of Pickering Creek’s Junior Naturalists and ten adult volunteers
(including Board members and staff) greeted over 1400 visitors at
our booth in the Moton Elementary School over the three days of the
Waterfowl Festival. We had the opportunity to
talk with attendees about the Center—its trails that are open daily
from dawn to dusk, its public programs and those that serve the
Talbot County School System (and other schools, as well), and
provided activities for youngsters: the chance to meet a box turtle,
explore items on a touch table, listen to bird-calls, and measure
wingspans. Always on
the lookout for opportunities to spread the word about Pickering
Creek, the Festival is a great place to do it!
PICKERING CREEK PROFILE:
When Tony Passarella, an 11-year veteran of Habitat for
Humanity’s building projects, joined Pickering Creek’s Board of
Trustees, he expressed a desire to serve on the Building and Grounds
Committee. So John
Bayliss, Chair of the Committee, gave him a challenge, putting him
in charge of the renovation of the Ecology Classroom with the goal
of changing one bathroom into an ADA compliant facility.
looked the job over.
“Didn’t look like it would be too hard,” he recalls. So he drew up a set of plans
on how it could be done with help from fellow volunteers of Habitat
for Humanity Choptank Thursday’s crew. John Bayliss was supportive
and let Tony take on oversight of the task himself. On January fifth, the
work began—with plans slightly augmented.
a little background.
The Ecology Classroom is the first floor of the Carriage
House, constructed by the Olds family when they built their
farmhouse in the 1940’s. Designed with three car bays,
it is a quirky as a classroom.
In 2009, thanks to a wonderful gift from Cathie Liebl made in
honor of her husband Hans (who loved Pickering dearly) we gave the
classroom a much needed makeover with new cabinets and displays for
the resident reptiles and amphibians and new paint on the walls,
including a beautiful mural on the center cabinet.
couple years later, as plans for an ADA bathroom in the classroom
took shape, Mandy Smith and the other educators collaborated on
suggestions for additional improvements that were needed
and could be accomplished by the Thursday crew. These included leveling the
floor which, Tony points out, was four different thicknesses;
improving drainage from two classroom sinks; the removal of three
sink areas for replacement in the near future with only two in order
to make better use of the space. Tony suggested, also, the
replacement of the counter tops and laying them with tile for safety
reasons—a project that will be undertaken soon.
work hours later (and counting), with assistance from 12 Thursday
crew members, the work is on its way to completion as of this
January 22th writing. The flooring in one of the
car bays was partially removed in order to redo the plumbing
drainage. The plumbing
for the two existing bathrooms was reconfigured (by Lenco Plumbing)
so that one could be made smaller and the other enlarged in order to
meet ADA space requirements. Electrical work in the
Ecology Classroom was completed, through the kindness of a licensed
Habitat volunteer with the necessary expertise. As a separate project, a new
shed is under construction to house some items previously stored in
the Ecology Classroom.
smiles when he thinks about this anticipated pretty easy project. “Of course,” he muses, “we
were held up a little when two of the old pipes broke and we had
cold water everywhere.”
And the design of the ADA bathroom was befuddling. With posts and beams
and an electric box that could not be moved, Tony had to use every
square inch he could muster to meet the ADA compliance
spring, when kids bound into the classroom for lessons, to observe
turtles, insects, and snakes, or to use the bathrooms, they’ll take
the renovated space for granted, without thought of the work that
has gone into creating it.
But the Pickering Creek teachers and staff certainly will
note the difference—and with great appreciation to Tony and his
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED WITH WRITING AND PRODUCTION SKILLS
Pickering Creek staff is putting out a call for assistance to
persons who have skills in writing, editing, photography, layout and
graphic design, and video production. You would work closely with
the Center’s staff, developing materials in conjunction with
present, we are at work on a Salt Marsh and Social Media project
designed to bring attention to the importance of salt marshes as
habitat and the challenges of protecting marshes in the face of sea level rise. Specifically, we need
assistance in the development of:
A video to promote a contest associated with the project;
A three-dimensional display/diorama of a marsh;
Flyers and other promotional materials.
If you are
interested in working on this specific project or, more generally,
are willing to offer your skills in the categories listed above,
please contact Samantha immediately.
UP IN JANUARY AND FEBRUARY
Monitoring Program, Training Session
February 4, 10-12 (Originally scheduled for Jan 21)
are embarking on a new bird-monitoring program to provide
information that will inform Pickering Creek’s plans for habitat
management. We welcome
and encourage volunteers to take part. On this Saturday morning,
join Wayne Bell to learn about the project and the methodology for
compiling data through an eBird account set up for the Center. Wayne has set up the GPS
system that underpins the data collection. As the bird monitoring
program proceeds, Pickering Creek volunteers will be paired with
members of the Talbot County Bird Club. Each pair will spend part of
one day per month identifying birds along the trails and recording
their finds on eBird.
If you are interested in taking part in this Wing Watchers
program, please contact Samantha. We are excited about the
project and the information it will provide, and grateful to Wayne
for making it possible.
(Note: this program, scheduled originally for January 21, was
postponed because of hazardous weather conditions. Nonetheless, six hardy
Feeder Watch, Wednesdays and Thursdays at Pickering
need your help!
Come be a Wing Watcher as part of Project FeederWatch on
Wednesdays or Thursdays for an hour or so in February, March, and
You don’t need to be an expert; we’ll show you how to count
the many birds that visit the feeder outside the main office
building, and compile the data that we then send on to Cornell’s
Ornithology Lab as part of its Citizen Science program. If you are coming for the
first time, let Samantha know so she can provide
Backyard Bird Count
Saturday, February 18,
Come, and Bring a Friend!
Pickering Creek will
join Cornell Ornithology Lab’s GBBC on this Saturday morning, from 9
‘til noon. As stated on
the Lab’s website, “the
Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event that engages
bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time
snapshot of where the birds are across the continent”. Anyone can participate, from
beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15
minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each
day of the event. It’s
free, fun, and easy—and it helps the birds. For additional
information about the Great Backyard Bird Count, visit the Lab’s
website: http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/whycount.html. On the morning of the
18th, we will count birds along Pickering’s trails and
enjoy hot beverages and treats in the main office building. There will be activities for
children and fun for all. Come, and plan to bring a friend!
PROGRAMS IN JANUARY AND FEBRUARY
Walk n’ Talk Series: Diving Birds
February 25, 10am-2pm
us for the next session in this series that has focused on birds of
the Delmarva Peninsula.
At this session, limited to 9 participants, we shall meet at
the Acme at 10 am and drive from there to Tilghman Island to observe
(Transportation will be provided.) We shall return around 2
pm. Cost: $10/per
adult; $5/child. Please
register no later than Wednesday, February 22nd by
calling the office or signing up on the Pickering Creek website:
NOTE TO READERS
Starting with this
issue, the Bird Call will publish bi-monthly. Look for the next
issue in mid to late March.