The National Wildlife Refuge Association(NWRA) is forging a new partnership with the local group Friends of Maine’s Seabird Islands (FOMSI) to assist in fund-raising efforts. The funds are needed to support the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge’s seabird restoration efforts in the Gulf of Maine.

Atlantic puffins are on many tourists “must go to Maine and see one” bucket list and are an important economic asset. There are dozens of tour boats offering tours to see these off-shore assets, as well as a healthy trade in puffin paraphernalia. What many people may not know is that over 90% of Maine’s puffins nest and raise the next generation of puffins on Refuge Islands, which are intensively managed to help the birds.

To help supplement the Refuge’s flat budgets, which are being eroded by inflation, these two non-profits are cooperating on a number of fund-raising projects. On July 26 at 5 pm, members of both groups are hosting an enhanced tour to Petit Manan Island to view seabirds. The Bar Harbor Whale Watch is sponsoring the trip aboard the Friendship 5 out of Bar Harbor. The trip will include a chance to talk directly with refuge staff and island researchers. Wine donated by the Mondavi’s Divining Rod Wines and hors d’oeurves, as well as a live auction, will enliven the trip.

For more information, contact Carney Doucette, Friends of Maine’s Seabird Islands, 207-594-0600 ext. 5,