Defining Island Steward within an Afterschool Program
It's probably true for most of us that live all year round
on Fishers Island-there are many sweet spots within its unique
environment that we call "home" - and feel it too.
There is a sanctuary of sands parallel to Elizabeth Field
runway; three small coves stretching west towards Race Point.
Snowy Owl perches here often during winter time, two local
Harriers hunt and swoop low over dune grasses every morning
and evening and various diverse species of shorebirds migrate
through each year wading in tide pools and feeding in berms
of eelgrass and kelp.
Since these years had me monitoring and serving as a
"caretaker" along these sands, I thought what a perfect
outdoor classroom to define and teach Stewardship "naturally"
to our students and even all generations! And so an afterschool
club was suggested.
Starting a Stewardship Program for Fishers Island within our
school reflects on the important indigenous element of
"tribe": 5th-12th graders embracing their "lands" and doing
"our Nation's work." The essential key to Natural History
demands that our island and its inhabitants continue to tell
our stories in an ever changing environment. Along with sharing
the integral qualities of tribe such as leadership, respect,
and gleaning Local Traditional Knowledge; we will focus too on
reporting from the field. I look forward to bridging with
Carol Giles' Oceanology upper class during school hours as
well as Jen Burn's 3rd and 4th graders. Carol reminded me of
the need for students to learn how to be still, observe, and
be comfortably present and authentic -away from the "busyness"
that is their world. This,throughout much of my work both on
and off Island has been noted as a crucial observation - from
Of The Seals & Sea
Fishers Island Naturalist Justine "BJ" Kibbe packed up her Marantz recorder
and revisited her other home in the Pribilofs. Here, she shares her storytelling
moments with Northern Fur Seals out in the middle of the Bering Sea!
Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3
This year I look forward to working with Fishers Island School students;
gift them with the unique adventures, natural "news", and joys that are
theirs to report-perhaps even becoming future conservation correspondents
of their own Islands.