Friday, May 31, 2013

An Angel Gets His Wings

The sweet little blonde headed boy who caught my eye and now my heart, whose photo appeared in our last blog, passed away just a few days after his school group came to visit the refuge.  His father backed his vehicle over the child on Memorial Day weekend.  This has saddened so many of us, and I can only imagine what that father is going through.  His memorial service was today.  My job was filling in at the office and locking up for the night.

Before going to the office, Wallace and I put together one of two storage cabinets that will be used to store gear for the YCC kids.   In the past, everything was stored in cardboard and left all over the place. We have six teenagers coming for the summer and they will be arriving in a couple of weeks.

I could not wait to get all their gear organized and put in that cabinet.  I didn't even give Wallace time to insert the other shelf.

After we get the second cabinet put together, I will show the finishing touches.

Hopefully their gear will stay in better shape from now on.

We have been doing a lot of the "enhancement" part of the mission of refuges...mowing, trimming the trails, planting five flower pots, weedeating, etc.

I miss doing yard work and this gives me the opportunity to get my hands in the dirt!!!  I broke out the John Deere to mow around headquarters area while Wallace did the weed eating.  We are busy doing things to get ready for a visit from the regional office boss next week...but not only for her...we do this every year we come.

Another interesting, new thing we did, was changing out the core of all the locks on the refuge, including all the gates.

These are the cores.  We had two boxes of them so that gives you an idea of how many were done.  We have only just begun.

While we do that, we use a G
PS and keep the co-ordinates using a NICE GPS that works!!!

After doing all the locks at headquarters, we started on the gates.

All these co-ordinates will be entered into the computer later.  We are one of a few who were given THE KEY for our use while here.

Mike, the maintenance man, suffered a mild stroke last week while we were helping him set a new gate post.  He looked at me and said, "Gee, I have a splitting, sudden headache and I never have headaches...would you go get Amanda, (law enforcement officer)?"  She drove him to meet the ambulance as Mike did not want to wait for them.  He is still recuperating at the hospital in Bangor.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you Mike!!!  In his absence, Wallace was asked if he would get the information from each government vehicle including mileage, oil change due, fuel use and any receipt that was inside each one.  Glad to do so.

The new headquarters building is underway and looking good.

The concrete was being poured...finally, no rain!!!

Saturday, we drive to Bangor to pick up an SCA student at the airport...take her to buy groceries, and get her settled in.

We had our staff meeting Wednesday, and everyone expressed again how glad they were to have us back...makes us feel goooood.

It's good to be back.  This is a catch up on our week.

Until next time...

Monday, May 27, 2013

Birding Festival

Thursday was the start of the birding festival weekend with Thursday being the day for school children.  That was the best day for the entire weekend, at least weather wise.

The theme for the day was "birds have tools."  

Thursday was a beautiful rain during our event.  Whoopee!!!

Our job Wednesday, in the rain, was to place 16 bird pictures on 4 different trails for the children to go on a bird walk Thursday.

As soon as we finished putting the birds in the stopped raining.  Ah, the best laid plans.

Here we are getting our instructions.

This is inside the YCC building where all events are held.  We are parked next door for the summer.  Our first job was to clean this building...looks nice doesn't it?  

Arrangements were made to greet over 100 children from 4 different schools.  The arrival times were spread out to accommodate them in an orderly manner.  The children from Eastport were the first to arrive.

Each group was welcomed by Bill Kolodnicki, project leader here at the refuge.

After that, they were given an owl presentation.

With the first owl being a Barred Owl.

I enjoyed watching the children.  They were so attentive.

Then they were given time at the touch table.

We had a volunteer from each group come up to the front of the room.  As we dressed him in a bird costume, Bill talked about the tools birds used to eat, fly, perch, etc.

This was the woodpecker costume.  The kids got a laugh out of that segment and the volunteers did a good job of flapping their wings.

After that, they were released to go out in the great outdoors to go on their bird walk.  They were divided up into 4 groups, one group for each trail, and they were to find the birds "perched" in the trees along the trail.

After finding each one, discussion followed.  That was a  great bird walk for children.  They seemed to enjoy the day, and hopefully they went away a little more knowledgeable.  

Our Law Enforcement Officer, Amanda, was there to park the buses and keep order.

Everything went off like clock work...very orderly.

It rained the whole weekend for the rest of the festival, but that did not stop people from showing up and going out for walks.

Opening ceremony given by Bob Duchesne.  He is a great bird guide who we had the pleasure of going with in the summer of 2011 to Pittstown Farm...a wonderful time!!!

Until next time...

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Nature Hike

on the Charlotte of many trails we have at the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge.  We needed to prepare this trail for our bird festival (which I will cover later), so, we thought we would go for a nature hike while we were at it.

We were delayed from doing this post because of computer   problems, AND the RAIN!!!

Much of the land the refuge is on was once old farm land.

A piece of old farm equipment that was left in place by the trail.

Apple trees are scattered here and there providing nutritional fruit for the wildlife.

These claw marks on this giant spruce were left by a bear...the kids get real excited when they see this.  There are more black bears in Maine than any other state east of the Mississippi.

The Rhodora are still in bloom.

There are several varieties of cherry trees...this one is Pin Cherry.  In the past, the fruit was used to make jams and jellies.

We spied this bird nest, low to the ground...this could lead to all kinds of questions that make for a good nature walk.

This Chestnut-sided Warbler with his yellow cap was saying he was "glad to meet cha."

Here is a lichen covered boulder...left here from glacier days.  For those of you who followed our blog from the summer of 2011, you know how much I like lichen!!! 

Then there are the "candles" from the Eastern White Pine which is the state tree of Maine.  Also known as the Kings Arrow Pine.  These trees were the kind blazed with "the mark of the broad arrow" and reserved for use in the Royal Navy for ship masts.

There are these Gray Birch that tend to grow in clumps, and are short lived.

There are interpretive signs along the trail.  The before and after, one of our jobs.

We stopped to watch a Blue-headed Vireo dining on some of the worms that were encased in this web.

This Snowshoe Hare wanted his presence known.  They are named for their very large feet which makes it easier to move in the snow.  Their fur turns white in the wintertime.

There are violets hugging the ground.

These Nodding Trilliums nodded to us as we passed by.  They tend to hide under the leaves of the plant.

And not to be missed are the Wild, lily-of-the-valley.

That concludes our nature walk of the day.

Until next time...

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Our Home for the Summer

We are back in our usual spot as this is our 6th year to be back at Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge.  We arrived early without notice.  Our plans were to stay in Scarborough, Maine for awhile, but with more bad weather on the way, we were just ready to get off the road and be settled for the summer.

Crossing into Maine over the Piscatiqua River on I 95, you soon see the moose warning signs.  We are headed toward Calais, Maine.

Monday morning, we checked in at the office and met with Bill Kolodnicki, the project leader for Moosehorn and Aroostook National Wildlife Refuges.  He brought us up to snuff on things.  First, he is getting married in June.  We wish them all the best!!!

Our official work days are Tuesday through Thursday, but already some Saturdays were thrown in as extras with the birding festival on the 25th-27th.  On the 24th, we have 70 plus kids coming and we will be helping Bill with that.  

We went right to work cleaning the YCC building.  Someone had shut off the fridge and it took some cleaning getting the mildew out of it.  The visitors cabin was in disarray, but it did not take me long to get it back in order.  

They broke ground on the new headquarters building, but it won't be finished until the fall after we have left for our next volunteer position in Louisiana.

This is a beautiful spot with great views and the plans are super.  It will be something for us to look forward to when we come back next summer.  

Pictures will be taken every day showing the progress.

They have been planning this for several years and it is finally coming to fruition.

Thursday afternoon, Bill asked if we would like to drive him over near Lubec for a meeting...drop him off and take a drive over to the Edmunds Unit to check on things over there while he was in the meeting.  We filled the kiosk with brochures and visited with some students from the University of Maine.

There are two divisions to this refuge.  The Baring Unit, consisting of 24,000 acres, where headquarters is located and where we are parked, and the Edmunds Unit, 8,800 acres with Cobscook State Park located on refuge property and leased to the state.  It takes about 45 minutes to travel between the two units.

By going back on our older posts for the summer of 2011, you can read and see some of the places we visited and some of the things we did while we were here then.  That is the year I started our blog.  We have some other new adventures coming up for this summer.

We are taking a nature walk on the Charlotte Trail tomorrow.  Would you like to go along?

Until next time...

Monday, May 13, 2013

The End of the Journey

After that wonderful experience driving through the Delaware Water Gap road, we drove through 4 states today to make it to Maine!

On the 10th, we stopped at the welcome center as we entered Connecticut.  That stop was a nice respite...where we met and visited with a couple from Maine.  They were going to overnight at Cabela's, exit 42, in Maine.  Sounded perfect at this point.  Decision was made.  We got there around suppertime, and walked over to Famous Dave' the rain!!!

Hey, it's not raining in Connecticut!!! 

Hartford, Connecticut...the capitol building...beautiful.

I can take the busy traffic as long as it's not raining.

We had a very nice night at Cabela's.  We could see light at the end of the tunnel.  Tomorrow with only 200 miles to go, our journey to Maine (Moosehorn) was coming to an end.  It rained on us the whole way...and I did not even mind.

Now it is May 11th.  Happy Anniversary (52) to us and Happy Mother's day to all mothers.  We are now turning into the refuge.  Somebody is following us...Mike Heath, forester, was pulling in as well after being away at a meeting in West Virginia.  He welcomed us back and took the time to make sure everything was okay before he went home.  A really nice guy.  We got set the rain!!!

We made it safe and sound.

Dirigo...I LEAD!!!

Until next time...