Friends of Maine Seabird Islands, a nonprofit support group for the Maine Coastal Island National Wildlife Refuge, was recently awarded a $5,000 grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation.

The donation will be used for exterior renovations to an historic building on Water Street in Rockland that will become the site of the Refuge’s Maine Coast Discovery Center, a visitor center to raise awareness about conservation issues of the Maine coast. The Friends facilitated the purchase of the former daycare center for the Refuge this spring and continues to support the Refuge in its ongoing efforts to convert the building to use as a visitor center.

So far, $10,000 has been raised in private funds by the Friends to fund exterior painting of the building. Additional funds have been raised to modify the interior as it changes from a daycare center to a visitor center. Because the Friends of Maine Seabird Islands is a grassroots, volunteer-led organization, it is especially grateful for the generous support of individuals and private foundations, including the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, that are helping to make this renovation possible.

The mission of the Friends group is to support the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge in its efforts to conserve, protect, and enhance the rich diversity of coastal habitats of seabirds and other wildlife. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Refuge spans over 200 miles of Maine coastline, includes 50 islands-including seabird nesting islands-and totals more than 8,000 acres. For more information on the Friends of Maine Seabird Islands, please visit www.maineseabirds.org.