Calling all horseshoe crab and shorebird enthusiasts to the decks of the S.S. Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve! Here is your chance to act like a DNERR scientist and do your part to help protect and conserve our horseshoe crabs and migratory shorebirds. As part of an effort to better understand how many horseshoe crabs exist in the Delaware Bay a spawning survey is coordinated between several groups in Delaware and New Jersey.
Here in Delaware DNERR is one of the organizations that take part in the surveys. We coordinate spawning surveys on three local beaches (Kitts Hummock, Ted Harvey, and North Bowers) sending trained volunteers out to collect data on our spawning horseshoe crabs. To get our volunteers ready to complete the important task of surveying the spawning crabs we offer trainings for both our returning and new volunteers. This year the trainings dates have been set for Saturday, April 11 from 10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and Thursday, April 16 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the St. Jones Reserve located south of Dover.
We hope you join us this year!
The DNERR Horseshoe Crab Survey Coordinators
To add variety to the blog and to offer a fresh perspective from our visitors, we are inviting guest bloggers to write posts describing their visits and thoughts while at the reserve. The first guest blog is brought to you today by M.L. Christmas during her visit to the reserve in early February. Enjoy! (Maggie Pletta, DNERR Education Coordinator & Blog Editor)
Thoughts on a Rock
Today I am sitting on a rock.
A rock is not an expected landscape feature at a marshy, estuarine site like the St. Jones Reserve, but this is a place for contemplation and healing in an unexpected turn in life’s journey that has landed me between a rock and a hard place. My choice of seat is both ironic and a paradox.
The hard face of the rock at first seems anomalous in these gentle, pastoral surroundings. Delaware is not known for its boulders or outcroppings. Perhaps my rocky perch was nudged gently into place, just so, by a piece of heavy equipment. But whether the rock is an outsider or not, like I am—an import from another state and someone similarly of stern visage (of late)—the tranquil atmosphere of the St. Jones Reserve welcomes me, just as the rock seems to have been made quite at home here.
The landscaping is such that the intent of the trail planners was obvious. No sign stated “Do Not Sit.” So I did. I soon see from the trampled grass encircling my perch that others have done likewise: getting their bearings, pivoting themselves around this point, calculating the distances, and leaving behind their remnant arcs. Decisions, decisions.
From here, when facing the marsh, the channel of the path runs left, the channel of the path runs right—if using one’s feet. But in one’s spirit, as with any given spot in life where one stops to ponder, the higher paths run in all directions. Here, they also soar over the tops of the tall marsh grasses, over the face of the waters, and to the far horizons. These are the invisible pathways available only to avian and insect species and to those who are with them in spirit.
Although today is gray and cold, the blandness displays the seasonal colors to best advantage, and the crisp coolness imparts new vitality to the air and thus to me—perched on this rock, surveyor of all I see, decider of directions, and overcomer of circumstance.
Drawing a deep breath, my face and outlook renewed, I arise from the rock and take wing.
Whene’er in doubt along life’s journey, always pursue the highest path.
M.L. Christmas, MSM, is a freelance writer/editor living in the Dover area. She has written dozens of articles for newsletters, newspapers, magazines, and websites. Her work has appeared in local, regional, national and international publications and other venues, and she has written in tones ranging from scholarly to humorous, depending on the audience. She is a longtime member of Delaware Press Association and the National Federation of Press Women. Her approach to nature writing, she says, is part Henry David Thoreau and part Dave Barry.