Kent Island Timeline

10,000 BP  Pleistocene glaciers cover Kent Island

5000 BP-1930 Abenaki cross Bay from Passamaquoddy Bay to spend summers hunting seals

3300 BP As global climate warms and ice sheet rise, sea levels rise, submerging hemlock forests along shoreline (stumps still visible in intertidal)

1799 English settler John Kent arrives with family to serve as pilot in Bay of Fundy, farm root crops, raise sheep, and burn limestone

1828 John Kent dies (age 62)

1853 Kent’s widow Susannah Kent dies (age 92)

1913 Wood Island fisherman Ernest Joy shoots yellow-nosed albatross west of Kent Island

 Grand Manan Island naturalist Allan Moses prepares scientific specimen, eventually donating it to the American Museum of Natural History in New York in exchange for future opportunity to join collecting expedition

1920 McLaughlin Bros. Ltd. buys Kent Island

1928 Moses joins expedition to Tanganyika (now Tanzania) and the Belgian Congo (now Democratic Republic of Congo) with Yale-educated amateur ornithologist J. Sterling Rockefeller

1929 Moses succeeds in collecting African green broadbill, one of world’s rarest and least known birds and one of the main objectives of the expedition

1930 at Moses’s suggestion, Rockefeller buys Kent Island in gratitude in order to protect one of the most important breeding colonies of endangered common eiders  Allan Moses and Ralph Griffin hired by Rockefeller as the bird sanctuary’s first wardens, while managing Rockefeller’s silver fox farm

1932 Bowdoin College ornithology professor Alfred Gross conducts field study of eiders, Ernest Mayr visits island

1934 Bowdoin sophomore Bill Gross and other KI pioneers spend summer studying Leach’s storm-petrels and other seabirds

 Harvard University evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr recommends that Rockefeller give island to Bowdoin

1935 Bill Gross, influenced by childhood experience with father at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Barro Colorado Island, Panama, approaches Rockefeller about donating Kent Island to Bowdoin College

1936 Rockefeller donates Kent Island to Bowdoin College for $1

 Bowdoin Scientific Station, with Alfred Gross as director and Bill Gross as field director

1937 Bob Cunningham arrives to help set up meteorological  station (continues research on fog chemistry through 2006)

1939 Henry Ingalls dies

1948 Joy’s “housekeeper,” Carrie Chase, dies; Bowdoin President Casey Sillls visits

1949 Ernest Joy leaves Kent Island

1951 Ingalls’s “housekeeper” Hannah Cheney dies

1951 Ernest Joy dies in Lubec, Maine (age 72)

1953 Alfred Gross retires; Chuck Huntington serves as director; Bowdoin President Spike Coles visits

1959 snowshoe hares introduced on Hay Island

1986 Chuck Huntington retires and is succeeded by Nat Wheelwright

1992 Bowdoin President Bob Edwards visits

2003 Bowdoin College purchases Hay and Sheep Islands from Owen and Jack Ingalls

2004 Bob Mauck succeeds Nat Wheelwright. Bowdoin President Barry Mills visits

2008 Damon Gannon succeeds Bob Mauck as director. Workshop held on Kent Island to chart out future research plans and new programmatic initiatives. This workshop is attended by Bowdoin faculty from the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, History, and Visual Arts; visiting researchers; and the Dean of Academic Affairs, Cristle Collins Judd. 

2016 Don Dearborn, Interim Director, succeeds Damon Gannon. 

2017 Ed Minot, Interim Director, succeeds Don Dearborn.

2017/2018 Patricia Jones succeeds Ed Minot as Director. Ian Kyle is hired as Assistant Director.