Allen and Benner Islands are interdisciplinary study centers located at the edge of Muscongus Bay, 5 miles south of Port Clyde, Maine. The islands were developed by Betsy Wyeth, the wife of famous American painter Andrew Wyeth, to serve as the inspiration for many of her husband’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 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. The islands have homes, meeting spaces, classrooms, working barns, and a bunkhouse, allowing for up to 30 overnight guests.  The south end of Allen Island is undeveloped and can be accessed via a dirt road running through large tracks of native trees. A professional staff of five maintains the Island Campus and provides year-round boat service from Port Clyde (weather permitting).

Island Campus Programing:  As stewards of these extraordinary islands, the college is actively encouraging interdisciplinary programming that makes 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 programming is also an option for smaller groups.

Participation in Island Campus Programs:  All members of the Colby community are encouraged to submit programming proposals to use Allen and Benner Islands. Programming 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 can move gear, cook, clean, and leave no trace at the end of the program.

Allen Island

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.   Programming can be scheduled at all times of the year, but transportation to the island is more predictable from April through November.  It is a five-mile, thirty-minute boat ride from Port Clyde to Allen Island.

Faculty and staff interested in Allen Island or Herring Gut opportunities 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.