The Puffin Plan


Fifty years ago, a young ornithologist named Steve Kress fell in love with puffins. After learning that hunting had eradicated their colonies on small, rocky islands off the coast of Maine, he resolved to bring them back. So began a decades-long quest that involved collecting chicks in Canada, flying them to Maine, raising them in coffee-can nests, transporting them to their new island home, watching over them as they grew, and then waiting—for years—to see if they would come back. This is the story of how the Puffin Project reclaimed a piece of our rich biological heritage, and how it inspired other groups around the world to help other species re-root in their native lands.

*** Winner of the 2021 Gold Benjamin Franklin Award for Children’s Non-Fiction as as well as the Outstanding Book Award from the National Association of Black Journalists


Author: Stephen W. Kress & Derrick Z. Jackson
Age Range : 12+/Grades 6+
Categories: , Tags: , , , Product ID: 32879

Book Details:

  • ISBN: 9781943431571
  • Genre: Children's Nonfiction: Environmental Studies
  • Page Count: 200
  • Age Range: 12+/Grades 6+
  • Pub Date: 01/07/2020

Stephen W. Kress is the National Audubon Society’s Vice President for Bird Conservation and director of the Audubon Seabird Restoration Program and Hog Island Audubon Camp. Derrick Z. Jackson, a Pulitzer Prize finalist for commentary and an accomplished photographer, is a contributing columnist at the Boston Globe. He lives in Cambridge, MA.

*** Winner of the 2021 Gold Benjamin Franklin Award for Children’s Non-Fiction as as well as the Outstanding Book Award from the National Association of Black Journalists

“Ornithologist Kress and his team restore puffins to Maine’s Eastern Egg Rock. When Kress became a birdlife instructor at Maine’s Hog Island Audubon Camp in 1969, the seabird biologist discovered that puffins once nested on nearby Eastern Egg Rock. Overhunting of their feathers for hats in the 1800s led to their disappearance. Realizing that humans had a responsibility to save these colorfully beaked birds, Kress developed a plan. Kress and journalist co-author Jackson chronicle what came to be known as Project Puffin. Starting with six puffin chicks from Newfoundland, Canada, in 1973, Kress and his team spent years figuring out ways to make Eastern Egg Rock a viable nesting location. Rather than bog readers down in minutiae, the conversational narrative enhanced by archival photos blends the right amount of logistical details with accounts of harrowing setbacks, constant trial and error, and eventual success. And rather than end there, the authors include a look at climate change and its negative impact on the puffins’ still-fragile ecosystem. They offer readers hope, however, with examples of successful seabird restoration projects around the world, from the rescue of the Short-tailed Albatross on Japan’s Torishima Island to the African Penguin Relocation Project in South Africa. While calling on young people to help, the authors also don’t skirt such controversial topics as gull control (i.e., killing gulls to save puffins). Sure to hatch activism in budding environmentalists.”
– Kirkus Reviews

“Engaging. . . Here is one of the great success stories of conservation. The verdict: Of interest to birders, natural history buffs, New Englanders, conservationists, and environmentalists.”
– Henry T. Armistead, Library Journal 

“A well-told drama.”
– Natural History magazine 

“Restoring puffins to Maine has been a glorious, four-decades obsession for Steve Kress—one underpinned by plenty of stubbornness and grit, as this frank retelling of Project Puffin’s remarkable history makes clear. And thank goodness for that tenacity, because the techniques he pioneered on Eastern Egg Rock are today helping endangered seabirds around the world. This is the compelling story of the messy, uncertain, ultimately uplifting work of real conservation.”
– Scott Weidensaul, author of Living on the Wind



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