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Scenes from Starry Night

November 23rd, 2015

On Saturday, November 21 we welcomed over 100 people to the Discover Portsmouth Center for a great fundraiser featuring a talk by Dudley W. Dudley about her part in saving the Isles of Shoals from becoming a superport for oil tankers in the 1970s. The night also included a silent auction, live music from the band Seasmoke, and delicious food from Take Away Cafe.

The entire event brought in over $10,000 from ticket sales, sponsorships and the silent auction. Thank you to everyone who came out to the event, donated an item to the silent auction, or supported us through a sponsorship or volunteering. And a huge thank you to Dudley W. Dudley for her presentation. We learned so much and found great inspiration in this story. The night was a terrific reminder of how strong our community is, even on the mainland.

Check out some scenes from the night:

Starry Night 12 WEB

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Starry Night 7 WEB

Starry Night 1 WEB

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Starry Night 14 WEB

Starry Night was made possible through your participation, the work of volunteers, and our sponsors: Island Cruises, Axis Computer Networks, Great Island Realty, Fred C. Church Insurance, and Samuel Adams.

The Island Energy Conference Visits Star Island

November 9th, 2015

This weekend we hosted the Island Institute’s annual Island Enery Conference for a field trip out to Star Island. The group toured Star to look at our innovative sustainable energy initiatives including our solar array and water filtration systems. Thank you to the Island Institute for including this trip – we hope everyone enjoyed it and took something away from the visit to bring back to their island communities.

Here are some scenes from this weekend’s trip:

Island Institute Visit - Cute Island Institute Guy and Marshall - WEB

Island Institute Visit - Group at Dock Larger - WEB

Folks from the Island Institute’s Island Energy Conference meet at our dock in Portsmouth before heading to Star Island for the afternoon.

Island Institute Visit - Dick Case with Others on Dock - WEB

Island Institute Visit - Cute Island Institute Guy with Others - WEB

Island Institute Visit - Marhsall Driving Boat - WEB

Our own Island Engineer, Marshall Frye, captains the boat out to Star Island.

Island Institute Visit - Dick Case Giving Tour - WEB

Dick Case, a member of the Star Island Strategic Facilities Committee, leads a tour around the Star Island Power House and battery bank.

Island Institute Visit - Men Talking by Batteries - WEB

Island Institute Visit - Dick Case Giving Tour Power House - WEB

Island Institute Visit - Kristen Talking - WEB

Kristen Simard, Star Island’s Environmental Services Manager, talks about creating and storing drinking water on island.

Island Institute Visit - Kristen Giving Tour of Water Tanks - WEB

Island Institute Visit - Pam Smith on Solar Deck with Guests - WEB

Conference guests take a look at our solar arrays now nearly a year in operation.

Island Institute Visit - By Solar Panel - WEB

Photos courtesy of Perry Smith Photography.

Sustainability Digits: Green Beans, kiloWatts and Solar

September 1st, 2015


We’ve been busy on Star Island measuring our resources. Here’s a look at some sustainability digits from 8/15-8/21.

Green Beans Harvested: 7 lbs

The gardens on Star Island are providing loads of produce for guests and staff. Beyond the 7 lbs of green beans harvested between August 15 – 21, we’ve also brought in 5.5 lbs of arugala, 24 lbs of zucchini, 3 lbs of tomatoes, and 1 lb of broccoli. Much of the harvested food goes to Pelicans — our summer staff — in salads.

Electricity Used in One Day: 1,334 kWh

We’re keeping track of our energy usage and trying to decrease it as much as possible. Thursday, August 20 marked the day with the highest energy usage between August 15 – 21. A total of 1,334 kiloWatt hours were used on that day. The biggest user of energy was the Waste Water Treatment Facility with 299 kWh.

Solar Powered: 9.4 hours per day

On average, Star Island’s new solar array provided 9.4 hours of energy between August 15-21. Our efficient diesel generators provided energy for the remaining average of 14.6 hours per day during the same time.

Want to learn more about the Green Gosport Initiative? Click here to view our online dashboard.

Sustainability Digits: Cardboard, Water, Chickens

August 18th, 2015


We’ve been busy on Star Island measuring our resources. Here are some digits from the week of August 8 – 14:

Compost to Chickens: 611 lbs

Certain leftover foods can be sent to our flock of chickens on island. So instead of throwing out 611 lbs of food, we were able to feed our growing chickens (who will later be food for staff).

Cardboard for Compost: 273 lbs

With loads of cardboard on island, we recycle some, but also shred most to add to our compost. Why? Composting needs a combination of nitrogen and carbon. Our food waste provides the nitrogen; shredded cardboard adds carbon.

Water Per Person: 87 gallons

We create drinking water on Star Island from a mix of sources: reverse osmosis, treated rain water, and imported water. Last week our staff and guests used, on average, 87 gallons of water per person for showering, cooking, and laundry, among other purposes.

Sorting Trash, Learning About Sustainability

August 5th, 2015

Trash Sorting Competition

On a recent sunny afternoon on Star Island, a group of youth from the International Affairs Conference gathered on the lawn in front of Brookfield to look on as a group of Pelicans – our summer staff – sorted through two large garbage bags.

Out of the bags, staff pulled such things as plastic cups, apple cores and tinfoil all in the name of education. The two bags – one from a staff location, the other from a guest area – were picked to see which group is better at separating out recycling and compost from trash. With a goal of reducing the amount of waste sent off island, and to limit our impact on landfills, Star Island tries to educate the entire island community about sustainability.
Organized by Sustainability and Environmental Education Intern Lily Hahn and Sustainability Liaison to Pelicans Kevin Brown, the afternoon provided a friendly, competitive way to visualize the impact of disposing items in the correct bins.

Free ice cream stood on the line for the group with the least amount of recycling and compost in the trash. Several Pelicans looked on behind the youth as more and more items came out of the bags and were placed in labeled piles. Conference youth often shouted out which pile a non-trash item should go. In the end, the conference bag contained fewer rogue items, and the Pelicans headed to dinner. However, with about 2/3 of each bag consisting of items other than trash, there is room for improvement on both sides.

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


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.


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)

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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

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