Allen and Benner Islands are located 5 miles south of Port Clyde, Maine. The islands were developed by Betsy Wyeth and were the inspiration for many of Andrew Wyeth’s last paintings. Colby College has taken ownership of Allen Island and Benner Island from the Up East Foundation and the Wyeth Foundation for American Art as part of an important initiative to preserve these extraordinary areas and continue to utilize them as centers for learning, research, and creative inspiration. The channel between the islands forms a well-protected harbor with large commercial docks that support an active lobster fishery. Buildings on the islands include a number of homes, meeting spaces, classrooms, working barns, and a bunkhouse supporting up to 30 overnight guests. The south end of the Allen Island is undeveloped and can be accessed via a dirt road running through large tracks of native trees. A professional staff of five maintain the Island Campus and provide year-round boat service from Port Clyde (weather permitting).
Island Campus Programing: As stewards of these extraordinary islands, the college is actively encouraging interdisciplinary programing that make effective use of the islands’ facilities, landscape, wildlife, habitats, art, and culture. We expect most programs to run during warmer weather (April through October), but winter programing is also an option for smaller groups.
Participation in Island Campus Programs: All members of the Colby community are encouraged to submit programing proposals to use Allen and Benner Islands. Programing could be in areas of environmental science, education, cultural geography, documentary film, economics, American history, art history, and many other areas currently not imagined. Programs should be sensitive to island history, community, and ecology. The islands are a collaborative community with all members helping as they are able to move gear, cook, clean, and leave no trace at the end of the program.
Overnight accommodations include seven private bedrooms, a sixteen person bunkhouse, and abundant tenting options. Colby provides transportation to Port Clyde, food, and logistics support for faculty, staff, and students. Programing can be scheduled all times of the year, but transportation to the island is more predictable April through November. It is a five-mile, thirty-minute boat ride from Port Clyde to Allen Island.
Faculty and staff interested in opportunities on Allen Island or Herring Gut should contact Whitney King ([email protected]) for more information on existing programs and to schedule a planning visit . Student groups are welcome, but must have a faculty/staff sponsor.