Swan Island: Pearl of Merrymeeting Bay

SWAN ISLAND, KENNEBEC RIVER, RICHMOND

www.maine.gov/swanisland

For immediate release    Contact:   Lisa.Kane@maine.gov 557-0118

Swan Island: Pearl of Merrymeeting Bay:  Illustrated and Described

On Thursday May 1, 2014 from 6:15pm – 7:30pm; upstairs at The Old Goat, 33 Main Street, Richmond; join ‘place based’ historian Jay Robbins of Richmond as he shares gleanings from over 35 years of research on Swan Island, that 4 mile by ¾ mile island located in the Kennebec River between Richmond and Dresden at the head of Merrymeeting Bay. Once a Native American stronghold, the Island appears on every early map of Maine from the time of first European contacts. Soon it was resettled by the ‘New Peoples’.

Jay will explore the 17th and 18th century history of Swan Island, including a close look at the Noble/Whidden “Massacre” of 1750. You’ll see how the Pejepscot and Kennebec Proprietors finally settled their competing claims for ownership, and how the Island later became a summer “resort.” The Gardiner/Dumaresq house (c. 1763) is perhaps the oldest surviving house in New England built specifically as a summer home.  Soon the Island grew into the Town of Perkins (inc. 1847) with a population of almost 100. It was an Island of subsistence farmers who supplemented income through fishing and shipbuilding. Then the ice industry came to the Island. After that, decline. In 1918, when there were not enough people on Island to fill the required Town offices, the Town of Perkins disorganized and became the unorganized territory of Perkins Township.

Folks tried sheep farming and fox farming, but with the opening of the Richmond-Dresden Bridge in 1930, ferry service ended and the last of the Island residents moved off Island. In the early 1940s what is now Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife purchased the Island. It was improved for migratory waterfowl habitat, a deer repellant was developed to keep those pesky critters out of farmer’s fields, and one of Maine’s first moose was raised in captivity. Jerry the (Swan Island) Moose was moved to the Bronx Zoo in 1948.

Today, Swan Island is still a place of magic. Now known as the Steve Powell Wildlife Management Area, tours and camping opportunities await those who visit. Jay will discuss State and volunteer group efforts to save the remaining historic buildings and to keep the agrarian landscape of this National Register of Historic Places site open for public enjoyment.

SWAN ISLAND GENERAL INFORMATION

Swan Island, known for its abundant and often quite visible wildlife, is actually an abandoned 18th and 19th century town called Perkins Township, and has long been recognized for its varied and interesting history. There are five standing homes that date back to the 1700s. The wildlife management area, about 1,755 acres in size, is located in the Kennebec River between the towns of Richmond and Dresden. The Island’s public visitation season generally runs from May 15th through Labor Day (with limited access through the fall). There are ten Adirondack type shelters available for overnight use; picnic facilities for day use; modern bathroom facilities at campground; and drinking water.

If you wish to visit the Swan Island Wildlife Management Area, you must make reservations for the ferry and/or campground. You may access the island, for day use, via personal canoe or kayak without a reservation; admission fees may be deposited in iron rangers. All visitor fees are as follows: day use, 3 years and under – free; 4 years and older – $ 8.00. For overnight camping, 3 years and under – free; 4 years and older – $14.00. Please visit our website at www.maine.gov/swanisland for more information and details about the island; or like us on Facebook!

Swan Island, the Steve Powell Wildlife Management Area, is owned and maintained by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Its operation and maintenance are supported by your fees as well as revenue from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, and federal monies under the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program.

“Know Before You Go” measure advances with unanimous support from workforce panel

 

Bill provides consumer-friendly data on college graduates’ earnings, employment rates 

AUGUSTA – Students and their families would have more information as they make higher education decisions under a bill that is advancing in the Legislature after winning the unanimous support of the Joint Select Committee on Maine’s Workforce and Economic Future on Monday.

LD 1746, the “Know Before You Go” bill, sponsored by House Majority Leader Seth Berry of Bowdoinham, would provide consumer-friendly information on the Internet about employment and earnings outcomes for graduates of Maine colleges and universities. The aggregate information would provide a window onto how graduates fare by major and institution at various time intervals after they complete their degrees.

“There’s plenty of information about the things going into a college education – the courses, the campus amenities and the extracurricular activities, just to name a few. But there’s virtually no information about educational output,” said Berry, House chair of the workforce committee. “Before making one of the biggest investments of their lives, students should have the answers to questions like, ‘How likely am I to find a job in my field?’ and ‘Will I make enough to support myself?’”

The bill has the support of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, Jobs for the Future, an education and workforce development organization, the Legislature’s bipartisan Youth Caucus, the University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System, Maine Maritime Academy and the Maine Independent Colleges Association. The state Department of Education and Department of Labor also support the bill.

“This bill is a good first step towards reducing uncertainty and increasing access to a college education,” said Senator Linda Valentino of Saco, the Senate Chair of the committee.

The bill would also inform policymakers as they assess higher education needs and trends in the state’s job market.

Increasingly, states across the country are providing similar higher education outcomes data to the public.  For example, the nonprofit CollegeMeasures.org has created websites for a number of states, listing graduates’ average incomes and employment rates.

As amended, the bill would create a task force of 15 members to develop procedures around the maintenance and dissemination of the data, which is already held by the state Department of Labor and Department of Education. There is no fiscal note on the bill.

The bill goes next to the House floor.

“Know Before You Go” bill receives broad support at public hearing

Measure provides consumer-friendly higher ed data on graduates’ average earnings, employment rate and more

February 10, 2014

AUGUSTA – A measure to provide students and their families with information that will help them make higher education decisions won broad support from education and business leaders during a public hearing Monday.

The “Know Before You Go” bill sponsored by House Majority Leader Seth Berry of Bowdoinham would provide consumer-friendly information on the Internet about the actual employment rates of each program’s graduates, their average incomes, monthly debt payments and other outcomes data by major and institution.

At a time when higher education costs are up while the job market remains down, it’s more important than ever that students and families are able to make informed decisions about college.

“Maine students are asking important questions,” Berry said. “‘If I graduate on time, what are the chances I will find a job in my chosen field in Maine? If I do, will I earn enough per month to live on and pay off my student debt?’ With this bill, we will for the first time provide the answers they need and deserve.”

Megan Phelps, a student at Bowdoin College, said the measure would provide a significant resource for Maine students.

“It will allow Maine students and their families to make informed decisions about their educational investment,” she said in her testimony. “It is information that I wish I’d had access to and will be invaluable to future Maine leaders.”

Representatives of the University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System, Maine Maritime Academy, the Maine Independent Colleges Association, Jobs for the Future and the Maine State Chamber of Commerce were among those who testified in support of the bill before the Joint Select Committee on Maine’s Workforce and Economic Future, which Berry co-chairs.

“The jobs of the future will require education and training beyond high school and many of the highest-growth and highest-wage jobs will require a bachelor’s degree or beyond. Maine students deserve to know how much this education will cost them so they can make wise, well-informed decisions,” Jessica Laliberte of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce said in her testimony.

Rep. Matthew Pouliot, R-Augusta, testified in support on behalf of the bipartisan Youth Caucus. He said the measure would be a useful tool for Mainers facing large student debts.

Maine students have the seventh-highest average student debt in the nation. Sixty-seven percent of 2012 college graduates in Maine have student loans to pay back, with an average debt of $29,300 per borrower.

“Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make, yet the financial burden and uncertainty keeps too many Maine students from pursuing their education,” said Senator Linda Valentino of Saco, the Senate Chair of the committee. “This bill is a good first step towards reducing uncertainty and increasing access to a college education.”

The bill would also inform policymakers as they assess higher education needs and give Maine colleges and universities a better sense of needs and trends in higher education and Maine’s job market. The measure would merge data held by the state Department of Labor and Department of Education.

Increasingly, states across the country are providing similar higher education outcomes data to the public. For example, the nonprofit CollegeMeasures.org has created websites for a number of states, listing graduates’ average incomes and employment rates.

“Know Before You Go” measure advances with unanimous support from workforce panel

 

Bill provides consumer-friendly data on college graduates’ earnings, employment rates 

AUGUSTA – Students and their families would have more information as they make higher education decisions under a bill that is advancing in the Legislature after winning the unanimous support of the Joint Select Committee on Maine’s Workforce and Economic Future on Monday.

LD 1746, the “Know Before You Go” bill, sponsored by House Majority Leader Seth Berry of Bowdoinham, would provide consumer-friendly information on the Internet about employment and earnings outcomes for graduates of Maine colleges and universities. The aggregate information would provide a window onto how graduates fare by major and institution at various time intervals after they complete their degrees.

“There’s plenty of information about the things going into a college education – the courses, the campus amenities and the extracurricular activities, just to name a few. But there’s virtually no information about educational output,” said Berry, House chair of the workforce committee. “Before making one of the biggest investments of their lives, students should have the answers to questions like, ‘How likely am I to find a job in my field?’ and ‘Will I make enough to support myself?’”

The bill has the support of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, Jobs for the Future, an education and workforce development organization, the Legislature’s bipartisan Youth Caucus, the University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System, Maine Maritime Academy and the Maine Independent Colleges Association. The state Department of Education and Department of Labor also support the bill.

“This bill is a good first step towards reducing uncertainty and increasing access to a college education,” said Senator Linda Valentino of Saco, the Senate Chair of the committee.

The bill would also inform policymakers as they assess higher education needs and trends in the state’s job market.

Increasingly, states across the country are providing similar higher education outcomes data to the public.  For example, the nonprofit CollegeMeasures.org has created websites for a number of states, listing graduates’ average incomes and employment rates.

As amended, the bill would create a task force of 15 members to develop procedures around the maintenance and dissemination of the data, which is already held by the state Department of Labor and Department of Education. There is no fiscal note on the bill.

The bill goes next to the House floor.

“Know Before You Go” bill receives broad support at public hearing

Measure provides consumer-friendly higher ed data on graduates’ average earnings, employment rate and more February 10, 2014 AUGUSTA – A measure to provide students and their families with information that will help them make higher education decisions won broad support from education and business leaders during a public hearing Monday. The “Know Before You Go”Continue Reading

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