Introduction To the Friends of Peary's Eagle Island
Eagle Island belongs to all of us as a living memorial to Admiral Robert E. Peary, the first to lead a party of explorers to the North Pole. The Island was given to the citizens of Maine by the Peary family in trust for all Americans. The Maine Department of Conservation, Bureau of Parks & Lands, acts as a trustee in partnership with the Friends of Peary's Eagle Island .
The Friends goal is to help preserve and protect this national treasure. We believe that the Admiral and all his family would be pleased that each summer hundreds of visitors "from away" come to enjoy this beautiful island, which was a supreme joy to those who made their home there for so many years. This Island home is a national symbol of the persistence, endurance, and achievement, in the face of overwhelming odds, of Admiral Peary. His personal motto was --"Inveniam viam aut faciam" -- Find a way or make one.
The Friends was established in 1992 and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, all volunteer organization. The group works closely with the Bureau of Parks and Lands to identify and support the efforts to maintain and preserve the main house, caretaker's cottage, as well as the 17 acre island they rest on. The Bureau of Parks and Lands has done an outstanding job maintaining the Admiral's house, recently replacing the roof and siding with cedar shingles, rebuilding all the windows, and resealing the deck which surrounds the building.
In the past two years the Friends have sponsored two major projects: the first was replacing the old outhouse with a modern, environmentally safe composting toilet; the second was providing a fire suppression / intrusion alarm system for the main house. Money for these latter projects was raised from generous gifts of our members and from grants by charitable foundations as well as the State of Maine . Earlier the Bureau of Parks and Lands, supported by a grant from the National Geographic Society, totally restored the Admiral's unique library located in the west "bastion" structure.
We have been most fortunate to have recruited volunteers to do ongoing studies of the birds on Eagle Island , the marine life in the surrounding waters, and the island ecology including restoration of Josephine Peary's lovely island garden. We always need more volunteers. Here is some of the work we do:
1. Archival work.
2. Cataloging of books and artifacts.
4. Educational outreach through teaching kits for use in local schools, a documentary film for both children and adults, and a teachers guide for "Dream of the Far North".
5. Search for artifacts to replace any that are missing, and preserve those valuable artifacts that remain in the house in the house.
6. Run a Trading Post to help raise the money to support these projects.
7. Publication of the Eagle Island Journal twice a year.
8 .'Volunteer Days' for house and trail maintenance.
These are but a few of our many undertakings. The Friends seek volunteers to join our working board of directors. We also seek volunteers to join us to work on the many projects described above. If you are interested please call Adm.Harry Rich (725-8510), write us at: P. O. Box 70 , Bailey Island, ME. 04003 or click HERE for a form to send us an email message. We look forward to hearing from you.
The Friends also seek financial assistance to fund these projects and if you are interested please click on "Become a Member".
A group of Friends Board members and State Park staff seated on the steps of the main entrance to the house on Eagle Island.
Annual meeting, August 13, 2003