Parker River National Wildlife Refuge Part One

red-tailed-hawk-2-copyright-kim-smithJuvenile Red-tailed Hawk listening for prey

I am in the midst of doing research for the Piping Plover film project and have found the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge to be a great resource. Recently I met a terrific warden there, Jean, and she gave me a copy of the historic brochure written in 1947 by Rachel Carson about the refuge. The brochure was reprinted and if you inquire, they may still have some copies in the back office. You can also download the brochure at this link: Rachel Carson Parker River Wildlife Refuge brochure

The brochure provides an early history of the refuge and is a fascinating view of mid-century conservation. And, too, it is a tremendous example of Carson’s thoughtful and thought-provoking style of writing.

barred-owl-hunting-strix-varia-copyright-kim-smithBarred Owl hunting – The refuge provides over 300 species of migratory and resident birds with vital habitat

Some interesting facts about the refuge —

Located along the northeastern coast of Massachusetts, the Parker River National Refuge includes lands that lie within the three towns of Rowley, Ipswich, and Newbury. We think of Plum Island as the heart of the refuge. The wildlife refuge also includes a range of diverse habitats and geographic features; over 3,000 acres of salt marsh, freshwater marsh, shrub lands, a drumlin, cranberry bog, salt pannes, beach and sand dunes, and maritime forest. The land is not conserved to revert back to a wild state, but is intensely managed in order to preserve and maintain the diversity of wildlife habitats.

parker-river-national-wildlife-refuge-wardens-headquarters-copyright-kim-smithThe original warden’s headquarters

Unlike our national parks, which preserves parklands or historic buildings, and are designed for people, a national wildlife refuge is established first and foremost for wildlife and their habitats, not for people. The preservation of wildlife is the number one priority of all our national wildlife refuges.

plum-island-sunrise-copyright-kim-smithsandy-point-parker-river-national-wildlife-refuge-copyright-kim-smithPlum Island is a barrier island and especially noteworthy for providing critical habitat for Piping Plovers.

The Parker River National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1942 to help species of waterfowl that migrate along the Atlantic Flyway. There were three sharp declines in waterfowl populations in the early half of the 20th century, notably the American Black Duck, and national wildlife refuges all along the Atlantic coast were created in response to the precipitously low numbers.

parker-river-wildlife-refuge-impoundment-copyright-kim-smithSalt Island Impoundment

As we can see with our local Niles Pond, Henry’s Pond, and Langsford Pond shorebirds, waterfowl, and myriad species of wildlife thrive where they have easy access to both fresh water and salt water. The three bodies of fresh water that you see in the refuge look like ponds but they are actually manmade impoundments, created by dams and are highly controlled by a series of dykes and pumps.

parker-river-wildlife-refuge-impoundment-pump-copyright-kim-smithSalt Island Impoundment Pump

Parker River provides pristine habitats for a wide variety of mammals, insects, fish, reptiles, and amphibians. Hunting birds such as owls, hawks, osprey, eagles, herons, and egrets find an abundance of food at the wildlife refuge. Whenever at Parker River I never not see a raptor!

Red-tailed Hawk Preening 

red-tailed-hawk-copyright-kim-smithWhen the Hunter is Hunted

Transfixing Owl Eyes

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Because owls mostly hunt at night their eyes are very efficient at collecting and processing light. To protect their extraordinary eyes, owls are equipped with three eye lids; an upper and lower lid, and a third lid that diagonally closes across the eye. This action cleans and protects the eye.

 

More about Parker River National Wildlife Refuge to come.

MEET THE PIPING PLOVERS OF GOOD HARBOR BEACH

Work has begun in earnest sorting through all the Piping Plover footage and editing the documentary. In the mean time, I thought readers would enjoy this rare moment where we catch a glimpse of  the new born chicks, and both mom and dad together.

Impossibly tiny—no larger than a marshmallow—moments after hatching Piping Plover chicks are on the move, running, tumbling, somersaulting, face-planting, and curious about every little thing in their brand new great big world. PuffPuff, FluffFluff, and TootsiePop are less than twenty-four hours old in this clip. Our East Gloucester neighborhood kids named the Plover family after spending an afternoon getting to know them, watching safely from beyond the roped off area.

Dad Joe finds an impression in the sand and the chicks come running to warm under his protective wings. Piping Plover chicks can feed themselves at birth but can’t yet perfectly regulate their body temperature. They need Mom and Dad for protection and for the warmth they provide. After a few moments rest, Joe pops up and Joy zooms in to take his place. Watch how PuffPuff does a somersault and FluffFluff gives her a little bump out of their cozy nest. Mom runs off camera to create a new resting spot and the chicks are chided by piping calls to come join her.

In shades of bone and driftwood, note how beautifully the Plovers are camouflaged in the colors of the sand and dry beach grass. There isn’t a living thing that doesn’t pose a threat to these most vulnerable of creatures. For protection against predators they will soon learn how to stand perfectly still when Joe and Joy pipe commands, but for now, it’s willy-nilly around the beach, much to the parents great consternation.

Thanks to Esme, Lotus, Meadow, Frieda, and Ruby for naming the Piping Plover family!

piping-plover-chicks-babies-nestlings-male-female-copyright-kim-smithThe male Piping Plover is on the left, the female, on the right. The male’s little black forehead band makes it easy to distinguish between the two.

WILD, WET, AND WINDY!

Snapshots taken this morning at high tide during the nor’easter.noreaster-backshore-waves-2-gloucester-1-24-17-copyright-kim-smithnoreaster-backshore-waves-6-gloucester-1-24-17-copyright-kim-smith

#noreaster high tide Eastern Point #gloucesterma #scenesofnewengland

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#noreaster High Tide Eastern Point #gloucesterma #scenesofnewengland

#noreaster high tide Eastern Point #gloucesterma #scenesofnewengland

A post shared by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE “RACHEL CARSON” PREMIERES TONIGHT ON PBS (AND DEBORAH CRAMER IS IN IT!)

I’ve been very much looking forward to the debut of Rachel Carson and posted it on facebook yesterday as it is premiering tonight. Cape Ann environmental author Deborah Cramer then shared that she is in the documentary!!!

From an American Experience, “Rachel Carson is an intimate portrait of the woman whose groundbreaking books revolutionized our relationship to the natural world. When Silent Springwas published in September 1962 it became an instant bestseller and would go on to spark dramatic changes in the way the government regulated pesticides.

Rachel Carson premieres January 24 at 8/7c on PBS.”

Visit Deborah’s website for more about her beautiful book The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, An Ancient Crab, and An Epic Journey, which was named Best Book by the National Academy of Sciences, and is the winner of both the Rachel Carson Book Award and the Reed Award in Environmental Writing.

carson

Boston Strong, Boston Beautiful, Boston Women’s March

boston-womens-march-gloucester-contingent-copyright-kim-smith

boston-womens-march-jason-sarah-matilda-grow-copyright-kim-smithThe day started with a wonderful chance meet up with Gloucester students and the Grow and Abrams-Dowd family. Thanks to both families for their kindness; I so enjoyed the train ride into town with Bo, Sarah, and Jason.

We were amongst the early birds arriving on the scene and it was tremendously exciting to see the preparations underway and the crowd swelling in number throughout the morning.

boston-womens-march-1-copyright-kim-smith

 

boston-womens-march-4-copyright-kim-smithboston-womens-march-manchester-essex-high-school-copyright-kim-smithManchester-Essex Contingency

The newest estimate is perhaps 175,000 attendees at an event where initially 25,000 were expected. The Boston Women’s March was one of over 600 peaceful rallies held around the world. Reportedly not a single arrest related to the march took place in Boston.

boston-womens-march-21-representative-ann-margaret-ferrante-copyright-kim-smithOur Representative Ann Margaret’s friendly face in the crowd.boston-womens-march-22-representative-ann-margaret-ferrante-copyright-kim-smith

People rallied for different reasons–for compassion and dignity towards others, equality and justice for all, for better stewardship of our environment, affordable healthcare, to protect women’s reproductive rights, for equal opportunity for the disabled–along with many other issues. The signs carried reflected all our concerns. For those who may be wondering why and to what end, I believe it is the coalescing of many movements into one and the beginning of a new world movement. Women are refusing to move backward and most assuredly, there is more to come.

boston-womens-march-7-copyright-kim-smithboston-womens-march-26-savannah-fox-tree-copyright-kim-smithFirst Nation’s Savannah Fox Tree stunned the crowd with her beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace, sung in both Cherokee and English.

boston-womens-march-19-pastor-mariama-white-hammond-copyright-kim-smithPastor Mariama White-Hammond from Bethel A.M.E. Church gave a compassionate sermon.

boston-womens-march-28-senator-elizabeth-warren-copyright-kim-smith-jpgSenator Elizabeth Warren

boston-womens-march-34-senator-ed-markey-copyright-kim-smith-jpgSenator Ed Markey

boston-womens-march-28-congressman-joseph-kennedy-iii-copyright-kim-smith-jpgCongressman Joseph Kennedy III – the pink haze on several photos is my camera’s lens trying to see through an ocean of pink pussy hats 🙂

boston-womens-march-12-mayor-marty-walsh-copyright-kim-smithBoston Mayor Marty Walsh

boston-womens-march-15-kristen-mccosh-and-john-copyright-kim-smithDisability Commissionr Kristen McCosh and husband John McCosh

The official program began with music and dance performances, followed by speeches given by our fiercest advocates. The march was to follow however, it was delayed by several hours because the planned route was overflowing with marchers. Participants were not just from the immediate Boston neighborhoods, but had come from all around the state. The Boston Common and streets surrounding the Common had become a sea of people. Despite the human gridlock, kindness and patience prevailed.

All photos copyright Kim Smithboston-womens-march-35-congressman-joseph-kennedy-iii-copyright-kim-smith-jpg


boston-womens-march-23-copyright-kim-smithboston-womens-march-9-copyright-kim-smith

boston-womens-march-24-copyright-kim-smithGridlock at the corner of Charles and Beacon Streets where two streams of marchers converged.

boston-womens-march-25-copyright-kim-smithBoston’s side streets were also jammed with marchers.

We the People: public art for the inauguration and beyond

About this Kickstarter project:

WE BELIEVE ART HAS THE POWER TO WAKE PEOPLE UP.

Eight years ago, the artist Shepard Fairey made the iconic image that captured a period of HOPE in America. Today we are in a very different moment, one that requires new images that reject the hate, fear, and open racism that were normalized during the 2016 presidential campaign. So on Inauguration Day, We the People will flood Washington, DC with NEW symbols of hope.

shepard-fairey-we-the-people-inauguration-posters-10

This art has been already been commissioned by the Amplifier Foundation. Some of the greatest activist artists working today, including Shepard, Ernesto Yerena, and Jessica Sabogal, have collaborated with photographers to create a series of images that capture the shared humanity of our diverse America.

Now the tricky part: printing and distributing these images on a massive scale in time for Inauguration. 

Much of Washington will be locked down on Inauguration Day, and in some areas there will be severe restrictions on signs and banners.  But we’ve figured out a hack.  It’s called the newspaper!  On January 20th, if this campaign succeeds, we’re going to take out full-page ads in the Washington Post with these images, so that people across the capitol and across the country will be able to carry them into the streets, hang them in windows, or paste them on walls.

Every dollar you put into this campaign will buy six ads printed and distributed for us.

Amplifier will also distribute these images as large placards throughout DC at Metro stops, out the back of moving vans, at drop spots to be announced in the coming week via our social media feeds, and, on January 19, as free downloads for you to print and share as you like.

This art is meant to spark a conversation, and after January 20, our work will continue. What does WE THE PEOPLE—these three famous words in the preamble to the Constitution—mean in the 21st century? Over the next several months, Amplifier will partner with organizations, schools, and everyday families to create spaces across the county, in both red states and blue, where we can speak, listen, and share our answers. Watch for updates on this as the campaign funds and moves into the world!shepard-fairey-we-the-people-inauguration-posters-9

WHO ARE WE?

SHEPARD FAIREY is one of the most accomplished street artists in the world, and creator and founder of Obey Clothing and Obey Giant, first becoming known for his “Andre The Giant has a Posse” sticker campaign while at the Rhode Island School of Design. He became widely known during the 2008 presidential election for his Barak Obama “Hope” poster.

JESSICA SABOGAL is a first generation Colombian American muralist. Her art serves as a haven, a tribute, a creative outlet of adoration and exaltation for women with stories often untold. Her pieces possess a vision of female identity that is revolutionary and powerful, brave and beautiful. Most recently she has created a visual campaign entitled, “Women Are Perfect” which attempts to spread this simple but necessary notion worldwide.

ERNESTO YERENA is an artist living in Los Angeles.  His art brings political concerns to light with subject matter that depicts cultural icons, rebels and everyday people voicing their stance against oppression. While Yerena identifies as Chicano he also strongly identifies as Native/Indigenous to this continent which is often seen in his work. Highly recognized for his activism, Yerena is the founder and curator of the Alto Arizona Art campaign (2010) as well as a founding member of the We Are Human campaign (2009).

THE AMPLIFIER FOUNDATION:  Our non-profit is dedicated to amplifying the voices of grassroots movements through art and community engagement. We do this by funding collaborations between those movements and contemporary artists so that their messages can reach a wider audience. Our goal is to flip artists into activists and observers into participants.

Our work has supported Criminal Justice Reform projects with Cut50.org, Environmental campaigns working with Indigenous groups against the KXL pipeline and in defense of Treaty Rights in the Black Hills, and we have, just this week, commissioned, and started printing and distributing the majority of the art for the Women’s March on Washington as an official partner.

WHY KICKSTARTER?

We are here to find partners as much as funding.  When this message is heard we want them to know it comes direct from the people.  Our goal is 10,000 backers in this Kickstarter and ten times that many participants after Inauguration day.

TO DONATE AND READ MORE HERE