Friends of Merrymeeting Bay plans to host an evening paddle around Little Swan Island on Monday, Aug. 7, people can join former FOMB Executive Director Warren Whitney in departing from Richmond.

Friends of Merrymeeting Bay plans to host two events in its 2023 Outside Summer Series.

On Monday, Aug. 7, people can join former FOMB Executive Director Warren Whitney in departing from Richmond for an evening paddle around Little Swan Island.

On Saturday, Aug. 12, they can join Maine Historic Preservation historical archaeologist Leith Smith in a Phase 1 archaeology survey of a conservation easement parcel in Bowdoinham, across the Kennebec River from Swan Island.

Located in the Kennebec River between Richmond and Dresden, four-mile Swan Island and adjacent Little Swan Island are part of the Steve Powell Wildlife Management Area and included on the National Register of Historic Places. The Island’s name itself is derived from “Swango,” the Abenaki name for “Island of Eagles,” according to a news release from Ed Friedman of Friends of Merrymeeting Bay.

In the late 1800s, a small settlement on the island survived by farming, fishing, lumbering, shipbuilding, brick manufacturing and ice making. The island also was reportedly visited by American historical figures Aaron Burr, Benedict Arnold and Col. Henry Dearborn while on Arnold’s 1775 expedition to capture Quebec City.

The Friends work with landowners to permanently protect valuable conservation habitat. The site of this summer’s archaeology survey overlooks the Kennebec opposite the lower end of Swan Island in Bowdoinham. This site has a historical component in the form of an old brickyard, common along Maine watercourses, and also an elevated ridge parallel to the river which holds some prehistoric potential. On the ridge, volunteers will dig and screen test pits at regular intervals on a couple of long transects.


Space is limited on this dig; a donation is requested to help offset the over $4,000 cost for Maine Historic Preservation Commission personnel.

Registration is required for the outings. To register for the 5 p.m. evening Swan Island paddle, call Whitney at 207-607-9057. Participants must bring their own boat and possess at least intermediate paddling skills. PFDs are required. To register for the archaeology survey with Friedman, call 207-666-3372.

The FOMB Summer Outside! Series is the warm weather counterpart to FOMB’s Winter Speaker Series. Events are usually free and are open to the public; registration is required.

The organization’s next outing will be a Mushroom Walk at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 17, led by Michaeline Mulvey, president of the Maine Mycological Association. For further details, register with Friedman by calling 207-666-3372.

For the full Summer Outside! Series schedule, visit


Check out other upcoming area events!

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