benefit event

Now at the Nest

Bird walks with Schoodic Institute's Seth Benz May 6, 13, 20, 27

May 6 - 27, 2021

Seth Benz, director of the Schoodic Bird Ecology Lab, will lead bird walks on Thursday mornings in May from the Wendell Gilley Museum. Group size is limited to 10 people and all ages are welcome.

Participants will meet at the Gilley at 7am, with coffee and pastry available along with a tour of the museum. The group will depart the museum promptly at 7:30am for a birding location on Mount Desert Island chosen that day by Seth. There is a $25 per person fee, and registration is required. Mask required and social distancing will be observed.

Dates are: May 6, May 13, May 20, and May 27. To sign up, send an email to and please include your name, email, telephone number, and the date of the Seth Benz Bird Walk you're interested in.

As director of Schoodic Institute’s Bird Ecology Program, Mr. Benz coordinates citizen science efforts to monitor bird migrations, pelagic seabird concentrations, and biodiversity and phenology observations in the Acadia Region. He was director of the Hog Island Audubon Camp and Education Center for more than nine years, and has worked as lead field interpreter for Acadia National Park.


Past Events

Alaskan artist Sara Wolman joins Gilley for People-Nature-Art on May 4

May 4, 2021, 7:00 - 8:30 pm

Join us on Zoom for People-Nature-Art on May 4 at 7pm EST with Sara Wolman, an award-winning artist who works for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and is this year's featured artist for World Migratory Bird Day in the U.S. and Canada. Her art reflects the relationship she has established with the environment.

This event is free but reservations are required. Reserve your spot by emailing


Paul Haertel leads bird walk on World Migratory Bird Day on May 8

May 8, 2021, 9:00 - 11:30 am

Join Paul Haertel at the Wendell Gilley Museum on World Migratory Bird Day for a walk to spot the birds to be seen in and around Southwest Harbor, Maine. Paul has a degree in forestry from Michigan Tech and is retired from a career with the National Park Service, where his last assignment was as superintendent of Acadia National Park. He is vice-president of the Gilley's board of directors. 
Limit 10 people. Fee: $10. To sign up, email us at and please include your name, email and phone number.

Spaces are limited.

Meet at the Gilley at 9 a.m.


Wildlife Artist van Dusen kicks off People-Nature-Art series

March 9, 2021, 7:00 - 8:00 pm

Join us March 9 for the launch of a fantastic new monthly series that explores the connections between art and nature! First up is renowned wildlife artist Barry van Dusen. He's an internationally respected and award-winning wildlife artist who prefers to work in the field, even with difficult subjects such as wild birds. Over the years, he has filled countless sketchbooks with hundreds of drawings done on location. Birds, he says, were his gateway to a passion for nature, which he’s been able to combine with artistic talent to create a career that has taken him all over the world.

Little Big Year: Chasing Acadia's Birds with Rich MacDonald

January 26, 2021, 7:00 - 8:00 pm


We are excited to welcome Bar Harbor naturalist and birding expert Rich MacDonald to the Gilley on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 7pm (livestreamed on Facebook) to talk about "Little Big Year: Chasing Acadia's Birds," his first book. A combination of travelogue, nature essays and autobiography, it chronicles a year in his birding life as he seeks and finds birds in Acadia National Park and the rest of Hancock County, Maine. There is no charge for this event which will stream live on our Facebook page HERE



Artist's Afternoon with the Shelburne Museum

January 13, 2021, 1:00 - 2:00 pm

The Gilley's master carver, Steve Valleau, is the featured speaker for this special online event hosted by our friends at the Shelburne Museum. Join us for this exploration of the works of master carvers Wendell Gilley and Elmer Crowell, a discussion of Steve Valleau's own carving practices and current projects, and live audience Q&A. This is event is free but we ask that you register HERE.



Winter Carving Class

January 23 - April 3, 2021

Join us each week on Saturday in early 2021 to carve and paint your own blue-winged teal decoy, under the instruction of master carver Steve Valleau. Classes are online via Zoom and are offered at two times, 9am to 11am and from 1 to 3pm each Saturday from January 23 to April 3. The cost is $70 for museum members or $85 for non-members, and includes materials. Reserve your spot at 

Museum Carving Club-Online

November 6, 2020 - April 24, 2021

Our popular carving club is ongoing, and online, through the end of April 2021, every Friday from 2 to 4 pm via Zoom. This regular time to meet with other carvers of all skill levels, mentored by artist-in-residence Steve Valleau, is a members-only benefit and there is no charge to attend. Memberships begin at $35 per year. To learn more or to join us as a member, visit the membership page on the website HERE.

wooden bird carvings