries or to learn more about Acadia Field School activities, please contact Ardrianna French McLane, Park Ranger – Interpretation,, (207) 288-8806.

2012 Rates


$450 – with lodging

$295 – no lodging


This program is no longer accepting registrations.

for more information

Ardrianna French McLane, Park Ranger

Acadia National Park

(207) 288-8806