Resources & Facilities – Field Stations

The Bowdoin Pines

Adjacent to the campus on either side of the Bath Road is a 33-acre site known as the Bowdoin Pines. Cathedral white pines, some of them 135 years old, tower over the site, which is a rare example of one of Maine’s few remaining old-growth forests. For biology students, the Pines provides an easily accessible outdoor laboratory. For other students, the site offers a place for a walk between classes, an inspirational setting for creating art, or simply a bit of solitude. A system of trails within the Pines makes the site accessible to students and community members.

Bowdoin Scientific Station

The College maintains an island-based scientific field station in the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, Canada, where qualified students can conduct research in ecology, animal behavior, marine biology, botany, geology, and meteorology. The Bowdoin Scientific Station (BSS) is located on a cluster of islands in the Grand Manan Archipelago known as Three Islands. Three Islands consists of Kent, Sheep, and Hay Islands, which are owned entirely by the College. Kent Island, the largest of the Three Islands (250 acres), was presented to the College in 1936 by J. Sterling Rockefeller. In 2003, the College acquired neighboring Hay and Sheep Islands to help preserve the unique environment offered by Three Islands. The Bowdoin Scientific Station has an international reputation, with more than 205 peer-reviewed publications based on research at Three Islands, approximately 35 percent of which were co-authored by students.

Three Islands is a major seabird breeding ground. Its location makes it a concentration point for migrating birds in spring and fall. The famous Fundy tides create excellent opportunities for the study of marine biology. Three Islands also features a variety of terrestrial habitats.

Although formal courses are not offered at BSS, students from Bowdoin and other institutions select problems for investigation at Three Islands during the summer and conduct independent field work with the advice and assistance of a faculty director. Students have the opportunity to collaborate with faculty members and graduate students from numerous universities and colleges. Three-day field trips to BSS are a feature of Bowdoin’s courses in ecology and ornithology.

Coastal Studies Center

The Coastal Studies Center occupies a 118-acre coastal site that is twelve miles from the campus on Orr’s Island and known as Thalheimer Farm. The Center is devoted to interdisciplinary teaching and research in archaeology, marine biology, terrestrial ecology, ornithology, and geology.

The Center’s facilities include a marine biological laboratory with flowing seawater for laboratory observation, a pier facility located on Harpswell Sound, and a terrestrial ecology laboratory. These facilities play an active role in Bowdoin’s programs in biology, earth and oceanographic science, and environmental studies, and the site has been widely used for studio art courses. In addition, the centrally located farmhouse provides seminar and kitchen facilities where classes from all disciplines can gather in a retreat-like atmosphere that encourages sustained, informal interaction among students and faculty members.

The Coastal Studies Center site is surrounded on three sides by the ocean and encompasses open fields, orchards, and old-growth spruce-fir forest. A 4.5-mile interpretive trail runs through the site, offering students and the local community a glimpse into the cultural and natural history of the property and surrounding coastal waters.