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Exploring Our Relationship To Nature

Join us for four days of exploration – in the field, in the studio and at the writer’s desk – during Spring Break April 18-21, 2016 for the fourth annual ARROW Retreat.

A=Art R=Reading R=Reflection O=Observation W=Writing

Young writers, illustrators and nature lovers at the sixth, seventh and eighth-grade levels will investigate the history and places of Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park as part of its Centennial Celebration, explore their relationship to nature, hone their creative skills and have fun with peers.

ARROW Retreat is open to homeschoolers and students from Mount Desert Island, Trenton, Swan’s Island, Frenchboro and the Cranberry Isles. There is no fee, but registration is required.

With the Village Improvement Society (VIS) building in Town Hill as their headquarters and Mount Desert Island as their playground, ARROW Retreat participants will have the chance to work with professional writers, an artist, Park Rangers, educators and environmentalists in real hands-on work that will include an open studio and reception for family and friends. Join us!

ARROW Retreat is open on a first-come, first-served basis to the first 30 individuals who register. On-line registration begins on Monday, March 28 at 5:00pm.

Participants meet at the VIS Building in Town Hill from 12:00 to 5 p.m. each day (except Wednesday – open studio and reception until 5:30). Each participant will get a journal, art supplies, and reading material, setting the stage for the adventures that lie ahead.

Meet Your Leaders!

Gary schmidtGary Schmidt is the author of numerous young adult novels, including Wednesday Wars, which won a Newbery Honor, and Lizzie Bright and the Buckminister Boy, which won both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Prize. Many of his books are set in Maine.

Schmidt attended Gordon College in Massachusetts and graduate school at the University of Illinois, earning a Ph.D. in medieval literature. He has been a professor of English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for more than twenty-five years. He lives on a one-hundred-fifty-year-old farm in Alto, Michigan, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, and feeds the wild cats that drop by. This will be his second time working with kids at the ARROW Retreat.


Rebekah RayeRebekah Raye is a well-known painter and sculptor of animal art. She is the author and illustrator of The Very Best Bed, which won a Maine Literary Award from the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance and Bear-ly There, winner of the 2010 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award. Most recently, she illustrated The Secret Bay, written by Kim Ridley and published in the fall of 2015. A native of Tennessee, Rebekah lives in East Blue Hill, Maine, and interacts daily with animals domestic and wild, which provide inspiration for her art. She also teaches workshops for adults and children.

Rebekah believes that ideas can become a reality, and students of every ability can express themselves through art. Everyone has their own special way of drawing, painting, and writing. With gentle and encouraging guidance, she draws out each student’s special talent. This will be her fourth time at the ARROW Retreat.



George NeptuneGeorge Neptune is the grandson of National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellow award winner, Molly Neptune Parker. Neptune is one of the rising young stars of Maine Indian basketry. Raised by his Grandmother Molly on the Passamaquoddy Reserve in Indian Township, Maine which lies along the Canadian border/St.Croix River, George attended grammar school on the reservation and received a degree in theater from Dartmouth College.

He is an educator at the Abbe Museum, and said he thinks constantly about how to teach non-native people about native culture. He hopes his work will help sow seeds of understanding between peoples who have been at odds since Europeans arrived in North America.



Carl Little Nov 2014Carl Little is the author of Paintings of Maine, Edward Hopper’s New England, and The Watercolors of John Singer Sargent, among other books. His 2012 monograph Eric Hopkins: Above and Beyond won the first John N. Cole Award from the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Little lectures widely, and writes for Art New England, Hyperallergic, Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors and Ornament. His poetry appears in Ocean Drinker: New & Selected Poems and three anthologies e

dited by Wesley McNair, the poet laureate of Maine.

A native New Yorker, Little moved to Mount Desert Island in 1989. He holds degrees from Dartmouth, Columbia, and Middlebury. He directed the public affairs office and the Blum Gallery at College of the Atlantic for eight years before joining the Maine Community Foundation as director of communications and marketing in 2001.

AcadiaCentennialLogoFinalA park ranger from Acadia National Park will be joining us during the retreat to discuss the history of The Champlain Society, a group of individuals who were early and regular visitors to MDI committed to the natural world and all it had to offer. They were the inspiration for the founding of Acadia and the forerunners of the American conservation movement as they observed, recorded and appreciated nature. A trained park ranger will facilitate outdoor exploration of the scientific, artistic, and natural wonder that still captivates visitors to the island today.

Schedule at a Glance

Day 1 – April 18, 12:00 – 5 p.m.

Group Warm Up
Introduction and Retreat Overview
Guided Outdoor Exploration with George Neptune
Slide Presentation by Carl Little and Discussion
Writing Workshop with Gary Schmidt

Day 2 – April 19, 12:00 – 5 p.m.

Group Warm Up
Guided Outdoor Exploration with a Park Ranger
Writing Workshops with Gary Schmidt

Day 3 – April 20, 12:00 – 5:30 p.m.

Group Warm Up
Art Workshop with Rebekah Raye
Open Studio and Reception

Day 4 – April 21, 12:00 – 5 p.m.

Group Warm Up
Culminating Outdoor Project
Closing Reflections – Celebrate!