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 a scientific field station on Kent Island, off Grand Manan Island, 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 200-acre island was presented to the College in 1935 by John Sterling Rockefeller. Since then, the field station has built an international reputation, with more than 150 publications based on research at Kent Island, many of them co-authored by Bowdoin students.
Kent Island 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. The island also features a variety of terrestrial habitats. In 2005, the College acquired neighboring Hay and Sheep Islands to help preserve the unique environment offered by the Scientific Station.
Although formal courses are not offered at the station, students from Bowdoin and other institutions select problems for investigation on Kent Island 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 Kent Island 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 of live marine organisms, a pier facility located on Harpswell Sound, and a terrestrial ecology laboratory, which serves as a field station for research and study of coastal ecology. 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.
During the course of the academic year, students study ecology at a site three miles south of the campus, using an 83-acre tract of College-owned land that extends to a salt marsh and the sea. Numerous habitats of resident birds are found on the property, which is also a stopover point for many migratory species. Because of its proximity to campus, many students visit Coleman Farm for natural history walks, cross-country skiing, and other forms of recreation.