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Sunset Cruises from Star Island

July 22nd, 2015

SunsetCruiseUtopiaLifeRing

One of the newest additions to Star Island‘s fleet, the M/V Utopia, is set to make weekly sunset cruises through Labor Day Weekend. These evening excursions bring guests around the Isles of Shoals to enjoy spectacular views and a unique experience. This is the first year we are trying these excursions, and hope that our excitement for this new service is matched by the excitement of our guests.

As this is a new offering, we are working on the particulars of the cruises throughout the summer. Here’s our plan:

  • Mondays: Sunset Cruises departing Star Island at 7:30 PM and arriving back to the island at approximately 8:30 PM. The evening cruise includes complimentary beverages and dessert. Earlier departure times will be necessary starting towards the middle of August. Price: $35/person. This cruise will take a maximum of 20 guests and a minimum of 10 guests.
  • Wednesdays: Lobster Dinner Cruises departing Star Island at 6 PM and arriving back to the island at approximately 7:15 PM. This cruise includes a picnic featuring freshly caught Maine lobsters, and filling sides. Complimentary drinks and dessert are also served. Price: $60/person. This cruise will take a maximum of 8 guests.

Income from these cruises will go to support the Star Island Annual Fund and the ongoing projects to maintain Star Island’s historic buildings and grounds.

Signing Up

On Wednesdays, we’ll send an email to everyone registered for a conference or personal retreat the following week to let them know about the Monday and Wednesday tours with the link to sign up.

You can also click here for the direct link to sign up. This page will be updated with the following week’s cruises.

The Utopia

SunsetCruiseUtopiaMooring

The Utopia was built at Newington, NH by Bruno and Stillman in 1974. She is 42 feet long, powered by a Caterpillar diesel engine.

She was designed by Royal Lowell, one of the best known designers of Maine lobsterboats, and is a classic example of the best of Downeast workboat design.

She has just received a full upgrade by Warren Pond Boatworks including hull refinishing and paint, remodeled cabin and roof, new wiring and pumps, new safety systems, and new electronics.

The Utopia was previously owned by a famous local fisherman, Bob Cloutier. Bob fished with the boat from Maine southward as far as the Bahamas and the Gulf of Mexico, primarily for tuna. He is said to have “paved the road to Jeffrey’s Ledge” in search of Atlantic Bluefin tuna in the boat.

The Utopia has just finished a complete Coast Guard inspection and is now certified for 30 passengers and two crew. In addition to basic required safety gear she has a depth sounder, fixed fire suppression system, two GPS units, two radar units, two marine radios and two 15 passenger liferafts. She also has EPIRB (emergency position indicating radio beacon).

When a Week is Too Long, Stay for a Few Days

July 11th, 2015

International Affairs Conference Profile

You can attend a summer program on Star Island without having to stay an entire week. Whether you have the weekend free, or a few open days midweek, you have the opportunity to experience Star Island and our welcoming summer programs for just the right amount of time.

How? As a Conference Overnight Guest. Pay for the amount of days you’ll be staying, and a reduced programming fee. This alternative to the full length of a conference provides you the same access to the engaging theme talks, leisurely workshops, and special events that define a stay on Star Island.

The upcoming International Affairs Conference is the perfect time to try out a short stay on Star. In 2015, this family-friendly conference focuses on climate change. Speakers and programs will delve into understanding the science of climate change by looking at not only the environmental impact, but also the social, cultural, economic and political impacts.

Speakers include Steven P. Hamburg, chief scientist of the Environmental Defense Fund; Kate Sheppard, senior reporter and the environment and energy editor at the Huffington Post; Keya Chatterjee, Executive Director of US Climate Action Network; Dale Jamieson, Professor of Environmental Studies and Philosophy, Affiliated Professor of Law, and Director of the Animal Studies Initiative at New York University; and Bruce Knotts, Executive Director of the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office.

And when you attend any summer conference, including International Affairs, you choose how to spend your day, whether that is listening to a theme speaker in the morning, or taking out a kayak for a turn around Gosport Harbor.

How can you take advantage of a shorter stay on Star for International Affairs?

Attend Wednesday, July 29 to Saturday, August 1- Click Here

Select the three night option.

What you pay per person when you register: A room and board deposit of $100 and a $80 program fee.

You pay the remainder of your room and board on island. What is the remainder? For a shared room: $320/person; For a single room: $425/person.

Youth Program

International Affairs also features a vibrant youth program that provides a week of quality programming that relates to the same weekly theme: climate change. Youth and adults also participate in multi-generanational activities like softball games, a s’mores roast, and talent shows.

Click here to register for youth for International Affairs.

Schedule Released for June 27th Ribbon Cutting Event

June 22nd, 2015

CentennialHomepageButton

Saturday, June 27th marks the kick-off of our centennial year celebrations with a festive day on Star Island. Here’s the schedule of events! If you are interested in joining us for the day, please purchase a day visitor ticket aboard the M/V Thomas Laighton by clicking here.

This special day for Star Island is a great way to experience the island and learn more about Star’s history and innovative sustainability practices. Bring your own picnic, or purchase lunch from the island grill.

Schedule

10:30 AM – Board the M/V Thomas Laighton in Portsmouth
11:55 AM – The Laighton arrives at Star Island
Noon – Enjoy your picnic on the front lawn, or purchase lunch from the island grill
12:45 PM – Head to the Front Porch for birthday cake celebrating Star Island’s 100th year
1 PM – Celebrate the ribbon cutting of New England’s largest off-grid solar array
1:30 PM – Learn about Star Island’s innovative sustainability initiatives during a brief presentation by Island Manager Jack Farrell
2 PM – Tour Star Island to learn about its fascinating history and see the facilities up close
3 PM – Enjoy the rest of the afternoon by listening to live music on the Front Lawn or visiting the museum in Vaughn Cottage
3:30 PM – Head down to the pier to hop aboard the Thomas Laighton for the return trip back to the mainland
5:00 PM – Arrive in Portsmouth (approximate)

Water Quality Apprentice Sought for Star Island

June 11th, 2015

Star Island seeks a Water Quality Apprentice for the summer of 2015.
This position offers a great opportunity to gain hands-on experience in water and wastewater system operations, an important and interesting branch in the environmental field. On-the-job training and skills gained can provide credentials for New Hampshire state licensure, preparing the apprentice to work with water or wastewater systems throughout the state, or with private companies in the environmental field.
Description: The Water Quality Apprentice will work to provide clean, reliable drinking water to island residents and visitors and ensure proper and efficient day-to-day operation of the island’s wastewater treatment facility. This includes maintaining compliance with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit (NPDES), Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) requirements, and state statutes. To enhance the island’s ability to efficiently use available water resources and to develop and maintain an effective wastewater process, the apprentice will work to understand and characterize island water use patterns, evaluate source water quality and availability, and monitor both influent wastewater quality and the microbiological wastewater process. This will allow for efficient management and sustainable development of the island’s wastewater operations and water resources. This is an opportunity to learn in a hands-on setting, and apply a systems-thinking approach, necessary on a small resource-limited island, to daily operations and special projects.
Primary responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Implementing regulatory testing schedules in accordance with NPDES and SDWA requirements. This includes preparing for and performing solids, pH, chlorine, coliform, and other analyses.
  • Performing regular process testing at the water and wastewater treatment facility to monitor and troubleshoot system processes. Analyses include microscopic examinations, oxygen uptake rate, settling, and evaluation of salinity and dissolved oxygen profiles.
  • Recording and maintaining all system and maintenance data and information in water and wastewater treatment facility benchsheets and logbooks.
  • Following appropriate protocols to collect representative and accurate samples for all analyses.
  • Maintaining preventive maintenance and cleaning schedules for laboratory equipment.
  • Assisting in wastewater biosolids management, which includes working with reed and sand/gravel drying beds, and biosolids composting.
  • Working with island staff to identify projects related to water conservation and wastewater treatment then implementing 1-2 projects of these projects. Possibilities include installing a stormwater diversion and filtration system to augment available freshwater; evaluating how salt water (used to flush toilets) affects the biological wastewater treatment process; collecting and analyzing water use data for specific island functions (showers, laundry) and compiling a report.

This is not a comprehensive list, and other duties and projects will be assigned as needed.
Apprenticeship Site: Star Island, Isles of Shoals, NH
This is a residential position on Star Island. Star Island is part of the Isles of Shoals, a small group of islands just off the coast of Maine and New Hampshire. The island is home to a seasonal conference center serving nearly 300 guests and operated by just over 100 staff members. Star Island is a great place to be a part of a dynamic community, experience island living, and enjoy a unique natural environment.

Water Treatment: Drinking water is produced through saltwater reverse osmosis, treatment of rain water collected in an 80,000 gallon cistern (first system of this kind in NH), and delivery of municipal water by boat. Toilets are flushed with salt water, and a culture of conservation is encouraged on-island.
Wastewater Treatment: A 10,000 gallon per day, seasonal, brackish sequencing batch reactor (SBR) treats all wastewater generated on-island. Effluent is discharged to the Atlantic Ocean, and biosolids are processed on reed beds and sand/gravel drying beds. Once dried, biosolids are composted.
For more information about Star Island see http://starisland.org/.
For more information about Star Island systems see http://starisland.org/island/green/ .
Desired qualifications/skills/coursework: Recent graduate or student pursuing degree in environmental sciences, engineering, water resources, or related field. Ability to work both independently with limited supervision and collaboratively in group settings; Ability to troubleshoot; Strong attention to detail; Ability to quickly learn complex processes and tasks; Safe, cooperative, respectful individuals who will thrive in the close working and living quarters of Star Island’s remote setting. Previous laboratory and technical experience recommended.
Supervision: Kristen Simard, Environmental Services Manager at Star Island.
Start and End Dates: June 22, 2015-August 28, 2015 (exact start/end dates are flexible)
Time Commitment: 36-42 hours/week
Compensation: Hourly rate, room and board, on-the-job training, and NH wastewater and water treatment license eligibility.
Room and board is provided, including all meals, dormitory-style accommodation in staff quarters, and a rustic island environment. Island residency is required 5-6 days each week with transportation to and from the island provided from Star Island’s dock in Portsmouth, NH. Training will be provided on-island and at other facilities in the State of New Hampshire, including Red Hook Brewery and the Hampton New Hampshire Public Works Department. Training received is approved by New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) as qualifying experience and educational credit, which can be applied to eligibility requirements for the written water and wastewater operator examinations.
Upon successful completion of one season an apprentice will be eligible to take the NH Water Works Operator grade 1 treatment and grade 1 distribution exams and the NH Wastewater Treatment Operator grade 2 exam, as an operator-in-training. Upon successful completion of two seasons (minimum 6 months total experience) the apprentice, having passed the initial exams, will be eligible for full grade certification. Upon successful completion of two seasons (minimum 6 months total experience) the apprentice will also be eligible to take the NH Water Works Operator grade 2 treatment and grade 2 distribution exams as an operator-in-training.
The apprentice can also apply to work both through ‘end of season’ (mid-September) and into ‘close-up’ (October), after the initial seasonal contract is completed.
How to apply:
Submit (as PDFs) a resume, cover letter, and two references (professor or work/internship supervisor name and contact information), by Wednesday, June 17th to email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Star Island Unveils New England’s Largest Off-Grid Solar Array

June 10th, 2015

Historic Star Conference ProfileStar Island is throwing a Centennial Party and the public is invited. On June 27th, the Star Island Corporation will host a series of events to commemorate the unveiling of its new solar array and to mark its 100th anniversary as a nonprofit organization.

A special rate is being offered to overnight guests on June 27th.
$100 per person, includes accommodation at the historic Oceanic Hotel, three meals, tax, and gratuity.
(Boat transportation is separate.)

Click here to purchase boat tickets for the June 27th event

Click here to reserve an overnight on June 27th

On June 27th, visitors and dignitaries will board the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company’s Thomas Laighton at 10:30 am for an hour long ocean voyage out to Star. On island guests will be treated to live music reminiscent of the organization’s founding days in the early 1900’s. Visitors can bring a picnic or buy lunch at the Island Grill and enjoy the expansive front lawn. At 12:30 the festivities continue with the cutting of a Star Island Corporation birthday cake and remarks by CEO Joe Watts. A presentation on Star Island’s innovative sustainability initiatives by Island Manager Jack Farrell will follow.

The day of celebration will also include a 2 p.m. ribbon cutting and dedication of New England’s largest off-grid solar array, followed by a tour highlighting Star Island’s history and cutting- edge sustainability efforts.

Day visitors return on the Thomas Leighton at 3:30. Overnight guests leave the island on June 28th at 11:45 a.m.

Star Island CEO Joe Watts says, “This is a wonderful opportunity for people to experience all Star has to offer. The past, present and future will be on display: from our amazing historical roots to our achievement in creating a model of sustainability for New Hampshire. All are welcome and we are excited to share this magical place with the community.”

This is the first year that a tender service is being offered on weekends to boaters and cruisers who drop anchor and want to come ashore. The “Tom Dudley” will deliver people to the island for a nominal fee.

The event is sponsored by Insource Services, Inc.

History
Star Island is one of the nine Isles of Shoals located six miles off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine. Sailors named the island for its points stretching in all directions like the flashes of a distant star. The first people on Star were Native Americans dating back as far as 2000 BC. In 1614, the English explorer Captain John Smith arrived and put Star Island and the rest of New England on the map. For the next 200 years, cod fishing supported the community known as Gosport Village. In the mid-1800s, visitors created a thriving Grand Hotel Era which declined by the end of the century.

The landmark Oceanic Hotel with its simple rooms and elegant parlors is one of the few remaining hotels of its kind and is truly a step back in time. In 1915, the 43 acre island was purchased by the nonprofit Star Island Corp. During the summer months, Star Island welcomes families and individuals to explore Star’s rugged beauty for a day or take part in weekly programs with a variety of themes such as spirituality, world affairs, ecology and the arts. Star Island is an all inclusive vacation retreat where guests are encouraged to unplug and connect with each other and nature.

Star Island Corporation was founded on the principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ, which include respect for each other and the natural environment. As a nonprofit organization, Star Island depends largely on donations and grants to maintain and preserve the Island.

As an island ecosystem, Star provides and carefully manages all of its resources including water, power and sanitation. In addition to solar power, the island has a reverse osmosis system to create drinking water from salt water. The waste treatment facility is in the process of being upgraded and will be the first of its kind in NH.

Staying Overnight in Portsmouth

May 18th, 2015

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A lot of our summer guests choose to spend the night before or after their program on Star Island, especially if travelling a great distance, in Portsmouth, NH — and often as close to the dock as possible. To help you with your summer plans, here’s a collection of area hotels listed by distance from the Portsmouth dock located at 350 Market Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801.


Walking Distance

Sheraton Harborside Hotel

(.1 mile)
250 Market Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801

Residence Inn

(.2 miles)
100 Deer St, Portsmouth, New Hampshire 03801

Hilton Garden Inn

(.2 miles)
100 High Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801

Hampton Inn and Suites

(.3 miles)
23 Portwalk Place, Portsmouth, NH 03801

Ale House Inn

(.4 miles)
121 Bow Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801

The Hotel Portsmouth

(.5 miles)
40 Court Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801

The Inn At Strawbery Banke

(.5 miles)
314 Court Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801

Martin Hill Inn

(.8 miles)
404 Islington Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801


A Taxi Cab Will Do

Courtyard

(1.1 miles)
1000 Market Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801

Holiday Inn

(1.1 miles)
300 Woodbury Avenue, Portsmouth, NH 03801

Best Western

(1.4 miles)
580 US Highway 1 Bypass, Portsmouth, NH 03801

Anchorage Inns

(1.5 miles)
417 Woodbury Avenue, Portsmouth, NH 03801

The Port Inn

(1.5 miles)
505 US 1 Bypass, Portsmouth, NH 03801

Fairfield Inn

(1.7 miles)
650 Borthwick Avenue, Portsmouth, NH 03801

Homewood Suites

(1.7 miles)
100 Portsmouth Boulevard, Portsmouth, NH 03801

Motel 6

(2.4 miles)
3 Gosling Road, Portsmouth, NH 03801

Comfort Inn

(2.5 miles)
1190 Lafayette Road, Portsmouth, NH 03801

The Wentworth By the Sea

(3.5 miles)
588 Wentworth Road, New Castle, NH 03854

Wrenn’s Nest Village Inn

(4.9 miles)
3548 Lafayette Road, Portsmouth, NH 03801


Getting to the dock

Links to directions are located beneath each hotel listing above. If you’d like more details about getting to Portsmouth and the dock, click here for that post.

Star Island Seeks Sustainability and Environmental Education Intern

May 8th, 2015

The Sustainability and Environmental Education Intern will work to implement Star Island’s sustainability initiative (the Green Gosport Initiative) by engaging and educating staff and guests about environmental issues in order to increase awareness, inspire behavior change, foster a sense of environmental responsibility, and to promote the culture of reduce, reuse, recycle across the island community.
This will be accomplished by:

  • Leading behind-the-scenes sustainability walks highlighting island systems such as water, power generation, compost, and gardens.
  • Offering weekly presentations to create an open and ongoing dialogue with guests and staff about island sustainability.
  • Tracking parameters such as daily water use, waste separation efficiency, and power usage and communicating results and progress through a “dashboard”, daily updates, and announcements to guests and staff.
  • Developing informative and creative outreach materials: posters and displays about island sustainability and current projects (ex: green energy project).
  • Organizing sustainability programming (events, activities, and projects) for staff and guests.
  • Working with other interns and staff to identify projects related to energy use, waste management, and water conservation; working to implement these projects through systematic social marketing campaigns.

Internship Site: Star Island, Isles of Shoals, NH
This is a residential position on Star Island. Star Island is part of the Isles of Shoals, a small group of islands just off the coast of Maine and New Hampshire. The island is home to a seasonal conference center serving nearly 300 guests and operated by just over 100 staff members. Star Island is a great place to be a part of a dynamic community, experience island living, and enjoy a unique natural environment.
Sustainability on Star Island
The Green Gosport Initiative (GGI) is Star Island’s sustainability program. The GGI focuses on supporting the concepts of reduce, reuse, recycle across the island, but also describes the general approach to island energy, water, food, and waste systems.
Here are some highlights: In the fall of 2014 Star installed the largest off-grid solar array (micro-grid) in New England. The upcoming season is the first year in the island’s transition to solar, and the expectation is that the array can provide up to 60% of island power demand; the goal is to use only 5,000 gallons of diesel in 2015. In 2014 Star installed a rainwater filtration system, which, in addition to reverse osmosis and boat water deliveries, provides drinking water for the island. In the upcoming season Star is working on designing a resource recovery center, which will serve as the operations hub for managing food waste (poultry flock and compost), on-island resource recovery (cardboard shredding and glass crushing), and recycling. Additionally, the island is in the process of designing and receiving approval for a wastewater treatment facility upgrade, which will include water reuse in toilets. Click here for more information about Star Island. Click here for more information about Star Island sustainability.

Desired qualifications/skills/coursework:

Recent graduate or student pursuing degree in environmental studies, sciences, or related field; Proven communication skills and ability to speak publicly in group settings; Ability to both work independently with limited supervision and work collaboratively in group settings; Safe, cooperative, respectful individuals who will thrive in the close working and living quarters of Star Island’s remote setting.

Supervision:

Kristen Simard, Environmental Services Manager at Star Island.

Start and End Dates:

June 8, 2015-August 28, 2015 (exact start/end dates are flexible)

Time Commitment:

36-42 hours/week
Compensation: $1500 stipend will be provided in 3 monthly payments. Position also provides the opportunity to earn 3-6 credits through the intern’s institute of study. Room and board is provided, including all meals, dormitory-style accommodations in staff quarters, and a rustic island environment. Island residency is required 5-6 days/week with transportation to and from the island provided from Star Island’s dock in Portsmouth, NH. Upon completion of internship, can apply to work both through ‘end of season’ (mid-September) and into ‘close-up’ (October). During internship contract, there may be opportunities to make additional income.

Deadline:

We will be accepting applications through May 27, 2015

How to apply:

Submit (as PDFs) a resume, cover letter, and two references (professor or work/internship supervisor name and contact information) to email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Next Page »

Our Mission

Our mission since 1915 is to hold and maintain Star Island and such other property as the Corporation may hold or acquire, as a center for religious, education, and kindred purposes consistent with the principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ.

Our Vision

Our vision is to create on Star Island an environment that frees all who come to renew spiritually, explore matters of consequence, and gain knowledge about the world as it might ideally be.

Contact Star Island

Phone: (603) 430-6272
Fax: (603) 430-6270
Island Phone: (603) 601-0832
Staff Email Address List

Star Island Corporation
Morton-Benedict House
30 Middle Street
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Get directions to the office

Content © 1999–2015 Star Island Corporation. Clouds photo © Axel Rouvin.
Other photos © their respective owners.