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During the 1997-98 school year, National Audubon Society's Seabird Restoration Program developed a seabird education program for 3th- through 8th-grade students and their teachers in Maine schools. A total of 1,950 students from 30 schools and 91 classes participated in the program which involved an Audubon naturalist visiting schools to conduct hands-on learning activities. The principal instructors in the program are Pete Salmansohn and Susan Schubel. Pete is the Education Coordinator of the National Audubon Society Seabird Restoration Program and Susan is the supervisor of Matinicus Rock research site. Pete was recently awarded the distinguished Environmental Educator of the Year Award from the Maine Environmental Education Association.

The in-class program consists of hands-on activities from our teacher's guide "Giving Back to the Earth" by Pete Salmansohn and Stephen Kress. The guide contains dozens of activities based on seabird biology and conservation. Activities emphasize specific subject areas such as language, writing, art, math, geography and science. For most schools, the program consists of multiple sessions, each with a distinct topic such as seabird adaptation, connections in the marine ecosystem, or puffin geography (learning coastal geography frequented by puffins).

More than 400 students from nine of the 30 schools also participated in field trips to Egg Rock aboard the Hardy III, a tour boat operating out of New Harbor, Maine. This two-hour tour was narrated by "Puffin Pete" Salmansohn. Participants circled Eastern Egg Rock, observing the puffins in June when they were courting and starting to feed their young. Students were able to watch puffins, but they also learned about interactions with terns, gulls, eiders, guillemots, and other seabirds.

In addition to presentations in the classroom, the seabird education program organized three teacher workshops focusing on seabirds as a way to introduce children to the ecology and conservation of the Gulf of Maine. The workshops were sponsored by Friends of Monomoy (Chatham, MA), New England Aquarium (Boston, MA) and National Audubon Society (Bremen, ME). A total of 92 teachers participated and some obtained credit for participation through the University of Maine. These workshops and classroom sessions were sponsored in part by grants from the U.S. Gulf of Maine Association, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Mid-coast Audubon Society, Sea World, and DownEast Energy Corporation. 
From mid-June through mid-August Audubon also sponsored 11 trips each week to Eastern Egg Rock aboard two commercial tour boats, the Hardy III (New Harbor) and the Pink Lady (Boothbay Harbor). Together these one- and three-hour trips brought a record total of 4,139 adults and children to circle Eastern Egg Rock (no landings are permitted). Participants learned how to identify common seabirds and marine mammals and also learned basic information about the ecology of the Gulf of Maine and conservation issues affecting seabirds such as over-fishing, pollution, and human disturbance.

Stephen Kress and Pete Salmansohn share Project Puffin
through writings and school visits.
Photo by Donna Ramil.


Project Puffin (our 32-page full-color childrens' book) and its accompanying teacher's guide Giving Back to the Earth by Stephen Kress and Pete Salmansohn won three important awards in the first year following their publication:

  • Smithsonian Institution "Notable Children's Book for 1997" 
  • National Science Teachers's Association and Children's Book Council 1998 "Outstanding Science Trade Book for Children" 
  • "1998 Skipping Stones Honor Book"

  • Both books are available from most bookstores or contact the publisher at Tilbury House, 132 Water Street, Gardiner, Maine, 04345, or phone 1-800-582-1899.
Our Sincere Appreciatio Goes To The 1998 Maine Research Team
Krista Amey
Andre Breton
Joanne Crawford
Julia Dodge
Terry Goodhue
Keri Parker
Susan Schubel
Chris Maranto

Research Assistants
Sarah Carr
David Caskey
Hilary Cerny
Knut Feiker
Joy Frere
Ted Gaine
Amanda Lightcap
Loren Merrill

Steve Baker
Dan Breton
Susan Carr
Susannah Corona
Meredith Cullom
Charles Doersch
Sean Donaghy
Desmond FitzGerald
Bob Flores
Kimberly Gold
Deborah Green
Mary Gunther
Christine Hamilton
Patrick Hanley
Jackie Henkel
RuthAnne Hoffner
Nancy Jones
Will Gardiner
Cindy Langley-Wilbur
Sean McCollum
Ann Mitchell

 R. Fischer Olson
Timothy Parker
Chris Pennock
Elaine Pourinski
Ming Lee Prospero
Fiona Reid
Barbara Rhoad
Kevin Riley
Jeffrey Rouse
Sandra Ruggerio
Kristin Scheible
Linda Schwartz
Fred Servello
James Sharp 
Christine Simeone
Caroline Simmonds
Genevieve Smith
Jessica Strauss
Steven Walker
Jean Wandel
Kristin Williamson
Dara Zirofsky


All contents © 1998, Seabird Restoration Program of the National Audubon Society. All rights reserved. More on the copyright.

For General Information and Questions:
Project Puffin Homepage
Mailing Address:
Project Puffin
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, New York 14850