St. George news

By Sandra Dickson | Jun 01, 2018
Photo by: Sandra Dickson The town's new solar-powered speed feedback sign has been set up near the library in Tenants Harbor and already has improved drivers' awareness. The sign, part of the road safety improvements being implemented by the town this year, will be moved to various locations as summer progresses.

Spring migration

I was on Monhegan last week and witnessed the arrival of the birds at the peak of their spring migration. They blew in on a brisk south wind and brought the bare trees to life as birders from the mainland pointed, focused their binoculars and cameras, and named their sightings. Excitement ran high as one rare species after another came into view. One fellow fresh off the boat saw 50 different species in less than two hours.

My own attempts to identify the dozens of different warblers was challenging, even with help of my handy bird book, but I had no trouble recognizing a catbird, a red-eyed vireo, a bright Baltimore oriole and several American redstarts.

It occurred to me that it could be a valuable addition to our school curriculum, perhaps through visiting experts, to introduce our children to the great variety of birds beyond the ubiquitous robins, chickadees, blue jays, and mourning doves. Such knowledge could provide incentive for future generations to preserve natural habitats.

If anyone in St. George hopes to catch part of the migration at Monhegan, the ferry service from Port Clyde is now running three trips a day: the Laura B. at 7 a.m., except Sundays, through June, and the Elizabeth Ann at 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily. Boat reservations are recommended and may be made by calling 372-8848. The trip itself may include sightings of puffins or other interesting sea life.

Also right on schedule this past week were the black flies that annually coincide with the blooming of the sweet-scented virburnum carlisii, what I call "the black fly bush" when I can't come up with the Latin name.

St. George alumni

Josh McPhail kindly alerted me to a change in the St. George Alumni Association, in which membership was previously limited to graduates from the old high school in Tenants Harbor. After it closed around 1963, most St. George seniors graduated from high school in Thomaston.

All current St. George alumni are over age 70. Lamenting their dwindling numbers, they decided to invite anyone who ever attended school in St. George to join the association, starting with this year's eighth-grade class. Jim Skoglund said the name is changing to the St. George School Association to accommodate all new members.

The St. George Alumni banquet dinner is held every year on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend at the Odd Fellows Hall in Tenants Harbor.

St. George Historical meeting

The monthly historical meeting will be Thursday, May 31, at the St. George Grange in Wiley's Corner. Everyone is welcome to attend, beginning with a potluck supper at 6 p.m. The meeting begins at 7. Charles Heino will speak on the history of the hen and broiler industries. There is no charge, but a collection will be taken.

Parks & Recreation

Baseball, softball and T-ball are in full swing for the summer. For their game schedule, check the town website at stgeorgemaine.com and click on the P & R link. You can look under "announcements" or "events calendar" and may also add your name to the email list for weekly news and reminders of coming events.

A little history

Did you know that Monhegan Island was once known briefly as "St. George's Island"? While rereading "Monhegan: The Artists' Island," by Jane and Will Curtis and Frank Lieberman [DownEast Books, 1995], I was reminded that when this area was first visited by explorers from France and England in the 1600s, it fell to the ships' captains to name the islands and shores they encountered and mapped in their travels.

In 1604, Champlain named the island of Monhegan "Le Nef" ("A great ship"), but that same year, George Weymouth came along and called it "St. George's Island," after the patron saint of England. Neither name stuck. Instead, Monhegan took its final name from the Abenaki Indian word for "great island."

Jane Curtis, whose husband, Will, the voice behind MPR's former broadcast, "The Nature of Things," was on the island last week to open her cottage for the season. She will celebrate her 100th birthday June 7. Happy birthday, Jane!

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[PHOTO by Sandra Dickson]

The town's new solar-powered speed feedback sign has been set up near the library in Tenants Harbor and already has improved drivers' awareness. The sign, part of the road safety improvements being implemented by the town this year, will be moved to various locations as summer progresses.

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