Ashley Megquier photo Children examine a monarch caterpillar in the milkweed field on Sears Island.

SEARSPORT — At the start of the school year, Friends of Sears Island (FOSI) typically kicks off Science Squad, a monthly after school program for youth ages 5-12 and their parents that engages children as explorers, scientists, and stewards of the local environment. These programs are typically held in-person, but given the pandemic, FOSI has opted to offer families a socially distant, self-serve version of Science Squad this fall, in the form of grab-and-go activity bags.

September’s theme is animal migrations, and this month’s kit will include lessons and activity guides about monarch butterfly and bird migrations. The activity bag will contain all the materials needed to make a pinecone bird feeder for birds journeying south, a small journal to keep track of migratory bird species, and a magnifying glass to encourage families to visit the milkweed field on Sears Island and look for monarchs in various stages of their lifecycle.

“As families adapt to new ways of educating their children in this unprecedented time, we want to encourage them to use Sears Island as a natural classroom. We hope that these themed activity bags will inspire parents and their children to learn outdoors together,” said FOSI’s Outreach Coordinator Ashley Megquier. “Parents are invited to bring their kids to pick up their kit and then stay to explore on Sears Island, but many of the activities can easily be done at home too.”

The kits are free and intended for children ages 5-12. Donations to FOSI are always greatly appreciated to allow the organization to continue to offer programming to all at no cost. Activity bag quantities are limited and will be distributed to families on a first-come, first-served basis. The pick-up date for this month will be Tuesday, Sept. 15, from 3:30-5 pm on Sears Island, but if families cannot make that time, they can pick up their bags at the Carver Memorial Library in Searsport at their earliest convenience.

To reserve a kit for your child, please email learn more about Friends of Sears Island check out or