Executive Director, William Helprin

Director Billy HelprinWilliam (Billy) has been the Director of the Somes-Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary on Mt. Desert Island (MDI) since 2015. Billy coordinates multiple wildlife research and monitoring projects; provides professional development for teachers and learning experiences for students aimed at increasing interdisciplinary thinking, raising scientific literacy, and connecting people to their local outdoor environments; and manages the lands and waters that comprise the Sanctuary. Prior to working for the Sanctuary he was Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s MDI Regional Steward where he managed preserves, monitored conservation easements, and worked with many area partners and volunteers on conservation, education, trail, community garden, invasive plant, and research projects. Prior to living in Maine, Billy studied bison and elk on the National Elk Refuge in Wyoming, desert bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah, and large mammal ecology in Kenya. He also taught science for Canton City Schools in Ohio and many field science classes while with the Teton Science School, Great Plains Wildlife Institute, and independently. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Biology from St. Lawrence University, a Masters degree in Wildlife Biology from Utah State University, and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Kent State University. Billy greatly enjoys sharing the lifelong learning process and field experiences with others.

Billy Helprin with a friend after a loon presentation at the Southwest Harbor Library, May 2023

Field Assistant, Rusty Taylor

Rusty has been a long-time volunteer for the Sanctuary and has helped tremendously with fish passage maintenance from Somes Pond to Somes Harbor over the years. He was hired in the spring of 2023 to continue that work as well as with education programs focused on fish migration with the benefit of his lifetime of close observation of MDI watersheds and his experience as an elver fisherman and Mt. Desert shellfish committee member and chair. Rusty also helps monitor loon nesting success across the island and is part of the team that conducts courtesy boat inspections at Long Pond to help prevent aquatic invasive species introductions. His experience caretaking various properties comes in very handy for keeping Sanctuary trails open and other property management activities. Rusty lives with his wife Julie and daughter Addy in Somesville, where they all help keep an eye on what is happening in the lower part of our watershed.

Rusty Taylor (on left) with Acadia National Park Lead Education Ranger Michael Marion and Sanctuary Board President on the Sanctuary deck at the end of a Floating Classroom school field trip day, September 2023.

Rusty (center) talking with a College of the Atlantic class about fish migration at the Somesville Mill Pond, May 2023