Monday, June 30, 2008


There is no way that it has been four weeks since I first arrived here.
This I refuse to accept.
If this month of uncertainty went by fast, how fast will the month of tons to do go by?

I am once again at the visitor center using the nice Gateway laptop. What am I doing here? Well, I'll tell you. I am oind nothing. But this is a much better nothing than the last nothing that I was doing a few weeks ago. This nothing is a concious I probably should be making that powerpoint on bird migration, but I would rather do this.

I feel a lot better about being here today especially since I pretty much have this week all figured out. A first for me.

But first, a little update. So you heard all about my adventures with the plovers and terns. Now prepare youselves for the horror, the wonder, the complete and utter not-that-intresting-ness of...

There I was face to face with the beast. It's leafy head reared in rage, it's berries puckered in deffense, it's braches twisting and writhing in a vain attempt to escape. The motor of my weapon hummed in anticipation it's three blades quivering. I wasted no more time. Gunning the throttle of my large and intimidating weed demloisher I advaced. With several loud buzzing noises and the smell of sawdust, my foe lay in three defeated bundles, the three arms of its trund severed. A grim smile passed over my lips. It was all to easy.
Suddenly to me left! My right! They were everywhere! Deeper and deeper into the woods they retreated. Beckoning, taunting. They were armored in their best deffense. Ropes and ropes of briar twining through their branches and around their leaves, throns flashing. My engine stuttered and faltered. My eyes widened. How was such a formidible foe to be defeated? There was only one things to do. I clenched my teeth and squared my shoulders. Who was I to be defeated by a bunch of plants?
Hours later, with an empty gas tank, exhausted body and several fresh battle wounds I retreated from the fray. Fallen plants lay all around me. The carnage was unimaginable. I wiped my brown and lay down my weapon surveying the damage I had done. large hole was all that was left of what used to be an army of honeysuckle. It seemed that there was no way there were still plants that were alive. But as I gazed past the remains of my foe, I saw the impossible. Hiding behind their fellows and sheilded by a large overgrown cherry tree were more plants!! The huddled behind their shields hoping to avoid detection. But I saw them and there was no way I was going to let them get away. I rushed back the the maintenence garage and grabed the only weapon I had left. A hefty pair of loppers. Weak and battered I jumped back into battle. I chopped and lopped with as much strength as I could slowly reducing the size of my foe. I removed the bodies of the defeated from the area and threw the into a pile. This I did for the next wo hours. Lopping and piling and manuvering through al he briar. But still, they went on. Back and back into the woods they went. Never ending. When the rain started, I reluctantly raised my white flag. Today was not a day for victory. Many had been slain, but many more still stood. A fight for another day. For many more hours, I hauled the carcasses to a landfill area where they would find their final resting place. Weary, broken and wounded, I made my way home. They may have avoided elimination for today...but there is always tomorrow.
Just to clarify, my sounds weren't all that bad. It just looks like I got in a fight with a clawed cat. My arms were extremely sore and I was sweaty and gross. I don't know if there was a time that a shower has ever felt better to me. This was my activity on Friday. Thursday was the same, but I did less. I was supposed to go out with Corey and find all the ivasive plants I could and irradicate them. At this point the only invasive plant that I could readily identify is swallow wart and thats because i spent two days staring it down and pulling it up. Also could identify barberry...a pokey bush. But I had no idea what bittersweet looked like, or the olive that is invasive here. I also at the moment had no idea what not flowering hneysuckel looked like. So I was wandering around with the loppers cutting down plants I thought were the ones that Corey had pointed out. I probably killed a bunch of innocent natives. I am a horrible person. It wasn't until the end of Thursday that I could identify honeysuckle by it's slightly fuzzy leaves that are spaced oppsitely along the branch and it's berries. By the end of Friday, I could identify the honeysuckel by it's bark. There were some dead plants with no leaves that I had to cut down. Plus when you can see the leaves it is sometime hard to see through all the underbrush where he trunk starts. This is where knowing what the bark and the habit look like is useful.
The problem with working with invasive is that now I see these plants everywhere!! When I would have normally ignored the plants, I now see honeysuckle and barberry and swallow wart all over the place and I want to pull it up. But I can only pull it up on Rhode Island Refuge property. Some people actually WANT honeysckle in their yards I guess.
The weekend was dull. Many of the interns went home for the weekend. I actually cleaned the trailer without being told to! I had nothing better to do.
Life is starting to fall into place. I have a tenative schedual for the next two weeks. I still have no money and I hope I will be able to afford everything I need. I miss home and I even miss Bob Evans a little. I miss Sunday dinners. I miss my iPod. I miss all the CoMO and St. Louis people. I miss having money to see all the summer movies that I want to see. I miss TV. I miss Trissie. I miss knowing exacty where I'm going when I'm driving around. I miss Sonic...oh boy do I. I also miss Bob Evans onion petals and the BLT&E. I miss late night Steak N Shakes. I miss the university ward. I miss my bigger bed. I miss El Maguay...good mexican places in general. There don't seem to be any out here.
Okay thats enough of the I miss list. It' only making me feel a little down.
A toast! To knowing what I a doing for the whole week. To seedless grapes. To cool storms and crazt fog that comes from no where. To baby bunnies and other little animals. To not having to battle honeysuckle this week. To working on the 4th of July...oh wait, I don't want to toast that.
Farewell my friends. Until our next meeting.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

And the dam just broke...

I know it's only been a few days since my last post. But the events of Monday alone are worthy of their own entry.

I am here again at the front desk of the visitor center. But I am alone and we are actually kind of busy! Weird for a Wednesday. Though I guess the summer has officially starter over here since school is finally out.

First item of business. I have bad pictures of my poison ivy. It is very close to being healed now finally. I have also managed to avoid getting it elsewhere despite the evil plants best efforts. I mostly have scabby dry skin now. Here are the pictures. Again, they are not very good. I have better ones on my camera and have not yet figured out how to get them off of there onto here.
There you go. Mind you this was about a week into it, so it doesn't look as bad as it did a half a week into it.

Alright. Since I'm posting pictures lets continue with that trend. There have been some pretty awesome storms around here lately. Last night we got some amazing clouds. We got no precip. but I heard that places north of us were getting golf ball sized hail! And I thought the severe weather here would not compare to Missouri.
Moving right along. So Monday. They day I went out with the Plover girls. Jess and Lisa.

Basically what they do most of the time is walk beaches and evaluate the Piping plover and Least tern situation. By now they have gone on all the beaches and know where all the nests are and where the nests are around which hatched chicks should be and such. So, we walk a little ways down the beach to a white marker. Then, if their notes say there is an unhatched nest, we check the nest to make sure all the eggs are still there. If the notes say that the chicks should be hatched, we sit on the beach and wait to see if we can spot them feeding. We also have to make sure we look out for new nests. There shouldn't be many by now, but you never know.

So I saw Piping Plover chicks for the first time!! And I also saw Least tern chicks. They were both adorable. Here is a great video that I found. It's kind of old. Look at how fast they move and how cute they are!!! I also like the sound that the plovers make. They do this "broken wing" display when they have unhatched chicks. They flop around on the beach pretending that they are injured. The point is to attract predators to them saying "I am tasty looking and bigger, plus i am injured and can't get away so come after me!" That way they protect the nest. The terns are very territorial and a lot more aggressive than the plovers. They will fly over you making their annoying squeaky dog toy sound. And if you get too close to their nest they will dive bomb you. You know they won't hit you but it's still unnerving. If you get close enough to actually see the eggs they will POOP on you. It's not a lot of poop. But it is annoying. I managed to avoid this unpleasant experience.

The first beach was great. It was gray and foggy and the sea was restless. But there were lots of plover and terns to see. The second beach was not much fun at all. You have to walk in all that dry sand for long stretches seeing nothing and not stopping to rest because you want to get it over with. It was exhausting. And I had to drive on the sand trail because Jess and Lisa said it would be a good experience for me. I never, ever want to do that again. It's like driving on snow and ice. Inches of snow and ice and you can't stop. You can't even slow down to feel safe because if you do you might get stuck and then have to spend a bunch of time letting air out of the tires then more time to put it back in later. So there I was gunning the engine through this sand while the wheel is turning this way and that of it's own accord and I'm skidding everywhere trying not to go off the trail into the surrounding brush. It was terrifying. I am amazed that I got out of it alive. Needless to say, I made jess drive us back out.

The rest of the day consisted of us pounding in some signs warning people to look out for plovers on the beaches. It was a fun day to some extent. The most walking I have done here to date according to my phones pedometer.

Today? I am doing this and a bunch of other random tasks for Janice. And I know that I asked to have stuff to do. So...ask and ye shall recieve. All within an hour of arriving at work have talked to the maintenence lady Sharon and she has about three projects for me to do in the next week or two. Then Janice sent me an e-mail outlining the days that she needs me to take care of groups for the day because she will be gone. And then I got an e-mail from the volunteer at Sachuest Refuge (Kasia-pronounced Kasha). She want's my help for a few evenings helping to sell night fishing permits. So, I still have many days to fill with things to do. But now I have some that are set in stone! And that makes me feel a little less stressed about life.

Oh! I got to release a salamander today. It was one of the ones that I collected for the kids to see a few weeks ago. It's gills were gone and it was chillin on a piece of wood we put in the tank. So Janice told me to take it back to it's home at the vernel pool. So I did. I also saved a drowning salamanders life. He (or she) is another one who has no gills. It was at the bottom of the tank. Submerged. For some reason unable to figure out that it needs to get on the log that sticks out of the water. He was really pale and looked gead except for the occasional twitching. I pushed on his belly a few times to see if he would move. Some bubbles of water actually came out. Kind of like CPR for a salamander. Then I placed him on the log to see if he made it breathing oxygen for a few hours. Sure enough. After lunch I went to check on him. He was his usualy dark color and quite squirrily actually. I was happy to see him alive. The tadpoles are also growing up and will be ready for release.

Well, thats all. Another epic entry depicting my life here in Rhode Island. I hope you enjoyed yourself here at "". Come again soon foe another installment.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Tres

Day 22 here on the east coast. The end of week 3. The following is an update.

Watch it fly.

What did I last talk about? When did I last post? Time really moves in strange ways here. P.S. I'm pretty sure that the last post is labeled as being posted on Sunday. That is false. It was in fact Monday.

Okay, so Monday was Monday. The rest of it was spent doing nothing. Fun.

Tuesday was fun. By fun, I mean at least I was doing something. I helped Erin and Corey pull up swallow wart again. This time in an open field. The rain from the night before made the ground perfect for pulling weeds which is basically what were doing. But even with the earth all dapm and soft, the swallowart was a bigger pain than dandilions by 100 fold. It's funny that our hearts lept when we saw a large mature plant. The majority of the plants in this field were tiny little "saplings" about an inch high. They blanket the ground in large green patches and took to hiding amongst all the tall grass so that you had to dig through all the other plants just to get to them And I am pretty sure that we only got 70% of the plants just because of those stupid saplings. It came to the point that all three of us were sitting in a 30 sq foot area sitting on our buts pulling up th plants all around us because staying on our knees was too painful and pointless. It took 1o minutes just to clear the area immediatly surrounding you because you kept finding new plants! It was very frustrating. The good that came out of it is that we decided that we were done by 2:00. EARLY!! Corey showed me where the Stop N Shop is in Wakefield. I got smores fixins. I;ve been craving them But since fires aren't really allowed, I've been improvising with my gas stove. Not a very safe plan. But it works. Later I showed Corey where the post office is. I had finally found it after getting lost a second time.

Wednesday was great. It began at the infant hour of 4:20am. I awoke and got myself ready for a full morning of mist netting. This took place from 5:00am to about 11:30am. Please allow me a brief rant. we didn't do much "flushing" that day. The birds were flying right into the nets of their own accord. Three sometime four at a time. Usually I allow the banders to de-net the birds. It is, after all, their job. But at one point there were two badly tangeled birds and two more that needed to be gotten out. I was going to assist and nab one of the birda myself. But as I began, Rhonda stops me saying, "No, just hold the net so it doesn't get out and we'll handel it." o I watched as she got the third bird and then went for mine. I am one of those people who over analyze situations. My overly sensative brain said, "Oh. she thinks that I'm not good enough to do this. She thinks I'll mess it up." This stung me a little bit. This thought was quickly followed by a more bitter one..."So what am I even doing here? All I'm good for is walking forward clapping my hands? Thats all I get to do? Three people can do that easily, so what it MY purpose. I'm not needed. Superfluous." I tried to reason and conceeded that maybe she just thought that this particular bird was too badly tangeled for me persnoally to handel. I still stewed in these thoughts for a good while, trying not to look too downcast. I busied myself with scribing the data whlie the others banded. The next round there were 4 birds again and 3 of them were badly tangeled. This seems to be a pattern with sparrows. I tried again. I offered my assistance to Rhonda. She looked a little uncomfortable and told me that she wasn't sure that with 4 people there were enough of us for her to take me aside and teach me how to get the birds out of the net. She told me that Suzanne also hadn't made it clear whether or not the interns that aren't secifically on the banding team are supposed to handel the birds. This brought on a whole new wave of bitter thoughts. The others got the birds out and went to the banding station. I remained by the net to allow myself to think alone. I wandered the marsh coast seething a little and feeling ashamed that a few tears were leaking past my defenses. The thought "Why am I here" kept playing over and over. I also felt like it was silly of her to think that I don't know how to get a bird out of the net. I've never done it before, but I have seen it done and I think that I could have managed it (looking back now I see where her worries were). But I also was angry because how am I supposed to gain experiance if I'm not allowed to learn or to EXPERIANCE? I was pretty unhappy for the rest of the netting session. I tried not to let it show. Once again the job had proven to be less than I expected that this only made things worse added to the emotions from Monday. After we were done I took an hour break and then spent the rest of the day canoing on the Kettle Pond with Amanda looking for pond critters. By the time we got back it was 6:30. So I put in a 12 hour day. I was absolutly exhausted and every single muscle ached as did my morale just a little bit. Thanks for endulging me. I do tend to rant a lot. Sorry.

Thursday was the last school group for the rest of the summer. And it was a doozie. 104 kids and 15 adults. here are the highlights.

  • Three trips to the kettle pond with still sore muscles. Not the happiest experience.
  • Chaos. Thats a lot of kids.
  • I got along well with one of the parents in the first group and he teacher in the second group. I think I'm getting better at talking to people though I'm still not good at starting the conversation.
  • Weather was beautiful.
  • Leading the last group myself with Amanda but no Janice. I was the head of the group.
  • The kids called me "Miss Sarah" and were always running up to me excitedly showing me their nets full of muck and extaically pointing to what was moving. Looking to me for verification.

It was lots of fun. I find it interesting that so far some of the most fun I've had is working with the kids. I never thought of myself as that kind of person. Hmm...

Friday was spent at the frint desk and was pretty boring. But there were no volunteers for that day so I suppose I was needed. We had some people come in and some even bought from the gift shop. I went home early. Friday night I went to Rhondas with Courtney to have cake. It was her hubbies b-day. All bitterness that I had felt on Wednesdy had long since faded. Cake was good. So was the homemade strawberry ice cream. We played Rummy and Hearts. It was a good relaxing evening.

Saturday I washed my sheets and towls. I had a great pancake breakfast. I watched some lost. I called some people. I took a nap. At 5:30 Sarah and Kristi from church came over to visit teach me. I can't tell you how nice it was to have them there and to know that I have members of the church that I can call on if needed. We went to Wal-Mart to get snacks and then headed to Westerly (right on the boarder of Connecticut and Rhode Island) to see the local choral group and a Boston orchestra (not the pops) perform in one of those free open outdoors concerts. They played a good selection including the olympics theme, a meldy of South Pacific songs and Stars and Stripes forever. We left early to avoid crowds. It was nice to sit and talk with Sarah and Kristi (we were really far away from everything so we weren't being rude). We talked aobut favorite music, movies, musicals, tv shows etc. I realize that I may think that I have a broad selection of music that I like. But I really know nothing of the 70's 80's or even really a lot of the 90's. I am quite musically uneducated when it comes to those eras. It makes me feel too young, naive and like I follow the crowd too much. I hate that feeling. And I hate that I hate that feeling. The desire to be completly against the crowd is just as bad as the desire to be exactly like the crowd. It's just two different end of the same spectrum.

Anyway, I end another long entry with a description of what has been that worst experience of my life the whole week starting Lasy Sarutday.

STATUS UPDATE(Poison Ivy)-It seems to have gotten wildly out of hand. It started on my arms and was bad and only seemed to get worse even though I washed it thoroughly. It looked horrible all week as the other interns kept reminding me. Not to mention the whole uncomfortable itching that NEVER CEASES. Plus on Friday, I found some on the top of my left hand, on the top of my right foot and ankle. Today, I found more around my waiste and on my thigh. WHERE IS IT COMING FROM?!?!?!! What more can I do than bathe in Technu and wash all my sheets and towls which I did? I NEVER WANT TO GET POISON IVY AGAIN!!! I would rather be horribly sunburned. I really want to chop my arms off. I feel like it's this horrible invisible demon that seeps into everything and you can't see if you've gotten it all or not. I feel like poison ivy oil needs ot be pink so you can always know where it is. It could be on any number of things that I keep touching and then spreading it to other places. ALst friday when I thought I was safe but really had it all over my arms I touched tons of things without a worry. It could be on a door knob or a pen or on the string that pulls up the blinds and every time I touch it I get more of the irritating oil on me. It's really frustrating. I am now intensly paranoid. I guess it's better to be safe than sorry from now on. There are pictures that you will all get a chance to see.

Goodnight all. I go to sleep hoping that I won't wake up with any new signs of more poison ivy rash.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Who wants an update?

Who's ready for the week 2 update on everybodys favorite blog?

No one. Well, too bad. You're here, so you have to deal with it.

So here I am at the visitor center using my time to blog. Why, do you ask? Well, I'll tell you. It's a bit of a rant so bare with me.

I spoke to my main supervisor Suzanne on Friday. I asked her, since our last school group comes in on Thursday what I should plan to do with the rest of my time here. I asked if there was a schedual of sorts laying out who I would be working wih day to day. Her answer to me was a sheepish no.

Apparently, whe they were having a meeting at the beginning of the year, everyone was all for an SCA intern to help out around the refuges. Three people were particularly intent on using me. Suzanne, Janice and Sharon. The three of them weren't sure how to spilt me. They tought they could each have me for a month, but decided against that. Instead, their brilliant plan was to have me show up and decide at random who needed me the most from day to day. This blind progression has already become a problem.

I came in at 8:00 this morning. I assumed thats when Suzanne came in. I was wrong. The only people there were the plover interns. I reallty should have just gone with them beach walking checking out the plover nests. At least I'd be doin something. But I was trying to be responsible. I wanted to talk to Suzanne about what I should do, she being my supervisor. She never came in. Neither did Janice and I haven't seen Sharon.

In all fairness, I could have done a little more to find out who needed my help. I casually asked Corey and the plover girls if they needed an extra set of hands. They both said essentially that they wouldn't turn me down. So I was going to ask Suzanne where she thought I was most needed. But as I said earlier, she never came in.

What have I done today? I finished taking my Defensive Driving online course. I can now officially drive the USFWS government vehicles. But that only took me about on hour. At 10:00 I went to see if the front desk volunteer needed help. She was fine. I spent 3 minutes watching a turtle we aquired, checked on the snakes, talked to the cleaning guy and spent 1/2 an hour trying t find the internet cable for this laptop. Now I am here. I feel a little guilty since I'm not doing anything.

I have nothing planned for Tuesday, Wednesday morning or Friday. Wednesday afternoon is fully covered as is...shudder...Thusday (104 kid school group). So what do I do? I have come to learn aobut myself that I really need things to be structured. Unstructured events make me a little freutrated and uncomfortable. Thats why I am so aggrivated by this whole "we'll figure it out as we go" thing. SUzanne shuld be be to say, "oh, Erin and Corey could use your hel for this. THe plover girls could use help on this day. This day is a big banding day so go with Rhonda and Courtney." Instead, here I am with no supervisors, no ones cell phone who I can call and een if I could they would be out in the field in some random place and not easy to find to help out. I am not happy, even though I am blogging. I still have 4 hours of time to waste.

I know this entry is already long, but just to give you a quick rundown of how the rest of last week went, here it is in list form.

  • Did some visitor center cleaning on Monday. tried to catch tadpoles in two different ponds. Unsucessful. Got salamanders though. It was a HOT day. went to a salt pond to cool off. Lots of jellyish.
  • Tuesday was a school group that I helped out biggie
  • Went to trivie Tuesday night...too loud, too much swearing, got the buble boy seinfeld question right
  • Up until 1:30 am after that
  • 4:40 am went mist netting in a salt marsh so we could band birds
  • Caught several. I got to hold a tufted was cute!
  • Done by 10:30. Napped and relaxed.
  • Thursday I tore down a rusty chcken wire fence with the maintenence intern, Ben. Got a little cut up. Done in two hours.
  • Ate lunch. Helped Erin and Corey pull up Swallow wort (an invasive species).
  • Done by 2:00. Watched some episode of Lost season 1.
  • Friday, Was bored at the visitor center. Helped pick up a turtle from someone who wanted it gone. Started my Defensive driving test. Manned the front desk. Talked to Suzanne about this week and got nothing useful out of her.
  • Saturday, did nothing. Go lost trying to find a post office. Went shopping and got gas. Bought "Fern Gully" . "Toxic Love" is the greatest song.
  • Sunday...went to church. Made tuna halper for dinner.

So that was my week. This one promises to be completly uncertain. I dont like that.

To close I have decided to list a few things that I love about being here so far.

1.The woods: the woods here are so green! And they smell wonderful. I love the ferns carpeting the forest floor.

2.The ocean: especially when it's clod out and you can just walk on the beach. No ones there and you can feel the spary of the water and see the coulds making the sea a deep grey color.

3.My trailer being so close to nature. I get to fall asleep to whip poor wills and wake up to towees. Bunnies are everywhere as are chipmnks and deer.

4.Holding a Titmouse

5.Everything being so close

6.The cute little towns

Thats all I got right now. I am so lucky to be out here. I'll figure out the frustrating things. I'm only to weeks in. Thats nt enough time to completly judge my time here.

p.s. I got poison ivy. I dont think thats ever happened to me. No fun at all.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Week One+

So, heres an update of the rest of my first week here.

When was my last? Tuesday, I think? Let's say yes.

So, wednesday was rainy most of the day. I woke up hoping that the group of kindergarteners(kindergardeners? I hate spelling) would cancel. rainy days don't get me down, but they make me want to stay indoors and watch movies, or read in this case because by wednesday, my cables to hook op the dvd player hed yet to arrive. Despite the fact that the kids did not cancel, it was a really fun day. These youngins were perfect (or as Janice would say 50 times a day..."PEH-fect" thats how it sounds when she says it). They were so much fun! They paied attention and asked lots of questions and were so friendly and foreward. They made you feel smart and important because they see you as that way. Because it was so nasty outside we did not take them to the beach. We had them mimic Owl calls instead and I have to tell you, it was the cutest and most hilarious thing I have ever seen. I was laughing my head off.

I also mt Amanda for the first time on Wednesday. She is the visitor services intern/volunteer that is working on this little weekend summer camp set-up. Since school is still in session here, she is sort of helping out me and Janice. The downstairs volunteer office is sort of Amandas office for the time being. I wish I got my own little "not really mine" office. Amanda is, I'm pretty sure, the biggest achiever I have ever met (I dont want to use the word over because it has a negative conotation and I don't want to be mean). She made me feel like a lazy bum...which I am. But I'm not usually reminded of it in the form of a human being my complete oppsite.

Something I've noticed about the people out here, is not only do most of them have that fin New England accent, but many people agree to a statement by saying the phrase "I know, Right?" It was funny to note at first, but now it sort of gets on my nerves. Before you know it, I'm gonna be saying it "like it was my job" (to use another phrase I have heard everal people say.)

Moving on. Thursday was much like Wednesday. Less rainy and the group we had was from the same class as Wednesday(the teacher just wanted to spilt them up. Bless her). They were just as great and fun. We went to the beach again and it was cloudy and lovely, with a cool breeze. We found mole crabs and other living things. I found the biggest adult weevil tha I have ever seen. It wasn't huge, I just dont see very big ones in Missouri. Imfinished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for the second time and wept like a little child as I knew I would. Luckily Courtney was absent.

Friday dawned rainy again. This did not bode well. Today we were having a group of 60 kids com in. 3rd gaders. Each of them were like miny tornados. Actually, not so much destroying everything in their path as leaving a mess in their wake and making tons of noise. We had our work cut out for us cleaning up after them. I got out a little later than normal. But that was okay because it was almost the weekend!! Friday night, incelebration of not having to work the next day, me and Courtney went to her supervisor Rhondas house for a small BBQ. And small it was. It was like our family getting together. Almost to a t. They had two lage and adoreable dogs. Rhodna has a 9 month old. There were about 11 of us total. Courtney and I stopped by a grocery store to get food. It was a tenative BYOM(m for meat). Since Courtney is Vegan and I didn't want to spend extra money on my own food, we went in together to get something we could both eat. This night was a momentous occasion for me. It was the first time I have had a portabello burger. We got these huge mushroom caps, grilled them in Balsalmic vinegrette and slapped them on whole wheat buns. There was also a vegan pasta salad for all as well as home made vegan rhubard pie...another first...with monemade icecream. It had a whole wheat crust. So even eating desert felt healthy. It was a delicious night. Wheather wise also since the rain stopped. 5 of us went out to play Croquet(spelling). It was a lot of fun , especially since I didn't lose. True I scored the bronze, but third is better than nothing. It was a lot of fun and a great start to the weekend.

Saturday was pretty lazy. I should ahve done more. But who wants do do anything on the weekend? I did go to Wal-Mart for a few things that were desperatly needed. One of them being a raincoat and another being a mufin tin. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to survive 3 months without any muffins. Then I pretty much did nothing else but figure out how to get the tv hooked up and then test drive it by watching The Sixth Sense. Then around 6:30, Corey, Courtney and I all went to Crazy Burger. A place well known for it's vegan options. The atmosphere was great, but the foodreally wasn't much to shout about in my opinion. But we had fun hanging out.

So to continue summing up life here...

Monday was crazy for not having any kids to deal with. I did a few odd jobs around the visitor center for Janice. Then I went to the vernel pool to catch tadpoles. I was unsucessful. I did, however catch several half morphed spotted salamanders. Good times. Then I eft earl to go to Trustom pond to look for tadpoles there. Again, I got nothing but some troublesome fish that apparently eat everthing they can manage, some whirlygig beetles and a bunch of mushy plants. The fact that it was miserably hot and humid did not improve my empty handed mood. So I left Trustom an hour later sweaty, tired and frustrated. My day got better when Courtney told me that everyone was goig swimming in an hour. Thank goodness for gret ideas. We went to East beach. It's farther than most beached, but it's a little ways from the actual ocean. It's a salt pond and the water was perfect. The ocean is still a little too cold right now. There were pleanty of jelly fish to keep s company as well as a hermit crab and a couple horseshoe crabs. We didn't stay long, but it was fun. I went home and watche lost.

Today, we had a small group of kids. They were very cute and easy to manage, though they went bezerk when we brought the snake "Nalu" out. Now I am here. Using a laptop at the visitor center. I' supposed to be working on a powerpoint about how cool snakes are. So I should probabl get to that.

Oh! I got my SCA stuf today. Nifty. I also found out that I am also goin to be working with the maintenence people some. I didn't realize that i was going to be spit three ways. And I will feel he strain of it this week. Wednesday, I am up at the crack of dawn to band sparrows in the salt marshes with many of the others. This makes me nervous because I have never done this before and I am the ONLY one for whom this is the case. Then on thursday, I get to help the maintenence intern Ben remove a snow fence. What the heck is a snow fence? So I sort ofahve a busy week. I knew all this cushy shcool kid stuff wasn't going to last.

Sorry that this had been such a long entry. It's just that so many things happen when you're in a new place. Well, hope all the Missouri/Indiana people are having a great summer too so far. Love you all and I hope to post again soon!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Just wanted to add something that I think is important. I didn't write before because I wrote it in my journal.

I'm not going to be doing what I thought I would be doing. I thought that this internship would be centered around going out in the field and getting my hands dirty. You know, doind my darndest to conserve nature.

I expected to be bird banding, mist netting, tromping through marshes and all that cool stuff that makes you tired and sweaty. Turns out, I have more of a fluffy job.

I am supposed to be traded between the biology people and Janice who is the public outreach person. Taking kids on tours is tons of Fun!!! Dont get me wrond, but I wanted to be more outdorsey. I know that I will get some time for that, but not as much as I want and not nearly as much as the other people. I feel a little seperated from the group because I am the only person who has it this way.

So to calrify in a short way, I am not working with Plovers. I haven't even seen one in the wild yet. That makes me a little sad because it means that I can't give them High Fives for Emily.

Such is life.

Day Number 4

So here I am, settled in. I'm going to make this entry generally brief since I posted not too long ago. I just don't know how much longer I will be able to do this. I know I keep saying that. Sorry. You all know by now that I probably wont be posting on a wkkely basis.

So I have worked two days here now. One full day. I left early to take mom to the airport on Monday. Both days were devoted to looking after little groups of kids. Actually they were big groups of little kids. Yesterday was third graders and today was kindergartners. I am probably spelling a lot of words wrong. Oh well.

They come to the Kettle Pond visitor center which is the visitor center representing all of the 6 refuges that there are owned by the U.S. Fisheries and Wildlife service. This is where all the offices are where I will probably begin most of my days. Anyway, we show them a few videos, then my supervisor Janice takes them on a trail to a vernal pool which is a glorified puddle that dries up at the end of the summer. Convenient for the amphibians that nest there because there are no fish to eat their eggs. Anyway thats just half of the group. The other half stays at the center and look at all of the displays doing a scavanger hunt. Yesterday and today it was my job to keep an eye on things. They have many chaperones so this isn't too hard.

Today I also had to set up a laptop and projector so that we can show some power points. It;s supposed to be rainy. We went to the beach today. It was beautiful. The breeze is so cooling. It's almost better than air conditioning.

I am starting to get the hang of some things. I still don't know a whole lot. I am not an expert on east coast ecology. But as I listen to Janice I will learn. And I may not have to ever give the presentation while I'm here. But it is frustrating to explain that I am a brand new intern from Missouri and don't know a whole lot about slimy things in the ocean.

Well, thats really it. I like Janice though she is just a little scatterbrained. I do seem to attract those kinds of supervisors. I am really hungry and tired so I am going to take care of my body.

Until next time...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

From Rhode Island!!!

I am on this insanely ancient Micron computer with a really crappy mouse. But I am here!!! It took forever and a day...not to mention several near death experiences involving irresponsible 18-wheelers. Not all of it was pretty scenery and smoothe highway. There was tons of construction and the furthur you got east, the more people seemed to completly ignore the fact that there is a speed limit.

You will have to forgive any misspellings that there are. Since this computer is probably as old as Kirsti, there is no spell check.

Anyway, there were some stressful times, but we got here seafely. It is beautiful here. Yesterday was foggy and later on quite stormy. It was 50ish degrees! quite cold. Today dawned much the same, but once hurch was over, things had cleared up and now it is beautiful! The breeze off the ocean is perfect. I have yet to be on any of the many beaches that surround this area, but there will be pleanty of time for that later. I am just enjoying thre free time. I have to dive right into things early Monday morning.

All the other interns are here now except for one. They are all really nice and fun. I can't wait to get to know them better. I have yet to meet Suzanne the head supervisor, or any of the other actual paid working people. I met one of the only single people in the ward today. Here name is also Sarah. She was raised on the east coast and now goes to URI and is getting her PHD in literature. She is extremely friendly and served her mission in the Liberty Missouri Mission. Small world huh? I think I'll get along real well with her and we plan to get together with the other single girl in the eard and hang out.

I now have food, but not a working DVD thanks to the fact that the connecting cables seemed to ahve fallen into a blakc hole somewhere. We have to buy new ones.

As for the trailer...It is...adequate. Much like the large camping trailers that you would find in Johnson Shut-Ins and mock because the people in them are just poser campers. There is one bedroom with a good sized bed, small closet and a few cupboards. It has two windows, a skylight and a small nightstand. This is Courtneys room, simply because I didn't want to fight to the death over it. There is an ugly apholstered couch that folds out into a bed. There are matching chshioned seats around a small table nailed to the floor. There in a little "living space". Then there is a kitchen sink, a small stove with tiny oven that doesn't work yet. Some drawers, cupboards and a full sized fridge. At the end of the trailer is a very small bathroom. Like a cross between the downstairs bathroom at home and an airplane bathroom. It has a small shower. Right nex to this you will find where I have made my habitat. There are small enclosed bunk beds ("B" words!!!). I sleep on the bottom and the top id for all my things...cloths, books, etc. It's a bit cramped but not ompletly uncomfortable. The only major problem with this trailer is that it is old. The guys got a nice new trailer. We get stained carpet and a smell resembeling the smell of Ruth Marshalls old trailer...sort of old with a tint of cat smell. I'm just glad that everything works.

Well, I dont know if I will have many more chances to blog. I have been told that I may not have acces to a computer with internet at all while I am here. This wories me a little. But Sarah said that she has a laptop that I am free to use whenever I want. I may take her up on that, but the point is, I don't know that next time I will be able to post. I know I said that over a week ago, but I just want to give you all a heads up.

Well, thats all...I am really nervous for my first day for work. I don't know what to expect except a bus full of kids. Oh what fun. Hope the family is well and I also hope to be posting again soon.

Farewell till next time!

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