Monday, March 31, 2008

March –Project USE

We started our 2008 season with an overnight stay of staff members from Project USE. Because they came so early in the season, the group had no running water or electricity. They also had to paddle their own boats to Sedge because our pontoon boat is not yet in the water. Unusually cold spring weather continued with below freezing temperatures the morning of their arrival. Although it warmed up somewhat on the second day, our standard uniform, both inside the house and out, was ski jackets and wool hats.

Some of the twelve participants were new staff who had only been with the group for several days. In spite of their lack of time together they worked very well as a team. After moving their things into the McLain House, they divided into work groups. Some cleaned the inside of the house. Some moved the kayaks and swept out the boathouse. But the major work project was construction of a new osprey platform.

On the morning of the second day we moved the prefabricated osprey platform across the thorofare to a salt marsh island south of the house. We dug a three and a half foot hole in one of the higher places on the marsh. Then we raised the pole into place. This requires good coordination of several teams pulling on guy ropes to make sure the top heavy tower does not fall when it is almost up. We finished the job by filling in around the pole with sand and mud. We were very pleased to see an osprey fly over to inspect our work and then land on one corner of the new nest platform as we paddled away.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

SEDGE 2008

L-R: Emily, Program Director Jim Merritt, Dave, Priscilla, Kate, Shang and Assistant Program Director Jason Kelsey.

Although winter is our slow season both Karen and I have been working on a variety of projects. We now have our staff and intern positions filled. Karen has been working on the budget and the scheduling groups. But the biggest news is that we will soon begin a major capital improvement project. Starting in April we will begin construction of a new and much larger new solar electric system. In addition we will have a twenty-five foot tall windmill. We plan to generate so much electricity that we will be able to heat all our water with the solar system. We will replace our gas-powered refrigerators with high efficiency electric models. This will greatly reduce our consumption of bottled propane gas although we will continue to have some for use in the house heaters and for the emergency back-up generator. We hope to have our new system on line by early June.

February 24 seemed like the real start of our new season because it was our first opportunity to meet with new staff and interns. We got together at the Island Beach State Park Nature Center on a beautiful sunny day. With the bay still frozen in some places and the launch date for the Sedge Shuttle and our other boats still months away, a visit to Sedge at this time of the year is difficult. We were honored to have Pete McClain join us for this initial orientation.

Jason Kelsey is our new Assistant Program Director. Jason is a science teacher at Toms River South High School. He has grown up in Ocean County and knows our part of the Jersey Shore very well. A graduate of Rowan University, Jason worked on a variety of projects including a study of submerged aquatic vegetation. He also spent time in the Galapagos where he lived with a local family.

Jason is already taking on responsibilities at Sedge by working to coordinate intern schedules. This is no small task as we are starting off this year with more volunteers than ever before. Since interns do not get paid for their work at Sedge, Jason will attempt to schedule them in a way that they may be able to work in some other position when they are not on the island.

Our next intern meeting will be on April 19 and 20. This will be the official “Opening of the House.” Friends of Sedge members will be invited to help us with spring-cleaning chores. Although we will not have electricity (and thus no running water), some of us will stay overnight. Check this site for updated information.