Field Trips

Field Trips will be on Wednesday of the conference week and will include visits to area research and other points of interest. The optional Wednesday field trips and Wednesday evening dinner are not included in the conference registration costs.

NOTE:  Estimated field trip costs will be $45 per person and sign up for field trips will be available through the conference registration site.


Most field trips will be a full day excursion, departing from Point Lookout in Northport, ME at approximately 8 AM unless otherwise noted.  Breakfast will be provided at Point Lookout prior to departure.  Bus transportation for the field trip, along with a boxed lunch, will be provided. Costs include transportation and entrance fees.  Dinner will be on your own as a group on the way back to Northport.



Trip 1


Bear Brook Watershed in Maine and Howland Research Forest

Leader: Professor Ivan Fernandez, University of Maine


The Bear Brook Watershed in Maine (BBWM) is the site of a long-term, gaged, forested, first order paired stream watershed experiment located in eastern Maine, approximately 40 km from the Atlantic Ocean. Research at BBWM is internationally recognized for its contributions to understanding the effects of elevated nitrogen (N) and sulfur (S) deposition on forested watersheds through whole-ecosystem experimental manipulations.  The research was begun in the mid-1980s as part of the national agenda of research to determine the effects of acid deposition on surface waters and their related watersheds and is celebrating its 25th year in 2012.  The site is a US National Science Foundation Long-Term Research in Environmental Biology site.


Howland Research Forest is a 558 acre tract of mature, lowland evergreen forest located in central Maine. Research at the site initially focused on atmospheric deposition and nutrient cycling starting in the 1980s and has evolved over time to include soil warming experiments, forest harvesting manipulations, and air quality research.  Howland is best recognized as a key site in the AmeriFlux program focusing on atmosphere-landscape interactions governing carbon flux and storage in this evergreen, sub-boreal forest.  The study site includes several towers above the forest canopy in support of this research.



Trip 2


Maine's First Lake: Sargent Mountain Pond, Acadia National Park

Leader: Professor Steve Norton, University of Maine


Sargent Mountain Pond, 336 m above sea level, on an island off Maine's coast, was likely Maine's first post-glacial lake. The remote lake is in Acadia National Park, the third most-visited park in the U.S. A 5.3 m sediment core spanning 16,600 Y BP to the present documents the co-evolution of the landscape, including vegetation, soil development, and changing in-lake processes. The lake evolved from high pH and PO4 and low DOC to low pH, low PO4, and moderate DOC; the last 150 years included atmospheric acid and trace metal pollution, now declining (Norton et al. 2011, JOPL 46, 107-122). 


We will hike on scenic footpaths for about 8 km (roundtrip), with an elevation gain of ca. 250 m, much of it on exposed bedrock above the treeline, with spectacular views. Discussion of surficial and bedrock geology, and paleolimnology, will be continuous. Bring walking shoes, binoculars, a camera, and a small pack.



Trip 3


Wetlands and Vernal Pools in Acadia National Park

Leader: Professor Aram Calhoun, University of Maine


Acadia National Park has a rich diversity of wetlands and vernal pools that include those both typical of the larger New England forested landscape, as well as wetland ecosystems unique to coastal marine environments.  This field trip will include several stops, with two km walks through the forest,  to explore the variety of ecosystem types, with discussions of their ecological function and the policy issues that surround them. 

Photos courtesy A.S. Reeve


Trip 4


Profound Sea-Level Changes, Acadia National Park

Leader: Professor Joseph T. Kelley, University of Maine


Since the late 19th Century, Mount Desert Island has been studied by geologists interested in sea-level changes that accompanied deglaciation approximately 15,000 years ago. We will examine beautiful, contemporary coastal settings at Sand Beach (cold water carbonate beach), Monument Cove (granite boulder beach, sea stacks, sea arches, sea cliff), Schooner Head (large sea cave). We will also explore modern gravel beaches, a salt marsh, and a landslide caused by present rise of sea level. We will visit analogous paleo-sea cliffs, caves, stacks, and beaches dating from deglaciation, which are currently 70 m above sea level.


We will walk short distances from the van to most stops. A few longer hikes to the raised shoreline features will extend for about 2 km. The boulder beach (1-2 m diameter) represents a slippery and more challenging exercise. Discussion of surficial and bedrock geology as well as park history will accompany to coastal commentary. Bring walking shoes, binoculars, and a camera.



Trip 5


Maine's Ice Age Trail, Downeast

Leader: Professor Brenda Hall and graduate students, University of Maine


Maine is uniquely situated with respect to the last great ice sheet that covered the northern half of North America (The Laurentide Ice Sheet).  Deglaciation started about 22,000-25,000 years ago. The retreating margin of the ice sheet reached the present coastline of Maine about 16,000 y BP. Sea level was approximately 85 m above present sea level, resulting in the deposition of terrestrial sub-ice deposits and marine sediments, directly in contact or proximal to the ice margin, commonly inter-tonguing as the margin fluctuated. See Maine's Ice Age Trail website for more information.


The trip will leave Point Lookout and travel easterly to view marine clay and submarine moraines, deltas, wave cut beaches, eskers, till sheets, striated bedrock surfaces, and loess. Evidence for isostatic sea level changes will be discussed at a number of localities.

photo courtesy


Trip 6


Windjammer Sailing out of Camden Harbour



A 2-hour sail around Penobscot Bay on the windjammer Surprise (built in 1918) with captains Jack and Barbara Moore.  The sail offers a spectacular view of the rugged Maine coastline, off-shore islands, marine wildlife and working harbors from the deck of a historic 57-foot schooner. Camden is one of Maine’s most scenic harbours, filled with a mix of pleasure crafts and windjammer schooners, with streets lined with shops, arts, culture, and dining.

The maximum number of passengers is 18. If there is sufficient interest we can reserve for two groups. The trip is weather dependent.

Group 1: Sail from Camden Harbor at 10:00. Lunch in Camden village will follow.

Group 2 (if enough interest): Afternoon sail from Camden Harbor at 3:00 PM. Lunch in Camden village prior.


Camden Photos
Photo of Camden courtesy of TripAdvisor



Trip 7


Ocean Kayaking tour out of Camden Harbor



A 2-hour sea kayak tour, led by guides from Maine Sport Outfitters in Rockport, ME.

"Enjoy an up-close and personal view of marine birds, island lighthouses and distant coastal mountains on our popular Camden Harbor Sea Kayak Tour. Conducted in stable double sea kayaks and led by Maine Guides, tours depart from our new Bay View Landing location in Camden Harbor."



Camden is one of Maine’s most scenic harbors filled with a mix of pleasure crafts and windjammer schooners, with streets lined with shops, arts, culture, and dining.

If there is sufficient interest we can reserve tours for two groups. The trip is weather dependent.


Group 1: Morning kayak tour begins at 10:00 from the harbor. Lunch in Camden village will follow.

Group 2 (if enough interest): Afternoon kayak tour begins at 2:00 PM. Lunch in Camden village prior. 



Trip 8


Shopping at L.L. Bean and outlet stores, Freeport, ME and visit to Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, ME




A day trip to Freeport, Maine for shopping at the world-famous L.L. Bean flagship retail store.  Freeport is known as a hub of outlet stores for major brands, anchored by the world famous L.L. Bean.  Lunch will be in Freeport village.


On the return trip to Northport, we will stop in Rockland to visit the Farnsworth Art Museum, which houses collections of American art, including originals by Andrew and N.C. Wyeth. The museum is situated in downtown Rockland among historic properties that are part of the museum campus. 


photo courtesy


Trip 9


Coastal Marshes and Shorelines: Mt. Desert Island, Schoodic Peninsula

Leader: Professor Daniel F. Belknap, University of Maine

Maine was glaciated numerous times in the Quaternary, culminating in the Wisconsinan Last Glacial Maximum, during which ice extended through the Gulf of Maine to Georges Bank, ca. 24 ka cal.  Glacial erosion shaped the bedrock-framed coastline of peninsulas and embayments into a low, rolling coast.  Isostatic depression lowered the coast below global eustatic low levels, ca. -120 m, with the result that till, deglacial outwash, and glaciomarine mud covered the present coastal lowlands.  During the rapid early uplift, local relative sea level fell to -60 m ca. 12.3 ka cal., even as global sea level was rising rapidly, causing littoral erosion and fluvial incision of the late Pleistocene sediments to as much as 10's of km offshore.  Local sea level initially rose rapidly, and then slowed in the mid-to-late Holocene, and continues today.  Holocene sea-level rise provided accommodation space for salt marshes in protected back-barrier, estuarine, and marine embayment settings.  Peats as old as 8 ka cal. have been recovered (-15 m), but the oldest continuous salt-marsh records begin ca. 6 ka cal., 6-8 m below present.  In certain locations, transgression of salt marshes onto ombrotrophic raised bogs provides information on the leading edge of the transgression, and about the change from a freshwater bog to a tidal salt marsh.  We will see examples of bog collapse, physical erosion (ice, waves), biogeochemical changes (rotting, sulfate reduction), and passive transgressive overlap, and more general examples of coastal systems, on a trip to Mt. Desert Island, the Schoodic Peninsula, and Gouldsboro Grand Marsh.



Trip 10


Bedrock Terranes of Mid-Coast Maine

Leader: Henry N. Berry, Maine Geological Survey




The beautiful islands, peninsulas, and hills of the Maine coast are carved into an equally beautiful and complex bedrock foundation.  The conference venue lies within the suture zone between Paleozoic tectonic plates.  The continental crust, which now clings to the eastern edge of North America has more in common with western Europe and northwest Africa than with New York.  On this trip we will see sedimentary and volcanic rocks which formed in various tectonic environments within the Iapetus Ocean - the Paleozoic ocean which separated ancestral North America from Baltica, before Pangea was assembled, and long before the modern Atlantic opened.  Although the rocks were transformed by metamorphism and structural deformation in the Devonian Acadian orogeny, clues to their earlier history survive.


The field trip will include a half-hour ride on a passenger ferry to Islesboro, crossing a major submerged fault to look at the oldest and least-metamorphosed(!) rocks of the day.  We will then return to the mainland and follow detailed geologic maps westward across several terranes, stopping at bedrock outcrops that will entertain your eyes and challenge your imagination.  There will be a few short walks and some uneven footing, but no hikes or steep grades. For additional information, see:


Simplified Bedrock Geologic Map of Maine:

 Geology of Grindle Point, Islesboro:

 Geology of Mount Battie, Camden:

 Geology of Marshall Shore Park, Liberty:


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