Events at Visitor Center

Maine Coastal Islands NWR Visitor Center

One of the ways FOMCI supports the wildlife refuge is by providing programming, exhibits and art to the Visitor Center in Rockland with grants and your donations. The center is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. except for holidays. The center also is open on the First Friday Art Walks in Rockland from 5:00-8:00 p.m. and on select evenings and Saturdays for events.  During July and August, the center is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Come explore the center at 9 Water Street in Rockland, Maine. For more information, call 594-0600, ext. 5.


Thursdays in March at 11:30 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.  Conservation Heroes & Heroines – Be Inspired Film Series.   3/15 – Silent Spring, Rachel Carson; 3/22 – America’s Darling, Jay N. Ding Darling; 3/29 – Green Fire, Aldo Leopold; 4/5 –Arctic Dance – the Mardy Murie Story  

Wednesday, March 21, 6:30 p.m. “Shooting” from My Kayak

Carla out kayaking

 Amateur photographer Carla Skinder of St. George returns to Maine Coastal Islands NWR Visitor Center to share her passions of photography and kayaking.   Her talk, “Shooting” from My Kayak, will highlight photos taken from her kayak both locally and abroad, interspersed with fun vignettes of creatures she has encountered.  


Thursday, March 22, 6:30 p.m.  Dream Trip to the High Arctic Being Offered – 

Come learn how you can take a dream trip to the High Arctic and support the Friends of Maine Coastal Islands NWR on Thursday, March 22, 6:30 p.m. at the Maine Coastal Islands NWR Visitor Center.  Rupert Pilkington, Arctic guide and polar bear specialist, will be leading two expedition-style trips in late summer and fall of 2019 to the Norwegian High Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.  Imagine traveling through a trackless, pristine wilderness devoid of people or infrastructure, where it is possible to observe extraordinary wildlife in its natural habitat over 10 days with a small group and expert guides.

We have access to two ships for expedition-style trips in the Norwegian High Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.  These trips will depart from the town of Longyearbyen, on the island of Spitsbergen, for 10-day open itineraries intended to maximize opportunity to experience Svalbard’s extraordinary landscapes and wildlife.  During that time, we would hope to see polar bears, blue whales, fin whales, minke whales and beluga, walrus, bearded seals, Greenland seals, Svalbard reindeer and Arctic fox.  In addition, sea birds such as the thick-billed murre, kittiwake, pigeon guillemot and dovekie can be seen in vast numbers, while we would also expect to see common loons, red-throated divers, red phalaropes, pink-footed geese, barnacle geese, Svalbard puffins, Arctic terns, giant skuas, three species of jaeger and common eider ducks, among many others.  In addition to these, king eiders, Sabine’s gulls and the much sought-after ivory gull are frequently seen in Svalbard.

The first of these trips will be aboard the M/S Polaris from August 28 – September 7, 2019, and the second will be aboard the M/S Freya from September 19-29, 2019.  The Polaris has a guest capacity of 12 while the Freya has space for 18.  While both ships have shallow drafts, allowing them to travel in only a few meters of water, both also carry Zodiac inflatables for watching wildlife more closely and for shore landings.

The trips will be led by expert guides whose extensive experience of both Svalbard and the wider Arctic will allow them to keep the guests safe and well-informed in the otherwise casual and friendly atmosphere of a small ship.

If these trips are of interest to you and you would like to know more about them, please join us for an informal slideshow and question and answer session.

                 For more information about programs,  sign up for our e-newsletter or email request to (unless specified, programming is free of charge, although donations are appreciated to support the work of FOMCI)