Our Mission

Bearnstow is committed to education in the creative arts and natural sciences.

Bearnstow is a not-for-profit educational institution. It has nourished the arts and nature since 1946 when it was established as a children's camp replacing a traditional Maine hunting and fishing camp dating from the early 1900s. Since 1994 it has sponsored day camp for children, weeklong workshops in dance and fine arts and sessions in the natural sciences. With its 65 acres of pristine forest, 2,400 feet of rocky shore on Parker Pond, and its historic, rustic camp facilities, Bearnstow is a uniquely suited venue for both art and natural history programs.

Bearnstow has a tradition of well-established and recognized instructors. Students in the arts and natural sciences whose sensitivity to person and place are given clear access to creativity and the natural world. Participation is open to all regardless of religion, race, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or national origin. We strongly encourage foreign participation and ethnic diversity. It is Bearnstow's mission to continue this commitment to education in the creative arts and natural sciences.

Performing and Fine Arts: Bearnstow promotes education in both the performing and fine arts by calling upon established and innovative methods of instruction designed to inspire creativity. We emphasize skill in performing and creating artistic works that include dance, drama, music, drawing, painting, and sculpting.

Natural Sciences: Bearnstow promotes both education and research in the natural sciences, including programs in conservation biology, forestry, ecology, and earth sciences. We work closely with regional college and high school science departments as well as the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Environmental Conservation: To ensure the preservation of the natural woodland in perpetuity, the property has been protected by a conservation easement held by the Kennebec Land Trust since 1994. Bearnstow is committed to the conservation of its natural environment, both its nearly pristine forest as well as that of Parker Pond. This continues the careful and painstaking preservation by Colby College biology professor Webster Chester, who owned and developed the camp in the 1920s and 1930s.

Historic Preservation: Bearnstow, listed in the National Register of Historic Places as Spruce Point Camps, is further committed to the preservation of its historic buildings, the earliest built before 1880 and most dating from the 1920s.