College of the Atlantic's Summer Field Studies is a day program for young people designed to impa...College of the Atlantic's Summer Field Studies is a day program for young people designed to impart values of community and cooperation through collaborative activities and learning in the wilderness of Mount Desert Island.

With registration opening for the Summer Field Studies (SFS) program for children, College of the Atlantic is preparing for a busy summer ahead. A number of residential programs and special events are planned, as school officials transition back from the disruptions caused by COVID-19 since 2020.

SFS, offered for eight weeks, June 19–August 1, is a curricular-based day program designed for young people entering grades one–eight. Participants explore, play, and learn through a variety of hands-on, minds-on activities to increase their awareness and appreciation of the natural world. Additional details on registration, pricing, and curriculum can be found at

Those interested in becoming a program leader or before/after-care provider for Summer Field Studies can begin submitting applications on March 1 as well.

Great Duck Island, home to COA Alice Eno Field Research Station and the Islands Through Time summ...Great Duck Island, home to COA Alice Eno Field Research Station and the Islands Through Time summer program.Katie Hodgkins 16’ returned to COA this year as the new events and conferences coordinator. Meanwhile, the college continues to search for a Summer Field Studies director who can help facilitate the breadth of the summer programs.

Due to the bandwidth of staff and the availability of space on campus this summer, other programs such as Family Nature Camp and the series of adult learner courses will not be offered.

“I’m excited about our offerings to the community this year, particularly for school-age children,” said COA administrative dean Bear Paul. “We look forward to building upon these programs in future years as we transition back to a full slate of summer options.”

Looking ahead to the 2024 season, the college is exploring offering adult learner courses on natural history illustration, botany, and photography.

Even with the omission of these programs, the campus will be busy. More than 20 groups will be utilizing COA facilities throughout the summer, including The Jackson Laboratory, The Center for Wildlife Studies, Acadia Festival of Traditional Music and Dance, and Wabanaki Youth in Science, a group that integrates Wabanaki traditional cultural knowledge with technology and science.

COA’s Islands Through Time program for rising high school juniors and seniors will Speakers during the College of the Atlantic Summer Institute.Speakers during the College of the Atlantic Summer offered July 23–August 4. This two-week program, taken for college credit, offers the chance to learn about the ecology, culture, and history of Downeast Maine through time spent on COA’s campus and island field stations. Applications for this program are open through April 7. 

Don’t forget to save the date for the COA Summer Institute, a week-long ideas festival that welcomes experts from around the world to share their perspectives on the most pressing issues of our time. The 2023 event will be held on campus July 31–August 4 in collaboration with The National Geographic Society. The schedule and featured speakers will be announced this spring and registration will open in May. Other events, such as the Coffee & Conversations series, will be offered throughout the summer.