MOUNT DESERT — Erik Reardon has been awarded the New Champlain Society Fellowship, a scholarship established in honor of the Champlain Society of the 1880s and ‘90s by the Mount Desert Island Historical Society.
Reardon graduated in 2016 with a doctorate in history from the University of Maine. He will pursue the scholarly path blazed by the 19th-century Harvard University students who spent summers on Mount Desert Island and conducted systematic natural history surveys of the island’s flora and fauna, history, geology, geography and weather.
During the course of their summer studies, the Champlain Society became concerned about the island’s future. Their concern carried into their adult lives and led ultimately to the founding of Acadia National Park.
Descendants of Charles Eliot, the Champlain Society’s “Captain,” have provided the funding for the fellowship. “The work of the Champlain Society over 135 years ago resonates today through its documents and findings, the members’ families, Mount Desert Island and the park,” said Benjamin Pierce, great-grandson of Charles Eliot.
Reardon is a scholar of 19th-century grassroots conservation initiatives. His interest in rivers and fly fishing inspired him to study environmental history and explore New England’s historical commitments to inland fish conservation.
“I am very excited to work with the Mount Desert Island Historical Society this year and look forward to exploring the rich historical and environmental heritage of one of Maine’s unique coastal landscapes,” Reardon said.
Reardon will assist in the creation of oral histories and the production of a short film to highlight the history of fishing Mount Desert Island’s watersheds. He also will begin to recruit and support writers for the 2018 issue of the society’s annual magazine, “Chebacco.”